Boston MA Master of Science in Nursing Degree Schools

MSN degree schools are designed to build upon your nursing education and professional experience through classroom learning and hands on experience. Many schools allow you to choose a concentration to focus your coursework, so you may develop more advanced skills and knowledge. You could then put this focused knowledge immediately into practice with access to on campus facilities, like labs and medical equipment. This could be a great opportunity to not only fulfill clinical requirements, but to work side by side with professors and peers.

Fun Fact

Only three out of five nurses work in hospitals. Nurses also work in schools, private companies, correctional facilities, nursing homes, government agencies, home health, and other locations. 

What is a Master of Science in Nursing Degree?

A master of science in nursing (MSN) is an advanced degree that teaches how to provide quality nursing service, often with a focus on a specific area of medicine. Typically, programs consist of coursework, hands-on projects, and clinical experiences to help students turn evidence-based research into practice. Most students can earn their MSN degree in two to three years. However, this varies depending on enrollment and program.

 

Campus MSN Nursing degree info

MSN Degree School Concentrations

There are many things to consider when choosing a perfect MSN nursing degree school. However, the first consideration may be what area of medicine you’d like to focus on. While not every school offers every concentration, many schools offer a variety of options. Therefore, check a few schools to find a perfect fit for your goals.

Some of the available concentrations include the following list.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (Acute and Primary Care)
  • Adult Gerontology (Acute and Primary Care)
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Clinical Trials Research
  • Health Informatics
  • Nursing and Health Care Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Women’s Health
  • Nurse Anesthesia

 

Many MSN nursing degree schools design programs to meet the requirements of national certification boards in each of the different concentration areas. This may be an important additional consideration when finding a perfect MSN degree school. Check with schools to see if this might be an option.

Common MSN Courses

Students enrolled in MSN degree schools take a combination of core, specialty, role development, and elective courses. This could provide you with a well-rounded education in nursing. Typically, after choosing your concentration, your course of study may be more focused on that field. Therefore, courses may vary. However regardless of your focus area, many MSN schools look at how to diagnose different health problems, analyze test results, and conduct research. Programs may also touch on data, technology and leadership skills.

Some of the common courses include those listed here.

  • Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning
  • Advanced Practice Nursing in Primary Care of the Adult
  • Evolution of Midwifery in America
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Health Care Information Systems
  • Ethics for Advance Practice Nursing
  • Leadership and Health Care Systems: Policy, Organization, and Financing
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Nursing Concepts
  • Leadership in Clinical Microsystems

 

By attending a MSN degree school, you may gain an added dimension to your coursework. Schools might have a number of instruments, monitoring equipment, and labs available on site. Professors might provide live demonstrations or you could be able to try them for yourself. Check with your preferred schools to see what amenities might be available.

MSN Nursing Degree Schools: Clinical Practice Requirements

In addition to coursework, most MSN nursing degree schools ask that students complete a final clinical residency under the guidance of an experienced clinician in their respective field. This provides students with a chance to gain real world practice.

Choosing to earn your master of science in nursing degree on campus could make fulfilling this graduation requirement easier. Some schools have clinics and practices on site. Others may have relationships with local area hospitals and practices. This might be a great chance to not only gain experience, but build your professional network.

The exact number of required clinical hours varies from school to school and depends on your concentration. However, it normally ranges from 125 to 160 hours, though some concentrations don’t require any. Check with each school for specifics. 

Applying to MSN Nursing Degree Schools

To be accepted into a masters of science in nursing degree school, typically you need to have earned a bachelors degree in nursing from an accredited university, with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Normally, you also need a Registered Nurse (RN) license to practice nursing. There may also be additional requisites, such as those on the following list.

  • Personal essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores

 

Each MSN school has their own requirements. Therefore, check with each school for details. 

Can You Get a MSN without a BSN?

Yes, you can get a MSN without a BSN. Typically, this is through a bridge program designed for students who are currently licensed RNs and have a bachelors degree in a field other than nursing. As opposed to spending three or four years earning a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN), RN to MSN bridge programs are designed so that bridge courses cover important concepts you would’ve studied.

Some RN to MSN programs award a BSN in addition to the MSN, while others only award a bachelors equivalent diploma and the MSN. This may be a factor when pursuing state certifications and licensure. Therefore, it’s important to check out a few different schools to find one that matches your goals.

What is the AACN? 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) currently has over 800 members and is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. Those member schools are public and private universities located throughout the country. The AACN helps shape the nursing profession by developing quality standards, helping schools implement those standards, and promoting public support.

One of the key ways the AACN improves the nursing profession is through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The CCNE is an autonomous accrediting body through the AACN. The goal of the CCNE is to hold programs accountable to the nursing profession. This is through fostering continuous improvement and evaluating the success of a program in achieving its mission and goals.

Other Accreditations for MSN Nursing Degree Schools

Another common accrediting body is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This is a voluntary, self-regulated accreditation for schools that have been found to meet or exceed criteria for providing a quality education. You may wish to look for these or other accreditations when choosing a MSN degree school. 

Common Careers After Attending a MSN Degree School

After earning a MSN degree, many students pursue a career in the field of their concentration. That’s why choosing a MSN nursing degree school that matches your goals can be such an important decision. There are a number of different careers that you can pursue upon earning your masters of science degree in nursing. Some of them, and their 2015 median annual salary, include those listed here.

  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRNs): $104,740[i]
  • Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary: $67,480[ii]
  • Nurse Practitioners: $98,190[iii]

 

Typically, employers look for candidates who have earned a masters degree in their field. Some of these roles may have additional requirements, such as certifications.

Additional Certifications for Nursing Careers

Many specialized jobs in nursing require you to pass a national certification exam. Fortunately, some MSN schools and specific focus areas have curriculum to help you prepare. However, it’s still important to check with specific schools before enrolling to make sure a school matches your goals and expectations.

Some of the certifications for specific roles in nursing include those listed here.

 

  • National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Midwifery Certification Board
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board[i]

 

Depending on the field, there may be other required certifications. Check with your individual state to find out a complete list of certifications and specific requirements.

Choose Your MSN Degree School

Ready to find your perfect MSN nursing school? First, consider your educational goals and individual requirements. If you want to study in a nearby MSN degree school, use the menu to filter by location. Once you’re ready, click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more. There, you could find program descriptions and additional information on the school. You may even find a few specific advantages to earning your MSN degree on-campus, like access to modern facilities. Then, contact your favorite schools directly to request more information. 


Source: [i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5 | [ii] bls.gov/oes/current/oes251072.htm#ind | [iii] bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-4

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