Many of us change our career paths after college graduation, choosing a new direction in search of greater personal, professional or financial rewards. For those who are considering a move into the world of nursing, a “direct entry” master’s degree from a Tennessee school can be an excellent tool to get you where you want to be. Contact the schools you find on this site that offer the accelerated master’s in nursing programs that interest you to learn more.
These accelerated nursing degrees are being touted by some health care advocates as a way to address looming nursing shortages by opening doors to graduates with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing subjects. Many Tennessee nursing colleges are introducing programs that allow graduates from other fields to get the training needed to transition into nursing careers. Three Tennessee schools now offer the programs: East Tennessee State University, University of Memphis, and Vanderbilt University. There are also online options available in some states.
In Tennessee, the job market for nurses is expected to be promising in future. By 2030, the state is expected to have a shortage of more than 8700 registered nurses (RN), according to a national workforce study. The state’s colleges reported 38 nursing faculty vacancies in 2013, contributing to reports that nearly 2000 qualified applicants were turned away from programs that year. Like many states, Tennessee needs to attract new nurses to fill the void.
To prepare for your nursing career in Tennessee, consider these options:
East Tennessee State University
Even without an undergraduate nursing degree, you can earn a MSN from East Tennessee State through the Regents Online Degree Program. The program is a collaborative effort between colleges and universities within the state system. Every MSN candidate must apply and be accepted both by the nursing graduate school and the online program.
To apply, you must be a licensed RN in Tennessee or in the state where you will do your clinical work. Some out-of-state students may be asked to do their clinical assignments within Tennessee. All applicants also must have earned a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA). If you don’t have a nursing background, you will have to complete several “nursing bridge” classes in topics like healthcare research, nursing leadership, and community health nursing.
Once accepted, you can choose from four master’s concentrations: family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, nursing education, and nursing informatics. Each program’s requirements include core classes, specialty courses, and hands-on clinical practice hours.
The University of Memphis
The University’s Loewenberg School of Nursing allows baccalaureate-trained graduates in non-nursing fields to train to be nurse educators, nurse administrators, or nurse practitioners. As a MSN candidate, you will take bridging courses in subjects such as healthcare research, trends and issues in nursing and healthcare, and community health nursing. Classes are offered on campus or online.
To qualify for the program, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject or an associated degree in nursing from an accredited program. You also must have a valid RN license and an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.8. In addition, you must be admitted to both the nursing program and the university’s graduate school.
Flexible full-time or part-time study options are available to you. Every program has different class requirements, but some core courses include advanced nursing research, scholarly synthesis, and healthcare policy. You also can expect clinical or practicum hours to be part of your schedule.
The accelerated “pre-specialty” master’s program allows you to become an advanced practice nurse in Tennessee without an undergraduate nursing degree. After taking three semesters of general nursing courses, you should be prepared for the National Council for Licensure Exam. You must be an RN before you begin taking the MSN nursing specialty classes.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, you must have several prerequisite classes under your belt. These include lifespan development, statistics, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and nutrition. You also will be asked to do at least 700 hours of clinical work during your pre-specialty year. Specific admissions requirements depend on your background and can be reviewed at the school’s website.
Vanderbilt has a full range of MSN specialties, including adult gerontology, emergency nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, women’s health, psychiatric mental health, and pediatric nurse practitioner.
The schools have a limited number of nursing scholarships for qualifying students. A variety of national loan and grant programs also provide funds for those who are eligible. Some programs allow you to repay your debt in part by making a commitment to work in an under-served community. For more information about these national efforts, visit the National Health Service Corps website.
Take some time to review the options for accelerated master’s in nursing programs in Tennessee, then request program information from those schools you are interested in to learn more.