The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that the United States will have an increasing nursing shortage as the country struggles to meet the rising demand for healthcare, and universities do not have enough nurse educators either. If you have a bachelor's degree in another field but are ready for a different, more rewarding career, this could be the ideal time to attend graduate school for a nursing degree in any specialty of your interest. Virginia has a number of direct entry and accelerated courses available in nursing.
To find those accelerated MSN programs in Virginia that may work for you, search the options on our site, then contact those nursing schools for more information. You could enter the nursing profession with a graduate level education, placing yourself at the forefront of healthcare in Virginia.
The Virginia Commonwealth University is one of the nursing schools that offers a direct entry route. Their master's program gives nurses the knowledge in advanced practice skills that is necessary to care for a diverse population that has complex health problems across the health–illness continuum.
The University of Virginia also has a direct entry program that trains you as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). This two-year full-time program has 75 credits required and almost 1000 clinical hours of guided learning in six specialty areas from experienced clinicians and faculty. Graduates will be eligible for the NCLEX-RN and the CNL certification exams. If you have an undergraduate or graduate degree in another discipline but want to change your career to the field of nursing this may be a good time to do so, due to the multiple jobs available in nursing.
The typical admission requirements for a direct entry nursing program in Virginia include:
- A baccalaureate or master's degree from a regionally/accredited school
- A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0
- Successful completion of the following prerequisite courses within the past five years prior to enrollment: Human Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Life Span Development (Conception to Death), Statistics at the graduate or undergraduate level
- GRE score for those with an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.25 or lower from their first bachelor's degree
- Submit a total of three satisfactory recommendations, one from a healthcare provider
- Resume or CV
- Prior work or volunteer experience in healthcare (exposure to nursing is recommended)
- Be available for an interview if requested
- There are additional admission requirements for international applicants
The recommended plan of study for most MSN direct entry programs includes many of the following courses. Those outlined below are specific to the Clinical Nurse Leader program, however many different routes can have very similar curricula.
- Health Assessment & Clinical Interventions
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Nursing Care of Women and Childbearing Families
- Nursing Leadership & Health Care
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Nursing Care of Adults & Older Adults
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Nursing Care of Persons with Psychiatric Illness
- Graduate Pathophysiology
- Leading Teams
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Nursing Care of Adults with Common Health Problems
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Nursing Care of Persons with Complex Health Problems
- Theory and Evidence-Based Practice
- Care Environment Management I, II
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Nursing Care of Children and Families
- Clinical Practice & Decision-Making: Community Health Nursing
- Culture and Health: Implications for Practice
- Leadership Seminar
- Clinical Practice and Decision-Making: Synthesis Practicum
- Epidemiology and World Health
- Nursing, Ethics, and the Larger Healthcare Arena
- CNL in the Health Care System
- Health Policy: Local to Global
- CNL Capstone Practicum
Once you have graduated and passed your NCLEX-RN exam you will be eligible to take the nursing credential examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. If you are a member of the American Nurses Association the cost of the exam is $270 and nonmembers pay $395.
There are online Direct Entry MSN programs for Virginia residents available as well.
The CNL position has many interesting components as the CNL collaborates with other healthcare professionals that strive to provide optimal patient care. They consult with other healthcare providers and provide such things as patient discharge instructions or clinical procedures. They have the opportunity to evaluate programs and design new programs as required. They also may direct or supervise nursing care staff.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a Clinical Nurse Specialist earns a mean average annual income of $68,910 as of May 2013. Salaries can be flexible as they are based not only on your education, but they are also based on credentials, experience, the employer and the type of work required. Earning your graduate degree in the nursing field may open many new career opportunities.
If you are living in a low income bracket, visit the Financial Aid office at your University and complete a FAFSA application, which is a federal grant program. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing have numerous financial aid resources listed on their website, which may help pay your expenses.
The Virginia State Loan Repayment Program works in the same manner as Health Resources and Services Administration's Nurse Corps program. In order to provide care to underserved areas, these program pays 60 percent of your tuition if you work in one of the designated underserved areas for two years.
Getting your graduate degree can give you a great deal of satisfaction, a new career, and it may offer an increase in your income. Contact the schools on this site to learn more.