bsn to msn degree in connecticut

What Comes After a BSN? Your Options at Goodwin

Becoming a Registered Nurse was an exciting first step towards your career and to making a difference in the world. Now, with your Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) in hand, you may be wondering what is next. What comes after a BSN? What opportunities lie ahead within the nursing field?

Earning a Bachelor’s in Nursing is just the beginning of a long, rewarding journey within the field of patient care. Completing a BSN degree means that it is now time to pursue your larger professional goals. Do you wish to become specialized in a certain area of nursing? Do you wish to join the nursing forces and start helping patients in need? Do you wish to pursue an advanced nursing position? With a BSN degree under your belt, you now have these options.

There are several paths nurses can choose to take beyond their BSN, both educationally and professionally. Here are a few of the options you can pursue after earning a BSN degree.

Pursue Advanced Education:

After graduating from a BSN program, students may choose to advance their education even further with a graduate degree. Typically, graduate nursing programs are designed to help nurses carve out a specialization, home in on an area of interest, and qualify for advanced practice or leadership roles. Therefore, the master’s degree program you choose should align with your interests, skills, and professional goals.

At Goodwin University, students can pursue several advanced degrees, including the Master’s in Nursing (MSN), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) programs. Each program is designed to prepare nurses for advanced positions within the nursing field.


Goodwin’s MSN program is an advanced degree option that focuses on population health and nursing leadership. It is designed to enhance nurses’ knowledge in the core areas of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment. MSN students graduate with a deep understanding of healthcare-related policies, research, leadership, communication, and case management. This degree program has flexible, online options and can be completed in as few as 20 months part-time, making it an excellent option for working RNs. Also, credits earned with this degree will easily transfer into other specialized MSN or doctoral programs, which is a great feature for those wanting to take their education a step further.


Goodwin’s FNP program is designed for those wanting to provide primary care for patients of all ages and demographics, including adults, children, and women. The FNP program will help you master holistic methods that empower you to see the whole patient-care picture. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to pursue your license as a Family Nurse Practitioner, a highly advanced role with responsibilities similar to those of a physician. Goodwin’s FNP program offers flexible, online courses where you will study leadership theory, current nursing concepts, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and the policy and politics of healthcare. Furthermore, you will enhance your knowledge in nursing research, physical assessment, and diagnosis. Students also have the opportunity to apply all they have learned throughout the program during the required 600 hours of clinical experience needed, making them extremely equipped and experienced upon completion of the program.


Goodwin also offers a PMHNP program for nurses interested in advancing their careers and specializing in mental health. The PMHNP master’s program is designed to prepare you for a career as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), an advanced role that allows you to advocate for patients struggling with mental illness. Through Goodwin’s online PMHNP program, you can gain the knowledge and skills needed to teach patients how to positively handle stress, cope with symptoms, and make healthy life choices. The robust PMHNP curriculum is focused on preparing students to administer therapy, diagnose and advocate for patients, evaluate treatment plans, as well as prescribe medicine to patients suffering from a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. Students will immerse themselves in a combination of relevant coursework and 600 hours of clinical training and experience. This is an excellent option for aspiring Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners who want to handle everything from routine case management to crisis intervention.

Gaining Professional Experience:

If you aren’t wanting or ready to pursue a graduate degree, but are wondering what comes after a BSN, entering the workforce is your best next step. Jumping in as a licensed RN is a great way to build experience and make connections within the nursing field. As a general Registered Nurse, you can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, home health care services, nursing care facilities, physicians’ offices, urgent care clinics, as well as schools and universities. You can expect to provide quality care to patients who are sick, injured, and disabled—administering medications, performing diagnostic tests, operating medical equipment, analyzing laboratory results, and working with doctors to come up with the best possible treatment plans for your patients. You can learn more about becoming an RN here.

So, what comes after a BSN? The answer is in your hands. As a BSN graduate and Registered Nurse, you have the power to decide your path: Gain experience in the field or choose to go back for an advanced nursing degree. Or, you can do both! There is always the option to work as a Registered Nurse, build upon your patient care experience, and then go back to pursue a master’s degree if you ultimately choose. In fact, this is often encouraged. Many graduate nursing degree programs will require applicants to have 2+ years of direct patient care experience as a Registered Nurse, combined with an active RN license.

Are you still wondering, ‘What comes after a BSN?’ Let our team of advisors here at Goodwin walk you through your options, so you can be fully empowered to make the best possible decision for you and your career goals. Call 800-889-3282 to learn more about our nursing school.