Is It Possible To Receive A MSN Without A BSN?
The short answer is yes! Over 166 colleges and universities offer programs which allow nurses with a RN diploma or an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) to receive a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). How is that possible?
Academic Credit For Work Experience
Many online RN to MSN programs allow students to "test out" of certain requirements due to their clinical work experience. In other words, you may not be required to take certain core nursing courses if you demonstrate sufficient experience.
Do I Also Receive A BSN Degree?
That varies by school. Some schools require students to work on the bachelor degree program prior to entry into the masters program. Students will be required to take general education courses (to meet the undergraduate requirements) along with core nursing subjects before beginning work on the MSN. Other schools may not require you to receive a BSN at all. Be sure to check with the school on their specific requirements.
How Long Will It Take?
One of the beauties of a RN to MSN online program is the length of time you'll be in school. Many RN to MSN programs may be completed within two-three years, far less time than traditional programs which require four years for the BSN and an additional 1-2 years for the MSN.
What Is A Bridge Program?
Bridge programs literally serve as a "bridge" for the practicing RN or ADN to enter a MSN program by accepting credits from a previously attended, accredited institution. Students will be required to take prerequisite courses (usually around 24 credit hours) before entering the MSN. Requirements vary school to school so it's important you either review the school's website or speak to an admissions advisor.
What Is A Hybrid Program?
Some RN to MSN programs, while offered online, may require limited on campus attendance for orientation, specialty classes, faculty engagement or other situations. These on campus experiences vary by school and length of time required. The school website will let you know if it is a hybrid program and what to expect.
Should I Find An Accredited Program?
Absolutely! Accreditation assures you that the program you select meets specific educational standards. The prevalent accrediting agency, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It's strongly advised that you chose an appropriately accredited program.
What About Clinical Experiences?
Even though your coursework will be completed online, your program may require clinicals. Schools work with students to conduct their clinicals in their home states and communities under the guidance of approved preceptors. Talk with your advisor on how that may work for you.
Several schools offer accelerated RN to MSN programs which will allow you to "fast forward" into the MSN program if you hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. Students typically will be required to take core nursing courses before beginning the MSN studies.
Best of Luck!