Pennsylvania Hybrid MSN Nursing Programs

Hybrid MSN programs prepare nurses for advanced practice in specialty roles. As the name suggests, the delivery is based on a blended model. While there is no ‘one’ type of hybrid program, students may expect a mix of online classes with minimal in person requisites. These may take the form of an orientation or intensive. Either way, hybrid master of science in nursing programs provide some schedule flexibility to busy nurses. Students may also have a chance to connect with faculty and classmates, learn through in-person supervision and be able to consult program staff. 

Hybrid MSN Nursing Programs Information

Hybrid MSN Program Objectives

Hybrid MSN programs have several objectives. One of these is to help student integrate research with scholarship. Then, to use evidence-based practice from nursing and science in combination with holistic patient care. Another goal of the MSN program is to foster leadership. Through these nursing graduate programs, nurses could develop the know-how and ability to promote health and to possibly help shape the health delivery system through policy, processes, and advocacy.

FUN FACT: The median annual wage for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners was $104,740 in May 2015.i

Course of Study

Hybrid MSN nursing programs tend to have several components. These are courses, clinical practicum and the in-person requisites of the specific program. Many of the courses in an MSN program are thematic and mirror an area of focus. For example, an MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program might offer courses in clinical management of adult patients and family primary care. Other more general (yet advanced) topics might draw from the sample topics below.

  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health Care Technology
  • Community-based research

Potential MSN Nursing Admission Requirements

Each nursing school has its own requirements for admission to their

MSN Nursing program. Some of the common material is listed below as a very general guideline. 

  • Official college and/or university transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Current RN license: Many MSN programs require applicants to possess a current RN license in the state where all clinical practicums are to be completed
  • A current resume: Many schools require an updated resume documenting RN clinical practice
  • Personal statement: Students are often required to submit a personal statement that explains career goals, choice of major, and why they want to pursue an advanced degree in nursing
  • GRE scores: Not all schools require students to take the GRE. Some schools waive it if a student maintained a GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0)
  • Letters of recommendation: Some schools require two or three written letters of recommendation from former or current employers or previous nursing professors
  • Health status, drug screen, background check

Who Are Hybrid MSN Programs For?

Traditional Hybrid MSN programs are commonly for registered nurses (RNs) who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from a CCNE or ACEN accredited institution. However, various types of MSN program exist for RNs who have completed various levels of nursing education and nurse certification. More than just a graduate degree, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) could be a pathway to different types of nursing.

Change the Course of a Nursing Career

Do you have a desire to move into a position of supervision or strategy? Through Hybrid MSN programs, nurses may take on directions other than patient-care. For example, Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Executive, or Nurse Leader. While not outside the field, these paths often require specific skill-sets or know-how. Things such as policy design or how to integrate research into practice.

Bring an Outside Interest into Nursing

What interests do you have? Nurses who are tech-savvy might choose an MSN Nursing Informatics program. Nurse Informatics programs mix courses in patient care management with computer and information science courses. Many nursing schools offer tracks where students can tap into their other strengths and use them in their careers. If you prefer elderly patients to small children, or critical care to family practice, Hybrid MSN programs may address these clinical issues.

Clinical Concentrations

Do you want to interact with patients directly? Nurses who want to engage in more clinical work might pursue an MSN with a clinical focus. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner are a few examples. 

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Are you drawn to a nursing specialty? Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners must earn a Masters of Science in Nursing from an accredited program.Here, they receive classroom education and clinical experience. To that end, students in Hybrid MSN programs may take the bulk of their courses in the virtual classroom.

Step Towards a DNP

A hybrid online MSN program may also be logical platform if you plan to later pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing.

What Types of Hybrid MSN Programs Are There?

Other than the traditional BSN to MSN programs, other Hybrid MSN programs may be designed for RNs who do not hold a BSN. In addition, MSN programs may be available for nurses who have their MSN but wish to change fields or add to their credentials. Below are several of the types of Hybrid MSN programs.

Direct Entry Hybrid MSN Programs

Direct entry MSN programs may be referred to as “graduate entry”, “master’s entry” or “bridge” programs. These are intended for non-nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees in another field. Often, a direct entry program requires about three years to complete. The first year may be devoted to entry-level nursing courses, followed by two years of masters-level study. In addition, students may be able to pursue an MSN concentration such as Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Care Systems Management or Nurse Educator.

Hybrid MSN / Nursing Specialty Programs

Hybrid MSN programs may be available across all major clinical APRN areas as well as nursing administration and leadership. Whether a nurse chooses to work closely with patients or not, MSN programs often do focus on one distinct area of advanced nursing. As a result, topics of study relate to that theme. For instance, a Family Nurse Practitioner MSN program might provide the skills and know-how to provide holistic care to individuals, families, and populations as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Hybrid BSN-DNP Programs

Students on the path to a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree might opt for a BSN-DNP program. While courses include masters level topics, the MSN is not awarded. For full-time students, a program of this nature may take about three years to complete. And, at the end, graduates will have earned a terminal degree in their field.

Hybrid MSN -DNP Programs

As the terminal degree for nurses, a DNP degree offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. While students may enter a DNP program with a BSN, there are fewer course pre-requisites post MSN since those courses are usually covered in MSN degree programs. Also, MSN to DNP programs may require about 2 years or more to complete; less time than BSN to DNP programs.

Who Accredits MSN Nursing Programs?

Two possible accreditors of MSN Nursing programs include the CCNE, and the ACEN.

What is the CCNE?

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national accreditation agency. The CCNE ensures the “quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.”ii

What is the ACEN?

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the USDA. Its purview is “to accredit nursing education programs and schools, both postsecondary and higher degree, which offer either a certificate, diploma, or recognized professional degree (clinical doctorate, master’s, baccalaureate, associate, diploma, and practical nursing).”iii

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