South Dakota RN to MSN Bridge Programs

As a South Dakota nurse, you may have worked with a variety of people over the course of your career. It's likely that you've worked in one of South Dakota's remote rural communities in addition to addressing health care needs in the state's larger cities. Do you want to expand your career responsibilities and options by studying nursing research, leadership, practice, or education? South Dakota is home to several schools with RN-to-MSN programs, which are designed to help working RNs get the education they need to succeed.

Since you will be earning an MSN with an Associate's degree, rather than a Bachelor's degree, you may spend a bit more time in school than someone earning a traditional MSN degree. Most RN-to-MSN bridge programs in South Dakota last about three years and require you to attend school full-time. Some courses can be completed online, rather than in person.

The first part of your degree requires you to complete Bachelor's-level coursework in anticipation of graduate-level coursework. In this part of your education, which lasts one to two semesters, you may take classes like Family and Communication, Health Assessment and Clinical Decision Making, Community Health Nursing, and Roles & Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing.

With these courses under your belt, you can take classes like Research Methods for Advanced Practice Nurses and Health Policy, Legislation, Economics, & Ethics. If you go into a specialty like nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, or nurse anesthesia, your curriculum will likely include courses like Ethics in Advanced Practice Nursing and Acute & Chronic Care of Adults. Education-based courses include Curriculum Development and Instruction in Nursing, Technology-Based Instruction in Nursing, and Cultural Competence in Healthcare. Clinical nurse leadership programs include classes like Health Operations and Financial Management for Nurse Managers & Improvement Science. Clinical requirements range from 400 to 600 hours at most South Dakota schools.

There are many options for financial aid in South Dakota. Checking out your options early and applying to as many as possible may help you earn a considerably amount of money for school. The Nursing Education Scholarship Program is offered through the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Selected nursing education students will receive $1,000 per year. Avera, a local health care employer, offers scholarships like the Avera Health Leaders Scholarship and the Sister Colman Coakley Education Scholarship. Some scholarships are school-specific. For example, through the SDSU Foundation, students can apply for a variety of scholarships with just one application.

The South Dakota Board of Nursing is the governing board for RNs and advanced practice nurses. Once you've successfully graduate from your MSN program, you can apply to the Board for advanced practice standing. This requires you to have an up-to-date RN license and pass the advanced nursing test for your specialty.

The job outlook in South Dakota varies between nursing specialties, but generally speaking, O*Net expects positive job growth through 2022. From 2012 until 2022, O*Net believes that job openings for nurse anesthetists may increase by 12 percent. In this period, O*Net anticipates a 31 percent increase in nurse education jobs. Job growth rates for other jobs, including nursing managers and nurse practitioners, fall in between these numbers.

Perhaps due to the below-average cost of living in South Dakota, nursing salaries in this region tend to be slightly lower than the national average. However, there are exceptions. In 2013, O*Net reported that nurse instructors earned an average salary of $58,400 per year. Nurse anesthetists in South Dakota report an average salary of $165,500 per year (O*Net, 2013).

Enhancing your education with an RN-to-MSN program can have many positive long-term effects. Not only may you increase your own earning potential and have more career options, you may be more of a valuable contributor in your health care organization.

Higher education standards can lead to better patient care, a better understanding of nursing research, and the overall strengthening of this excellent career field.

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