When you think about how many professionals contribute to the nursing field, you see how diverse and multifaceted the industry really is. Strong nursing departments rely on research, leadership, education, and advanced practice standards to ensure that nurses meet the standards of care that patients deserve. As a nurse in Rhode Island, you might be a good fit for an RN-to-MSN bridge program. As long as you have an Associate's degree in nursing, this type of program allows you to expand your scope of practice and possibly improve your career prospects.
RN-to-MSN programs in Rhode Island are designed for motivated, hardworking students that are willing to work at an accelerated pace to earn their Master's degree. As you work through 35 to 45 credits of RN-to-MSN courses, you can tackle many learning goals laid out by your nursing instructors. In your clinical courses, you'll be tested on your ability to apply scientific nursing knowledge to patient care. Patient safety and quality of care are also highly valued in MSN programs. You need to learn how to use innovative nursing technologies to create the best patient care outcomes. By analyzing population health issues, you should learn how to create appropriate preventative health strategies.
In the early days of your MSN program, you create a solid foundation of advanced nursing knowledge that can prepare you for specialty nursing courses. You may start with classes like Advanced Health Assessment, Health Care Systems, Advanced Nursing Research, and Advanced Pharmacology. If you pursue a degree in patient care, you'll likely take courses that focus on disease, pathology, and proper patient care techniques. These courses may include Advanced Pathophysiology, Differential Diagnosis, and Ethics in Advanced Nursing Practice.
Your time may be split between the classroom and a clinical setting. Most programs in Rhode Island require at least 600 clinical hours, which you may be able to complete at your current place of employment if you are working as a nurse.
There may be numerous nursing scholarships, grants, and loan repayment programs for you once you start your Master's degree, particularly since Rhode Island has such a large demand for advanced nursing professionals. The Student Nurses' Association of Rhode Island awards the SNARI/RISNA Partners in Nursing Scholarship each school year. Graduate nursing students may apply for scholarships through the Rhode Island Nursing Foundation. Each scholarship is worth $500 to $1,000. You may also wish to consider federal sources of funding. Senator Reed recently urged advanced nursing students to take advantage of loan repayment and tuition reimbursement options.
Since you are likely already working as a registered nurse, you should have a valid RN license after you complete your MSN. However, for many nursing specialties, that's not enough. The Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education has stricter licensing requirements for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists. Applicants in these specialties must pass additional licensing exams.
In general, the job outlook for advanced Rhode Island nurses is better than in many other parts of the country. O*Net anticipates a 17 percent jump in jobs for nursing managers. They expects jobs for nurse instructors to grow by 28 percent in this time frame, which is the highest growth rate in this field (O*Net, 2012).
As a result of the high cost of living in Rhode Island, nursing salaries tend to be higher than the national average. Nursing instructors in this state earn an average of $70,700 per year (O*Net, 2013). Nursing managers top the charts with an average salary of $101,800 per year (O*Net, 2013).
In a small state like Rhode Island, you can have a huge impact on the nursing community by earning an MSN. Advancing your education may encourage other RNs in the state to do the same, leading to a greater application of nursing research and stricter nursing standards for excellent patient care.