A Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree could be the next step to boosting your nursing career to the next level. The opportunity for advanced practice nursing in Alabama is growing as a result of both healthcare reform and the ever changing patient population in the state. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are the key to increasing patient accessibility to high-quality, advanced medical care. See how earning a master's degree in nursing in AL could translate to increased success in your nursing career. Contact those schools you find on our site that offer MSN programs in Alabama to get started.
Before deciding what graduate nursing program is the best option for you, it is important to know what role you want to focus on. The direct care routes you can take while you earn your MSN degree have four main specializations to choose from: nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and clinical nurse specialist. Nurse practitioners often serve as primary care providers and diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses among patients. In fact, the trend for patients who are seen by nurse practitioners in the place of doctors is becoming more prevalent.
In another advanced role, the nurse midwife focuses mainly in the realm of women's health services, including care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Nurse anesthetists safely practice the administration of anesthetics to patients before, during and after surgical, obstetrical and trauma procedures. Clinical nurse specialists are similar to nurse practitioners, except they focus on a specialized area in which they are considered experts at diagnosing and treating illnesses.
There are also Master’s in Nursing degrees in Alabama that focus on non-patient care roles such as nursing education, leadership and healthcare policy. You can learn more about all of the specialties available directly from our site.
Once you decide what you are interested in specializing in, the next step is finding a program that is going to fit your needs. Some factors to take into consideration are finances and work scheduling. Today, most schools have different program options that work with you accommodate your needs, including online MSN classes in Alabama.
Depending on what stage you are in with your education, your past accomplishments may have a determination on the kind of MSN program you enter. For instance, if you have your RN license but do not have a bachelor's degree, then an RN to MSN program may be the right match for you. A similar program, the direct entry MSN program, is available to those who hold a degree in a non-nursing field. Then, of course, there is the traditional Master’s of Science in Nursing route in which you currently hold a bachelor's of science in nursing degree. Depending on which route you take, the time for completing your MSN degree typically ranges between 2 to 3 years.
While many of the Master’s in Nursing courses in AL are similar between programs, the Alabama Board of Nursing requires coursework in health promotion and disease prevention, physiology and pathophysiology, health assessment, pharmacology, foundations of nursing practice, research, professional ethics, policy, finance and organization of health care delivery, and diversity and social issues, along with additional courses focused on the selected area of practice.
A sample course outline for a MSN with a specialization as a nurse anesthetist may include the following courses:
- Theoretical Foundations and Role Development for the Advanced Practice Nurse
- Statistics for the Healthcare Professional
- Research for Advanced Practice Nurses
- Health Care Policy and Politics
- Clinical Practicum
- Anesthesia Physiology & Pathophysiology
- Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology
- Chemistry & Physics of Anesthesia
- Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthesia
- Perioperative Technology & Instrumentation
- Principles of Anesthesia
- Anesthesia Practicum
- Pharmacology for Anesthesia Practice
- Clinical Seminars
- Gross Anatomy for Nurse Anesthesia
Enrolling in a master's program can be expensive. However, the benefits of education have the potential to outweigh the expense. In fact, a study conducted by the United States Census Bureau estimates that those with a master's degree will earn up to $2.5 million more than those with a bachelor's degree over the course of a lifetime.
Because the need for advanced practice nurses is so great, you can find help with financial aid from multiple sources. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing provides a page full of scholarships and loan programs. The National Health Service Corpsawards a scholarship to those committed to providing primary care for at least 2 years at an NHSC-approved site in a medically underserved area of Alabama. The scholarship can go towards tuition, fees, other educational costs, and also provides a living stipend.
NHSC-approved practice sites include:
- Rural Health Clinic
- Hospital-affiliated Primary Care Out Patient Clinic
- Indian Health Service, Tribal Clinic, and Urban Indian Health Clinic
- State or Federal Correctional Facility
- Community Mental Health Facility
- Community Outpatient Facility
- Critical Access Hospital
- Free Clinic
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corp
- Mobile Unit
- School-based Health Program
- State and County Department of Health Clinic
Don't miss out on the opportunity to expand your career by continuing your nursing education in Alabama. You can check out our list of MSN programs in Alabama, then request information from those schools that interest you most. You may find an MSN program that meets your needs and that can help improve healthcare in Alabama at the same time.