As a working nurse, you've likely heard about the nursing shortage in Pennsylvania, which is starting to reach serious levels. But have you heard about the shortage of other nursing professionals throughout the region? It takes an advanced degree to work in fields like primary care, nursing research, nursing administration and leadership. Many hospitals, universities, and labs are short on nurses that can meet these requirements. If you're looking for a way to change up your nursing career, while enhancing your profession as a whole, an MSN may be just the degree you need.
Take a look at the Pennsylvania nursing schools that offer MSN programs listed on our site. Once you have determine those that interest you, contact the schools and request details about the master’s in nursing programs in Pennsylvania you’d like to know more about.
If you're trying to figure out which graduate-level nursing career is right for you, Pennsylvania has many resources available for nurses. The Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists hosts annual symposiums, advocates for nurse anesthetists, and provides educational resources. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners performs of the many same functions for nurse practitioners. As a student in these fields, you may be able to gain the help and support of working professionals.
The Pennsylvania Workforce Development has promising news for those who want to start a graduate-level nursing career. They expect the statewide demand for registered nurses, and nursing instructors to increase substantially in coming years.
WGAL News notes that the practice environment for nurse practitioners may be changing for the better in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania legislators are working on a bill that would allow nurse practitioners to work independently of supervising doctors. This law could create a sudden increase in demand for advanced practice registered nurses.
Going into the field of nurse administration or nursing policy may put you in the position to positively affect the work environment for nurses. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association hopes to tackle safe staffing regulations, removal of barriers to practice for advanced practice nurses, and greater health care accessibility for residents.
To be accepted to a Pennsylvania Master's of Science in Nursing program, you must meet some fairly demanding requirements. You must have a BSN from an accredited school to enter a traditional MSN program. In many cases, you must have used that degree to complete at least one year of full-time nursing experience. There are some Pennsylvania MSN programs that require you to have experience in different nursing specialties and settings, so as to help you choose your MSN specialty.
Pennsylvania has many part-time and full-time MSN programs to choose from. Part-time graduate programs tend to require at least three years of study. If you attend school full-time, you may be able to graduate in about two years. Your program length is also dependent on which specialty you choose. Clinical specialties, which often have more rigorous practicum requirements, may take longer than administrative specialties.
Before you begin specialty courses in nursing, you start with core classes that cover the whole spectrum. These courses may include Advanced Physiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment, and Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice. From that point, you can take classes that directly prepare you for your future career.
Spending a few hours looking into Pennsylvania nursing scholarships and applying for as many as possible may really pay off when you begin your MSN degree. The Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners awards scholarships that are worth $1,200 each. The Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania fund scholarships for nursing students at different levels of education. You can apply for many scholarships through the Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania, including the Jack E. Barger Jr. VFW Nursing Scholarship and the Alumni Association Scholarship.
Pennsylvania's expected job growth rates tend to be slightly lower than the national average, but don't let this stop you from considering a career in nursing. The lowest job growth rate is 7 percent for nursing instructors, according to O*Net. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net predicts that job openings for nurse practitioners may increase by 24 percent. Job growth rates for other jobs fall in this range.
Earning an MSN can typically increase your earning potential, especially in certain specialties. According to O*Net, the average salary for a nursing instructor is $69,800 per year. Their estimates indicate that nurse anesthetists earn an average of $160,500 per year in Pennsylvania (O*Net, 2013).