If you want to really progress your career in nursing by going into a leadership, or administrative, or education role, then you need to take a master of science in nursing (MSN) program. It prepares you to be a nurse leader – someone who can demonstrate the advanced critical thinking, communication, and decision making skills required for a position as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). An MSN Nurse Educator program specifically prepares you to move into a rewarding career in education, whilst a Master of Healthcare Administration enables you to move into a senior position in administration.
This page explains the options, and has details of where you can take these programs, the content of a typical masters in nursing, the career and salary prospects after completing it, and more.
If you study your master of science in nursing online, then you can carry on working and earning. Of course, before taking a masters program, you will need to have completed a relevant undergraduate program, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
What is studied in MSN programs?
MSN programs prepare you to use research findings to improve health outcomes, as well as use knowledge of healthcare policy, systems, change and finance to effectively manage available resources. The programs are developed to create strong, visionary nurse leaders.
Typically, MSN programs would include: communication skills; critical thinking and decision-making skills; leadership and management theory; human and finacial resource planning; evidence based practices to improve quality of healthcare; the role of the nurse leader/manager; theories of nursing, systems, change, leadership and management.
A masters program prepares nurse leaders to use this knowledge together with theories from nursing and related disciplines to improve the environment in which healthcare is delivered. It can form the basis of the APRN education required for specializing as a: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Clinical nurse specialist (CNS), or Nurse practitioners (NP).
One career pathway for nurses is to become a nursing educator. Capella University offers two specializations in online MSN programs in nursing education. Both incorporate the “Essentials of Master‘s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing” established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, with a focus on nursing education. Yet another pathway would be health care administration or management such as found at Walden University, University of Phoenix Online and Independence University. More details of the many schools where it can be studied can be found on the masters in health care management page.
Online RN to MSN
Some schools/colleges offer accelerated programs designed for graduates of associate degree nursing programs who wish to earn the master of science in nursing (MSN) degree. RN to MSN programs can allow nurses to pursue a master’s degree while they still work on their Bachelor’s degree. Nurses completing these accelerated programs earn their BS in Nursing and MS in Nursing degrees at a faster pace and lower cost than completing each degree separately. Alternatively, in some cases RN to MSN programs allow nurses to pursue a master’s degree without completing a BSN at all.
List of nursing schools and masters programs
- Grand Canyon University's Master's in Nursing (MSN) Online Programs
- Emphases: Health Informatics, Health Care Systems, Nursing Education, Public Health and more
- The MSN at GCU is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Programs help prepare you to compete for top leadership positions, such as chief nursing officer or VP of nursing
- GCU's accredited program is aligned to standards established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
- M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Health Informatics
- M.S. in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge)
- M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Public Health Nursing
- And more...
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