Nursing has drastically changed over the years as technology, evidence-based practices, quality control and patient care standards have improved and altered the way healthcare is provided. Nurses who wish to advance their education are now able to take bachelor and masters programs online to improve their patient care and improve their salary expectations. More and more, advancement in the nursing field depends on not only clinical care experience, but in educational background as well. Nurses wishing to move into specialized roles as nurse practitioners, educators or administration are turning to online nursing programs to obtain a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) and in some cases, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Best Medical Degrees ranked 30 Most Affordable Online MSN Degrees available for those wanting to continue their education.
Do I Have To Get A Bachelor’s Degree First?
While many schools do require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to be admitted to a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN), several schools offer a bridge program from RN to MSN degrees.
What Is A Bridge Program?
Bridge programs are specially designed for nurses holding a RN, LPN or Associates Degree. These programs allow students to study for a MSN degree without requiring 3-4 year undergraduate work. The most common bridge program is the RN to MSN degree and many online programs offers this option. Bridge programs are especially attractive to working LPNs or RNs.
How Do Bridge Programs Work?
Online bridge programs are perfect for currently licensed, and working, nurses wanting to obtain a MSN degree and allow them to improve clinical and analytical skills and move into administration or a more specialized nursing field, such as Family Nurse Practitioner. Students will typically take bridge courses before moving to MSN coursework. Bridge courses typically involve students completing upper-division nursing baccalaureate courses before beginning the MSN graduate courses.
How Do I Qualify For A Bridge Program?
Each online program will establish its own admission requirements for nurses applying to their school. Some schools may require a GRE (Graduate Record Exam); but, nearly all schools will require a valid, unencumbered nursing license, a nursing or ADN from an accredited program. Additionally, because of the clinical work involved, schools may conduct a background check and/or require you carry malpractice insurance. Check with your school’s admissions office for specific admission requirements.
Should My Online Bridge Program Be Accredited?
Most definitely yes. Accreditation assures you that the program meets specific educational objectives. The Commission for Collegiate Education in Nursing (CCNE) accredits nursing programs and sets standards for educational standards. CCNE accredited programs will also prepare you to sit for certification exams.
How Do Clinicals Work For Online Programs?
Most online nursing degrees require clinical experiences or practicums before graduation. Clinical work is typically done in your community under the guidance of a school approved preceptor; or, in your own place of work. Sometimes, your previous nursing experience will be counted toward your overall clinical hours. Check with your school to see if this option is available for you.
How Long Will It Take To Receive My MSN?
That will depend on how many classes you take per semester or quarter. Most RN to MSN programs may be completed in approximately three years.