If you're currently working as a nurse, you may be wondering how you can expand your career options to include leadership, advanced patient care, or education roles. Whether you have a Associate's degree or Bachelor's degree in nursing, you may be a good candidate for a Master's degree in nursing. If you are ready to earn your MSN, Virginia nursing schools have several options to choose from. Once you have found programs that interest you, request information from schools to get additional details to help you make a decision.
Master's programs in nursing tend to be very flexible, as administrators are aware that many students continue to work as nurses while attending school. This can be a big benefit of returning to school—you may not need to lose your income source or stop gaining experience while earning your degree.
Most Master's-level nursing programs offer a wide variety of nursing classes, permitting you to get a well-rounded nursing education in several different fields. These courses may include Advanced Nursing Practice, Policy and Systems for Advanced Nursing Practice, and Evidence-Based Nursing.
In a direct care specialty, like nurse practitioner or nurse anesthesia, you may take a mix of clinical and classroom courses. Commonly required classes include Common Health Problems of Adults, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Adults, and Primary Care of Families. Programs require between 550 and 900 clinical hours.
The nursing leadership specialty requires significantly less clinical work—most programs include fewer than 300 hours. Courses in this program may include Nurses as Organizational Leaders, Application of Financial Concepts, and Integrative Administrative Systems.
With the amount of nursing scholarships available in Virginia, you may be able to significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. The Virginia Department of Health funds a number of scholarships for graduate-level nursing students. You can also look at scholarships offered by the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority. The Virginia Nursing Students' Association offers three scholarships every year.
Virginia is currently experiencing a primary health care shortage. Over 25% of the population does not have access to a primary care physician. Local groups like the Virginia Action Coalition are currently trying to expand the scope of practice for advanced practice nurses. As a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice nurse, you may be able to work in an underserved area of the state. This can help you contribute to the state's reputation for health care quality; the Citizen-Times reports that several health care facilities throughout the state rank at the top of national patient satisfaction rankings.
There are many state programs that offer education assistance to veterans and others pursuing in-demand occupations. The Virginia VA Program notes that registered nurses are in extremely high demand. As the state continues to fund program that increase the amount of nursing students, many colleges may need nurse educators to handle the influx of students.
Virginia is an eastern state that offers many opportunities for nurses. Nurses who have earned their masters degrees will have greater employment opportunities, including the ability to work as a clinical nurse specialist or a nurse midwife.
Working as a clinical nurse specialist, you will work in collaboration with other members of the healthcare team to provide better outcomes for healthcare departments and for patients. As a clinical nurse specialist in the state of Virginia, you have the potential to earn an annual salary of around $62,600, based on 2014 median annual salary data (O*Net, 2015). The demand for clinical nurse specialists in this state is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2015).
Nurse midwives provide pre-pregnancy, prenatal, intrapartum, postpartum care, and newborn to women of childbearing age. As a nurse midwife in Virginia, you have the potential to make $88,400, based on 2014 median annual salary figures for this state (O*Net, 2015). There is an expected growth rate of 27 percent for nurse midwives in Virginia between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2015).
To learn more about either of these careers or to get started on your MSN degree, contact any of the schools listed here.