If you've been working as a nurse in Virginia for any amount of time, you know how incredibly important your services and skills are. Virginia is one of the states that desperately needs high-quality nursing care. The state's many poor rural areas are medically underserved, leading to a population that is less healthy than it should be. If you are interested in making even more of an impact in Virginia's health care industry, earning your MSN may be a great way to do so, while also improving your skills and preparing you to take on more responsibility as a nursing professional.
Left unchecked, health care in Virginia may get worse in the next several years. The Times Dispatch notes that the state has a prominent primary care physician shortage. The vast majority of clinics in the state have openings, and employers have a hard time filling them. If you earn an MSN and become a nurse practitioner, you may be able to have a positive effect, bridging the gap in regards to the shortage. As a primary care practitioner, you can help ensure that patients in your area get timely and affordable care.
One major benefit of working in the nursing field is the huge variety of professional resources available to you. The Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders advocates for those who work in nurse management, administration, or leadership. The Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists is the state's largest organization for nurse anesthesia professionals. If you're considering a career in primary care, you can join the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners.
CareerInfoNet reports that many graduate-level nursing careers are growing quickly in Virginia. Through 2022, their estimates indicate employment increase of 38 percent or more in various nursing professions (CareerInfoNet, 2012).
It's important to start planning for your graduate nursing degree in VA as soon as you know you're interested in one. Many programs have fairly strict admissions requirements, so you need to give yourself enough time to satisfy any unmet requirements. Work experience is a major part of MSN admissions; most Virginia nursing schools require at least one year of full-time nursing experience, and some require even more. You may also need to demonstrate academic success during your BSN. Schools may require GPAs of 3.0 or higher. You may need to pass the GRE to be eligible for acceptance.
Once you've been accepted to one of the Virginia MSN programs of your choice, you can start taking core graduate-level nursing courses. These classes are required regardless of your area of concentration, since you need a broad understanding of all areas of advanced nursing. Advanced Pathophysiology, Epidemiology in Health Care, Advanced Pharmacology, and Research & Biostatistical Processes are all core courses in Virginia master’s in nursing programs.
The Virginia Board of Nursing sets licensing requirements for advanced practice nurses in Virginia. As long as you attend an accredited school, you should be able to get enough credits and clinical hours to be eligible for advanced licensure in Virginia. The Board also administers exams that are necessary for licensure.
Virginia is home to a great selection of scholarship programs, grant programs, and other types of financial aid that may make education more affordable for MSN students. The Virginia Nursing Students Association awards three different nursing scholarships each year. The Nursing Student Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Virginia Hospital Center. Each scholarship is worth up to $5,000. The Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority offers several grants and scholarships, including the Virginia Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife Scholarship and the Virginia Nurse Educator Scholarship.
Job growth rates throughout the state tend to be fairly promising! Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net expects job openings for medical managers to increase by 21 percent. Throughout this time period, they anticipate a 42 percent increase in job openings for nursing instructors (O*Net, 2012). Growth rates for other nursing professions fall between these two extremes.
Going into advanced nursing may also increase your earning potential, especially since Virginia nursing salaries tend to be in line with national averages. In this state, O*Net reports that nursing instructors earn a average salary of $62,300 per year. On the other end of the scale, nurse anesthetists earn an average annual income of $157,000 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Look into your options for getting one of several different types of master’s degrees in Virginia by contacting the schools you find on our site. You can get detailed program information to start researching which type of MSN will work best for you.