Becoming a nurse can be an excellent career move for those who want to improve lives, contribute to one of the most important industries in the country, and enjoy a strong job outlook. One of the advantages of beginning your career as an RN is the amount of way you can further your career. If you want to take on more responsibility as a nurse and explore the different aspects of this field, you may be able to attend an RN-to-MSN-bridge program in Pennsylvania for the education you need.
As an MSN student, you may learn how to care for a range of patients in much more intensive ways than you do as an RN. While you can specialize in a population—such as gerontology, pediatrics, or adults—many clinical MSN students choose to become family nurse practitioners. If you'd rather work in an administrative setting, you may become a clinical nurse leader, a nurse manager, or a nursing administrator. This may require you to learn more about the specifics of health care policy and management. If you've always seen yourself as a teacher, you can choose to go into nursing education. Credit requirements vary between 40 and 45, depending on which specialty path you choose.
In the first semester of your program, you may learn about the roles played by graduates in different nursing settings. Commonly required courses include Issues in Nursing and Health Care, Nursing Research, and Scientific Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice.
Though you may be able to complete some of your nursing courses online, you should be prepared to spend quite a bit of time working in-person to meet your clinical requirements. If you are working towards a degree in nurse anesthesia, nurse midwifery, or nurse practitioner, your clinical hours will likely be spent with patients. Administrative specialties tend to involve working with other health care professionals, while going into education may require you to head to a local nursing college.
Once you've decided to commit yourself to an advanced nursing education in Pennsylvania, you can start looking into the many scholarship opportunities available in this state. The Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania awards several nursing scholarships to student members every year, including the Jack E. Barger Jr. VFW Nursing Scholarship and the Alumni Association Scholarship. Every year, the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania awards scholarships to beginning and advanced nursing students that meet their high expectations. Another local nursing association, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association supports student nurses through scholarships and grants.
As you approach the end of your nursing program, you'll need to start preparing for advanced licensure if you want to work in certain fields. According to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, you need an advanced practice license if you want to work as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist. After passing the needed tests for your specialty, you can receive your license.
Job growth rates in Pennsylvania are considerably lower than national averages. However, with your current nursing job and your existing connections, you may still be able to use you degree to launch a new career. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net predicts a 7 percent increase in nursing instructor jobs. In this time frame, O*Net hopes to see a 24 percent increase in nurse practitioner jobs. Growth rates for other nursing jobs fall in between these extremes.
Depending on which nursing career you're interested in, average salaries in Pennsylvania tend to be similar to or slightly higher than national averages. Nurse instructors in this state earn an average annual salary of $69,800 (O*Net, 2013). In 2013, nurse anesthetists earned an average of $160,500 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Nursing is a field in which you can truly have a positive effect on your community while bettering your own life. By earning an MSN and starting a career in one of these exciting nursing specialties, you can improve nursing care in Pennsylvania while finding professional fulfillment.