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Wisconsin RN to MSN Bridge Programs

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Wisconsin is a state where nurses are highly valued and health care is a priority. Whether you've used your time as a registered nurse to work in a hospital, clinic, or a different health care setting, maybe you're ready to explore your career options and further your education! Wisconsin is home to many schools with RN-to-MSN bridge programs, educational programs that allow you to use your associate's degree to earn a master's degree. You can often choose from specialties like nurse education and instruction, nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia, and nursing leadership.

To be a good fit for an RN-to-MSN bridge program in Wisconsin, you need an associate's degree from an accredited nursing school. You also need an active registered nursing license through the Wisconsin Board of Nursing. There may be academic prerequisites—many schools require a GPA of 3.5 or higher. It's common for Wisconsin schools to require nursing experience, whether in a hospital or clinic.

When you begin working toward your MSN, you may take a mix of bachelor's degree and master's degree courses. Common courses required in your first semester include Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice in Health Systems, Theories of Organizational Behavior and Leadership in Health Systems, and Economics and Policy in Health Systems.

There are many nursing courses that focus on clinical, financial, and staff leadership in health care, since MSN-level nurses are expected to take on prominent leadership roles throughout the medical industry. Some of the leadership classes you may take include Financial Management in Health Systems, Informatics in Health Systems, Environmental Sustainability in Health Systems, and Advanced Leadership & Management.

Some of the classes you take can enhance your clinical understanding and your ability work with patients in an independent manner. Courses in this category include Ethics of Advanced Practice Nursing, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Pathophysiology.

In Wisconsin, there are many nursing scholarships and grants for you to consider as you earn your Master's degree in nursing. Consider looking for scholarships at your school, in your part of Wisconsin, and on a statewide basis. Doing so can help you reduce the amount of student debt you take on as a nursing student. The Wisconsin League for Nursing awards multiple scholarships, including the ANTHEM Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Grant and the Herbert H. Kohl Charities Scholarship. Through the Wisconsin Nurses Association, you can apply for advanced practice scholarships like the Mary Barker APRN Nursing Scholarship and the NFW Scholarship. The Wisconsin Medical Society offers financial support to students in different health care fields, including nursing and medicine.

Since you've already worked as a registered nurse, you should be familiar with the Wisconsin Board of Nursing. This agency oversees the licensure of registered nurses, as well as the advanced licensing standards for advanced nurse practitioners. If you're going into a clinical specialty, you will need to get an advanced license before you begin your career.

You may benefit from a great job outlook in Wisconsin once you finish your education. From 2012 to 2022, O*Net anticipates a 16 percent increase in nurse management jobs. In this same time period, they hope to see a 30 percent increase in nurse education jobs (O*Net, 2012).

You may be able to earn a competitive salary as an advanced practice nurse in Wisconsin. O*Net reports that nurse instructors earn an average salary of $64,000 per year. Their estimates show that nurse anesthetists bring in an average income of $187,200 per year (O*Net, 2013).

No matter which MSN specialty you choose, this advanced degree can make a difference in your life. By bettering health care in Wisconsin, you can improve care standards for patients, inspire nurses to be the best care providers they can be, and become a leader within your industry. It all starts with choosing an RN-to-MSN program in Wisconsin!