In just about any field of study, a Master's degree can open up doors for you that a Bachelor's degree cannot. This is particularly true in nursing, where professionals with Master's degrees can see patients independently, spearhead research efforts, serve as nurse leaders in various settings, and educate nurses at the undergraduate level. No matter what your first Bachelor's degree focuses on, you may be able to use this degree to start an accelerated MSN program in Delaware.
Direct entry MSN programs give you the opportunity to earn your BSN and MSN in one accelerated program that lasts between 18 and 24 months. Since this program packs several years of education into two years or less, you may need to put off work or only work part-time while earning your degree. In fact, some schools in Delaware require you to sign a contract that limits your work hours while classes are in session.
If you do not meet the prerequisite science requirements for a BSN or MSN, you may need to complete these courses before you start a direct entry MSN program. You will likely need a chemistry course with a lab component, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Statistics, and an introductory course in human development.
Plan on working through Bachelor's-level courses fairly quickly in a Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing programs. Your first semester or even two semesters may be a whirlwind, with courses like Pathophysiology, Fundamentals of Nursing Care, Nursing Procedures, and Ethics of Nursing. Many of these courses have strict clinical requirements, so you may spend several hundred hours in local hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes.
Once you've met the state's requirements for an RN license, you can move onto graduate-level courses. These classes do differ depending on your chosen career path, but you can plan on taking core classes like Leadership in Nursing, Health Promotion Across the Lifespan, Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, and Advanced Health Assessment.
Numerous scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available for nursing students in Delaware. You can consider scholarships and grants from private sources, as well as federal funding options. The Delaware Department of Education has the Scholarship Incentive Program, which funds up to $1,000 per year for graduate students. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has several federal financial aid opportunities. The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program pays off part of your loans in exchange for service in an underserved area. Their scholarship program offers funds to students that agree to a two-year service contract. If you're interested in becoming a nurse anesthetist, the Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists may have a scholarship opportunity for you.
When you compare nursing jobs to jobs in other fields, you may find that nursing jobs have a far more promising outlook. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net expects job openings for medical managers to increase by 18%. In this region, they expect job openings for nursing instructors to increase faster than job openings for other nursing careers. In that time frame, O*Net anticipates a 32% increase in demand.
Because Delaware has a higher cost of living than many other states, nursing salaries tend to be higher than the national average. The lowest salaries are reported for nurse instructors, who bring in an average of $74,700 per year (O*Net, 2013). Nurse managers have some of the highest salaries reported in the industry, with an average statewide salary of $100,900 per year (O*Net, 2013).
To start your nursing career, you must get the appropriate license from the State of Delaware Board of Nursing. Some careers may just require a standard RN license, but careers like nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia, and nurse practitioner require advanced licensing.
If you consider how much nurses do for their patients and for health care communities, it's obvious that becoming a nurse can help you have a huge impact on your city. All types of advanced degree nurses, from researchers to direct care providers, can improve the standard of care in Delaware.
Reach out to the Delaware nursing schools that offer Direct Entry MSN routes to learn more about how you can enter the nursing profession with your Master’s degree.