As a nurse in the Washington D.C. area, you likely understand what it means to work in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. Nursing change often starts in this area before spreading to the rest of the country, which means that you must be willing to learn and work hard to succeed as a nurse. Earning a master's degree in nursing doesn't just expand your options in direct practice; it can also help you change the nursing field through education, administration, research, and other specialties.
Living in the nation's capital may give you access to many resources if you decide to become an advanced practice nurse. The Nurse Practitioner Association of the District of Columbia supports nurse practitioners throughout the region. It offers ongoing training, networking events, and information on job openings.
In addition to a variety of professional resources, advanced practice nurses in Washington D.C. can work to the full extent of their education and abilities. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners notes that Washington D.C. provides full scope of practice rights to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
CareerInfoNet notes that many nursing careers are among the region's 50 fastest-growing occupations. In this list, you can find nurse practitioners, nurse instructors, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. Career growth in this region may provide many promising opportunities for MSN graduates.
Starting a new degree can be daunting, but preparing for it ahead of time can help the process go more smoothly. Depending on the specialty you pursue, you may earn between 30 and 45 credits in an advanced degree. You may complete a higher number of credits if you choose a clinical path, like nurse anesthesia, rather than an administrative path, like nurse leadership. If you make the time to attend school full-time, you may be able to graduate in as little as two years. Part-time students often graduate in three to four years, which allows for more time to find the balance between work, school and your personal life.
Nursing informatics is one of the newest and fastest-growing MSN specialty fields. It involves combining nursing skills with an intensive knowledge of technology for information processing. As a nursing informatics specialist, you may take classes like Database Systems in Health Care, Health Information Exchange Standards, Health Information Technology, and Cognitive Informatics in Health Care.
If you're interested in educating the next generation of nurses, consider a Master’s in nursing education degree. This curriculum may include advanced courses in nursing care as well as education theory. You may take classes like Innovations in Clinical Teaching & Evaluation, Educational Program Evaluation & Accreditation, Qualitative Assessment & Evaluation Strategies, and Role of the Nurse Educator. Your practical hours in this degree may be spent in undergraduate nursing courses, acting as an instructor or adjunct professor.
Nurse practitioner students may spend most of their time in clinical courses, since it's important to be able to work with patients independently. NP courses include Advanced Practice Nursing in Primary Care, Perinatal Care Patients, and Primary Care Management.
Living in the capital of the United States may give you the opportunity to apply for many regional and national nursing scholarships. There are quite a few grants and scholarships offered by specific schools. Options include the Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship and the Nurse Loan Program. The Health Resources and Services Administration hosts the NURSE Corps Scholarship program, which may be an option if you are willing to work in a high-needs area after graduation.
Nursing salaries are dependent on which career path you choose, In Washington D.C., salaries tend to be similar to or slightly higher than national averages. O*Net reports that nurse instructors in this area earn an average of $79,200 per year, while nurse practitioners earn an average of $84,700 annually. Their estimates show that health services managers have a median income of $113,000 (O*Net, 2013). The average annual salary for nurse anesthetists is $177,700 (O*Net, 2013).
Are you ready to take your nursing career to the next level? An MSN program can give you the skills and knowledge you need to fulfill your potential. Contact the schools in D.C. that offer Master’s in Nursing programs to begin.