No matter how long you've been a registered nurse in Texas, you've likely seen the wide variety of responsibilities given to nursing professionals. If you've gotten some experience caring for patients and working in different specialties, you may be ready to tackle an RN-to-MSN bridge program. With this program, you can learn about how to conduct research, lead nursing staff, teach student nurses, or provide advanced care to patients. The San Antonio Business Journal reports that nursing homes in this state have started improving their laboratories to provide a higher standard of care. As an advanced nursing professional, you can contribute to these exciting reforms.
As you prepare to start an RN-to-MSN program in Texas, you'll need to choose a nursing specialty. Some of the specialties available in Texas include nurse anesthesia, nurse midwifery, nurse practitioner, nurse education, or nurse administration. It's important to select a school that offers the specialty of your choosing, since offerings vary from school to school.
Your curriculum will be based around the specialty you choose. Regardless of your specialty choice, though, the first semester or two of your education will be spent completing Bachelor's-level nursing courses. These classes bring you up to the level of education you must have to take Master's-level courses. BSN courses you'll likely have to take include Nursing Population and Settings, Nursing Research, and Theoretical Foundations of Nursing.
Once you reach the level of MSN, you can take core nursing classes that provide you with intensive experience in different specialties. Some of the courses that may be part of your curriculum include Nursing Management, Human Resources Management, Health Care Finance, Pharmacotherapeutics, and Advanced Nursing Ethics. Many of these courses have a clinical component; in total, you may gain over 600 hours of clinical experience. Administrative specialties may require fewer clinical hours than advanced practice specialties.
Upon deciding to complete an RN-to-MSN program in Texas, you may be able to take advantage of the many financial aid opportunities in this state. Your school of choice may have grants and scholarships for you to consider. Texas also has quite a few nursing associations with financial aid. The University Health System for Bexar County and Beyond has a nursing scholarship program for financially-challenged students. The Texas Nurses Association of District 5 offers grants to students in central Texas. Certain health care employers also have financial aid programs. Methodist Health System is one such employer in Texas.
In some cases, completing your MSN degree is just one of the steps you must take to start your new career. Specifically, the Texas Board of Nursing requires nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to get an advanced practice license before they begin working. This process can be lengthy, since you have to pass an extensive exam in your specialty area and prove that you've met the state's educational standards.
As a nursing professional in Texas, you may earn a competitive salary. Though average salaries in this state are slightly below average, they tend to be fairly close to the average. O*Net reports that nursing instructors and educators in Texas earn an average salary of $59,100 per year. Similar to what you'll find in most states, nurse anesthetists are at the high end of the nursing salary range, with an average salary of $154,900 per year (O*Net, 2013).
The job outlook in Texas is more positive than the already-excellent job outlook across the country. For nurse managers, O*Net expects job openings to increase by 30% between 2012 and 2022. They anticipate an impressive 42% increase in jobs for nurse instructors (O*Net, 2012).
Getting an MSN and taking on more responsibility as a nurse doesn't just help you and your career. Rather, taking this step can have a great effect on the entire field of nursing. By deepening your knowledge of nursing theory and research, you may improve health care standards throughout Texas.