Guide to MSN Degree Programs

Below are links to the top online MSN degree programs. Use the links next to each school to request free information from that college about the programs it offers that interest you. If you are considering enrolling in an M.S.N. degree program, you should request information from at least 4 different schools as there are differences between tuition, admission requirements, etc. which are best explained by the schools themselves.

Kaplan University

Nursing students can earn a BSN to MSN or masters degrees in Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Education at Kaplan University. Kaplan's nursing programs emphasize preventive care and allow you to specialize in care of older people. The program offers a good balance of practical skills with a solid theoretical background.

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Walden University

Walden University offers several different degrees in nursing including: BSN to MSN, MSN in Case Management, and MSN in Informatics. The program allows you to gain the knowledge and ability to make a difference in your patients. In this program you will collaborate with nurses from around the country in an interactive online environment.

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What else is a masters of science in nursing called?

This degree is usually called an MSN for short, but is also sometimes referred to as master of nursing (MN). Some colleges offer an RN-to-MSN program for those with a bachelor's in nursing (BSN), which essentially results in an MSN degree. You may also opt to get dual degrees, with one being an MSN and the other a master of business administration (MBA). This way, you are prepared to take on a management position at a hospital or doctor's office.

What sorts of skills might a student expect to learn with this degree?

These days, those with an MSN degree, usually called Advanced Practice Nurses, perform many of the same tasks that doctors used to do. This means that the skills needed in this career are many. One of the main skills learned with an MSN degree is critical thinking and reasoning to help create a plan that works to improve the patient's health. Advanced skills in communication, leadership, and accountability are all important to learn, as well. You will find out the best ways to be ethical, as well as sensitive to patients' cultural and religious preferences.

Of course, you will also learn how to be proficient at the technology used by most nurses in both hospitals and doctor's offices. Additionally, technical skills like anatomy, physiology, and the basics of medicine are also necessary to do well in this career path. Such skills are often learned during the undergraduate years, and a master's program should build on them.

What sorts of careers are common for a person who receives an MSN degree?

Most graduates of schools that offer an MSN degree have the opportunity to then start careers as a clinical nurse specialist, a nurse practitioner, or a certified nurse midwife. Those with a dual degree of MSN/MBA usually focus their studies to prepare them for managing doctor's offices and hospitals. Most people who graduate with an MSN can also launch careers as Advanced Practice Nurses, or APNs. Those who choose to specialize in certain areas, such as management or the environment, can take different career paths, but will still have this more general degree to fall back on.

What types of classes are offered when you get your masters of science in nursing?

You can expect to take at least one course committed to the various nursing theories available, in addition to legal and ethical issues often encountered. Courses focusing on research methods, often culminating in a research project or thesis, are also to be expected. Additionally, you might be required to take advanced science courses, such as anatomy and physiology, biology, and chemistry, all of which can add to your knowledge achieved at the undergraduate level.

You typically need to have a BSN, along with at least an introductory course to statistics and a research course, in order to go to school for your MSN degree. Most colleges also require at least a 3.0 GPA, about 35 semester hours, and a completed thesis in order to graduate from the master's program. Most programs take several years to complete, depending on if they are taken part-time or full-time.

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