Investing in an advanced nursing education, as an already hard-working nurse, can be intimidating. RN to MSN bridge programs are an option for nurses who are looking to advance their careers into leadership or advanced practice positions. You can use the foundation of a bachelor’s degree in many popular science disciplines—such as biology, computer science, psychology, environmental science, health science—to launch your career into advanced nursing. There are so many reasons to make a Master’s in Nursing (MSN) your next big goal, and here, you’ll find out how to get there as a working nurse.
How do RN to MSN programs work?
RN to MSN bridge programs are designed to help registered nurses (RNs) achieve their master’s degree in Nursing, and qualify for a more advanced nursing career. Essentially, they are bridge programs that fill a gap in nursing knowledge, and equip RNs with skills needed for higher-level positions in the field. How RN to MSN bridge programs work, however, varies by each individual program.
For example, some bridge programs are designed for already licensed registered nurses (RNs) who are looking to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), but do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. Other RN to MSN bridge programs are designed for licensed RNs who have a bachelor’s degree, but in a separate, non-nursing field. Both types of programs serve as a “bridge” between the RN license and a Master of Science in Nursing.
For example, at Goodwin University, students must hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline, along with an RN license, to enroll in the RN to MSN bridge program. Upon completion, the MSN application requirement of a bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) is usurped, fulfilling the purpose of the RN to MSN bridge program. After completing the RN to MSN bridge program, students can go onto pursue their specific MSN degree track, which includes:
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-APRN Degree
- Family Nurse Practitioner-APRN Degree
- General MSN Degree, focused on population health and leadership
What will I learn in an RN to MSN bridge program?
At Goodwin University, there are five RN to MSN bridge courses that students must take, designed to provide students with essential nursing skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the MSN program. Those courses are:
- Health Assessment, where you’ll build skills around conducting physical examinations in a digital format.
- Introduction to Nursing Research, a scholarly class in which critical thinking and evidence-based practice meet.
- Public and Community Health will encourage students to start seeing themselves as nurses entwined in a broader healthcare service system that is both local and international.
- Seminar in Professional Nursing Leadership, which promotes self-awareness of up-and-coming advanced practice nurses through investigations of ethics and advocacy in the profession.
- Biostatistics or Principles of Statistics connect statistical methodologies to public health research, which help students develop techniques for hypothesis testing (an essential component of patient or group health analysis).
How long does it take to complete an RN to MSN bridge program?
Each student’s time investment in an RN to MSN bridge program will vary, depending on previous education. If a student has already passed equivalent coursework and earned at least a C+ grade, courses may be waived and the time to complete the bridge program is accelerated. For those who must take all five RN to MSN bridge courses, it may take up to two semesters to complete them.
Next, Goodwin University’s MSN program can be completed online in as few as 20 months, part-time. The Family Nurse Practitioner program can be achieved in 27 months, and the Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner degree in as few as seven semesters part-time. The part-time option is a key quality for working nurses who already have obligations on their plates. Learn about the different types of master’s degrees in Nursing offered here.
Does the RN to MSN bridge program offer flexible learning options?
Many students benefit from less time spent commuting, as well as from flexible class scheduling. In the RN to MSN bridge program at Goodwin, at least four out of five courses are offered entirely online. This means that students have maximum control over their learning experience and can easily coordinate classwork with other priorities in their lives, without sacrificing the quality of their education.
Why ultimately pursue an MSN degree?
An MSN degree can open up a gateway to many fulfilling career options in advanced nursing. A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing is an excellent start, but why not use a bridge program to work smarter, not harder, and put your existing bachelor’s degree to work in the healthcare sector? An MSN can help you pursue jobs in these areas, among others:
- Mental Health – Become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with a PMHNP program and improve the lives of people challenged by acute or chronic mental health problems. You may find work in inpatient or outpatient health centers, hospitals, clinics, community health centers, or schools.
- Healthcare Through the Lifespan – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program graduates work with patients of all ages and life phases. These advanced practice nurses are likely to work in a physician’s office and may be particularly inspired by pediatrics, women’s health, or gerontology.
- Community Health – Nurses who have an interest in fostering care accessibility and equality can invest their aptitude in the area of population heath.
- Education – Train the next generation of nurses at Colleges and Universities, teaching hospitals, and technical schools.
- Administration – Take charge of a nursing department, hospital floor, or entire healthcare facility with a Master’s in Nursing in hand. MSN graduates are qualified for many leadership careers where they can help run the operations, and oversee the nursing staff, of an organization.
What is the earning potential for MSN degree holders?
Advanced practice registered nurses and nurse administrators, among other MSN degree holders, have very rewarding careers. On top of engaging and fulfilling work, these professionals also get compensated very well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of nurse practitioners in 2020 was $111,680. Medical and health services managers, such as nurse managers, earned an average of $104,280 annually across the U.S.
With an RN to MSN program like Goodwin University’s, you can take the fast-track to better job prospects, as well as endless growth opportunities. An MSN is the qualifier you need to gain autonomy in your nursing career, advanced your skillsets, and lead the nursing field to new heights.
To learn more about the RN to MSN bridge, as well as all MSN programs available, call 800-889-3282, or visit us online.