Are you motivated to advance your education and open yourself up to new career opportunities? A master's degree in nursing could be the gateway that will help you achieve your goals. You may be able to earn a master's degree in nursing if you hold a bachelor's degree in another field through a direct entry MSN program. Find out how a master's degree in nursing could change your career around for the better.
You can contact the graduate nursing schools in Utah that offer accelerated programs for non-nursing degree holders directly from our sites. Information is free, and can help you compare key aspects of each direct entry MSN program available to Utah students like you.
Now more than ever, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) play a vital role in the United States health system, especially with the recent change in healthcare reform. There is no question that nurses with advanced degrees are needed in Utah. With the current shortage of doctors, many patients would rather see a nurse practitioner (NP) right away than wait to see a doctor, especially considering NPs have been found to have patients with better health outcomes.
Nurse practitioners are comparable to physicians in that they are responsible and accountable for health promotion, disease prevention and diagnosis and management of acute and chronic illnesses. The boundaries of advanced practice nursing are regulated on a state-by-state basis. Nurse practitioners in Utah are able to practice independently as well as write prescriptions unless they fail to meet course requirements or ongoing continuing education requirements; in that case, they are given the title of an APRN without prescriptive authority. A nurse practitioner, however, is only one of the many exciting careers you can choose from.
Most programs have four main clinical specializations that nurses can choose from:
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Nurse Practitioner
For each of these specialties, there are sub-level categories focusing on certain areas. This can vary depending on the practice area you are interested in. Some practice areas may include: acute care, adult, family, gerontological, neonatal, pediatric, psychiatric and mental health, or obstetrics and gynecology.
Utah is a part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows for RN licenses to be recognized in other participating states. Three states, including Utah, have passed laws that authorize their participation in a similar Advanced Practice Nursing Compact, which will recognize APRN licenses in other participating states.
To consider a direct entry MSN program, you must have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. Program requirements may differ for each school and specialty, but they generally will require you to have an official copy of your transcripts, a minimum GPA of 3.0, as well as an application fee and references.
You may decide that taking classes online is a better option for you than a traditional classroom setting. Many schools are gradually adding online MSN classes that give more flexibility to students. Online classes may also be more affordable depending on the school. This will not eliminate the classroom altogether, however. You will still be required to do various clinical and other lab exercises.
Since you will have had no experience in nursing, the direct entry MSN program will start by building a foundational base for beginning nursing concepts. Basically, you will meet the requirements of a bachelor's degree before moving on to the master's degree requirements. Once you pass the NCLEX exam, allowing you to obtain your nursing license, the program will focus on more advanced courses pertaining to your specialization. The direct entry MSN program is taught at an accelerated pace, so you should prepare for intense schoolwork that required dedication and a good deal of attention.
An example course outline for a direct entry master’s program with specialization as a family nurse practitioner may include:
- Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse: Transformational Leadership in Advanced Practice
- Advanced Theoretical Perspectives
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Advanced Nursing Practice I
- Advanced Nursing Practice II
- Nursing Research Methods
- Advanced Health and Physical Assessment
- Practicum I: Family Health - Adults & Gerontology
- Practicum II: Family Health - Women's Health
- Practicum III: Family Health - Pediatrics
- Practicum IV: Family Health - Primary Care
- Graduate Project in Nursing
You may be concerned about your ability to afford tuition, but don't get discouraged. Opportunity for financial aid is plenteous in the form of federal and state level scholarships and loan repayment programs. The American Colleges of Nursing has a page dedicated to financial aid resources that would be helpful to check out. You can also find information about loan repayment and other options in our FAQs section.
The higher your level of education, the more opportunities you will have to choose where and how you will pursue your career in nursing. Check out which direct entry MSN programs are available in your area that will be well-suited for you and y