If you have a bachelor's degree but are looking to change your career path, you might consider continuing your education by enrolling in a direct entry or accelerated masters of nursing program. Students who decide to become graduate nurses have a choice of several types of careers. For instance, Penn State has the following MSN programs; Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator. There are other universities with Direct Entry programs that may have other career choices.
To learn more, check out the resources and schools on our site. You can then request information directly from nursing schools in Pennsylvania that offer direct entry masters programs.
Penn State is recognized worldwide for their excellence in education and clinical practice. They have a total of 17 MSN programs. Students must complete their MSN five years from the date of their BSN completion. The admission criteria for the Accelerated or Direct Program is similar across most programs and typically requires:
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited university
- Two recommendations and one should be academic that speak to your abilities and probable success in the master's program
- Official copies of transcripts from all attended college courses
- A personal statement is required once you have started the application process
- The GRE general test is required for the BSN/MSN and Hillman BSN-PhD applicants
- An interview with the Program Director for the master's program may be required
As an example, the curriculum for the Nursing and Healthcare Administration Program focuses in Nursing and Health Care Administration by integrating the principles from 11 courses of nursing administration, one nursing leadership elective and three elective courses from the healthcare management major at the Wharton School of Business or the Organizational Dynamics Graduate Program in the School of Arts & and Sciences. The students also have the choice of relevant minors in health informatics, quality improvement and safety processes in health care or organizational dynamics.
The typical plan of study for any Direct Entry MSN program in Pennsylvania usually includes any or all of the following courses:
- Leadership Development in Healthcare
- Negotiations in Healthcare
- Introduction to Research Methods and Design
- Systems Thinking in Patient Safety
- Applied Healthcare Accounting and Business Planning
- Human Resources Management in Healthcare
- Concepts in Healthcare Economics
- Nursing Informatics
- Advance Roles in Administrative Nursing Practice
- Principles and Practice of Healthcare Quality Improvement
- Current Issues in Health Policy
- Nursing Administration Practicum
There are a total of 29 required credits, which does not include clinical hours. You should expect to complete several hundred hours of clinical work throughout the program.
There are also Direct Entry/MSN online courses available at Salem State University, Thomas Jefferson University, Wilkes University and two courses from the University of Pennsylvania.
Salem State University offers the Direct Entry/MSN online and begins each May and runs full-time for 15 months, but you may choose days, evenings or weekends for your classes. When you complete 52 nursing credits you are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, and then you can continue full-time or part-time with the MSN clinical courses. However, prior to enrolling in clinical courses each student must complete six months of work as an RN.
The clinical experience for these online accelerated MSN programs in Pennsylvania can be completed at any of the following areas:
- Adult Health
- Critical Care
- Mental Health
- Public Health
- Women's Health
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2013 Medical and Health Service Administrators earned average annual income of $101,340. This is just one example of a graduate degree nursing job. Nurses with graduate degrees are expected to have a number of jobs available due to the nursing shortage. Income is based on your education, credentials, experience and your type of employer.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center offer examinations for numerous types of nurses with graduate degrees, which will give you an ANCC credential in your field of expertise. The National League for Nursing offers an examination for Nurse Educators for certification. Each of these organizations offer the certification as a mark of excellence in your field.
If you are concerned about how to pay for your graduate nursing degree, visit the Financial Aid Office at your University and complete a FAFSA application, which is a federal grant based on income. Penn Nursing also offers some options for financial aid for the accelerated student. The Health Resources and Services Administration offers low–interest loans that are long-term and other programs.
Getting your MSN degree can open up a whole new career route in a variety of fields, and it helps the nursing profession as a whole. If you are ready to explore your options further, contact the schools you find on our site to learn more.