The nursing shortage in Washington has prompted the state’s leaders to step up efforts to bolster the Washington’s health care workforce. One idea that is gaining traction across the country is the direct entry master’s program, which allows college graduates in non-nursing fields to train for a graduate nursing degree. In Washington, you can find these innovative programs at several universities.
Take some time to review your options for Direct Entry MSN programs in Washington that can be found on our site. Once you have narrowed your search, request information directly from the schools to learn about program specifics.
A study funded by the Washington Center for Nursing projects that the demand for registered nurses (RN) in the state could exceed the supply by as many as 21,000 nurses by the year 2031. Those dramatic estimates are due, in part, to three main factors: today’s nurses will be reaching retirement age soon; once-uninsured residents now have access to care; and the state’s population is growing and aging.
With those trends in play, you should be able to find a promising job market if you decide to enter the nursing field. The typical paycheck for Washington’s RNs also is competitive, with the average annual salary at $76,420 in 2013 (BLS). Nursing jobs requiring master’s degrees typically can bring you even better pay.
If you earned a baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing field, consider these educational alternatives to entering the profession of nursing at the graduate level.
Pacific Lutheran University
Pacific Lutheran offers a 27-month program leading to RN licensure and to a graduate nursing degree. In the Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, you spend about 15 months preparing for the nursing licensure exam and getting ready for specialty classes. These early months also include about 900 hours of clinical and lab work. During the last 12 months, you will complete your studies in the school’s Care and Outcomes Manager nursing concentration.
To apply, you should have earned an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing subject with a grade-point average (GPA) over 3.0. Certain prerequisites also are required, including classes in statistics, human anatomy, microbiology, and developmental psychology.
Once enrolled, you can expect to enroll in a full-time class schedule for the early part of the program. After you earn your RN license, you will likely be following a part-time schedule designed to accommodate working nurses. Classes are held on the Tacoma campus.
The Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion track at Seattle is a full-time program for college graduates whose undergraduate work was not in nursing. After completing the first four quarters in the program, you should be prepared to take the RN licensing exam. The remaining classes typically can be finished in five to eight quarters, depending on the specialty.
As a qualified applicant, you should have earned a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA and taken several prerequisite classes. These include courses in math, psychology, anatomy, microbiology, statistics, and high school or college chemistry.
Two master’s programs are available to you -- primary care nurse practitioner and advanced community public health nurse. Within the nurse practitioner field, you can concentrate on adult gerontological nursing, family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nursing, and midwifery. Students should not plan to work during the intensive, early phase of the program.
University of Washington
The University’s nursing school has been ranked first in the nation for many years by U.S. News and World Report. Its Master of Science nursing program is open to qualified applicants with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline even if they do not have a RN license. However, you must be a licensed RN if you plan to take clinical courses through the program.
If you pursue this master’s degree, you will major in clinical informatics and patient-centered technologies. The program teaches students how to use informatics in the advanced care of patients. You can expect to take classes in nursing science, professional foundations, theory development, and modes of inquiry. A thesis or scholarly project also is required for graduation.
The program's required classes are offered online, but several mandatory weekend sessions are held on campus. If you enroll as a full-time student, you can finish the program in 15 months. As a part-time student, you should finish in two to six years.
As a nursing graduate student in Washington, several federal financial aid options are available to you. In addition, the schools offer some limited institutional aid to students. Pacific Lutheran University offers scholarships ranging from $5000 to $20,000 to some candidates in the master’s program. Seattle University provides Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion Scholarships to selected enrollees with demonstrated financial need. The University of Washington also has some scholarships and traineeships available to help with financing. Check each school’s financial aid website for more information.
The best way to find direct entry nursing programs in Washington is to review those on our site, then submit your requests directly to schools to get detailed program information.