Direct Entry Accelerated MSN Programs

The high demand for good healthcare has also increased the demand for highly trained and qualified registered nurses. In an effort to make it easier for aspiring registered nurses to reach their career goals more easily and efficiently, numerous colleges across the nation have developed ways to attract new nursing students to help fill the need for RNs. One of the most innovative and convenient ways is the direct entry accelerated Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.

This program is referred to by a couple of different titles, including entry-level, accelerated, or direct entry MSN program. Students in the direct entry accelerated MSN program receive the same excellent training and education but can earn their degree much faster than in traditional MSN programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that direct-entry accelerated MSN programs are gaining momentum in the nursing world and have become very popular among aspiring nursing students.

In the past, if an individual with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field wished to become an RN, he or she would have to almost start from scratch and enroll in the Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) program, which typically takes four years to complete. Students with indirect entry into accelerated MSN programs can often have their degree in as little as two years.

The direct-entry MSN program is specifically designed for these individuals. What they’ve already learned through the non-nursing bachelor’s degree program acts as a foundation for their MSN program. The direct-entry MSN for non-nurses allows them to transition into the MSN program without taking courses already completed. This MSN program allows graduates to pursue careers in registered nursing, nursing leadership roles or advanced practice registered nursing (APRN).

For instance, candidates who wish to have a career as a nurse practitioner can utilize these programs because they can also act as direct entry nurse practitioner programs. When applying for a nursing position, graduates of direct entry MSN programs have a very impressive resume. Likewise, employers typically find these individuals to be highly qualified, mature, and possess excellent nursing and clinical skills.

Admission Requirements for Direct Entry MSN Programs

Candidates interested in enrolling and being accepted into the direct-entry MSN program must satisfy specific admission requirements. While the admission requirements may vary slightly by college, most schools have the following requirements.

  • A completed application
  • A personal statement
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field other than nursing
  • Transcripts from undergraduate studies
  • Grade point average of at least 3.0
  • GRE scores (not always required)
  • At least one professional and two academic letters of reference
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language for student’s whose primary language is not English

To meet the guidelines set by the AACN, Master’s in Nursing programs must include specific areas of study in their core curriculum. These include the following.

  • Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities
  • Informatics and Healthcare Technologies
  • Master’s Level Nursing Practice
  • Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health
  • Quality Improvement and Safety
  • Health Policy and Advocacy
  • Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice
  • Organizational and Systems Leadership
  • Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

MSN programs also include basic nursing courses, including health assessment; foundations in nursing practice; research processes; nursing ethics; advanced pharmacology; anatomy and physiology; public health; health assessment; statistics, and nursing for children and adults. Although experience working in a healthcare field is not required, it’s considered highly valuable to potential employers and on a resume.

How to Choose an MSN Program

The type of nursing education you receive in an MSN program depends a lot on what area of nursing your hope to pursue and the college in which you receive the training. Do you want to work as a nurse educator? Do you wish to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner? Keep things like this in mind when choosing not just the school but also the MSN program.

If you’re currently working and can’t afford to quit your job to go to college full-time, you may wish to check into online MSN programs. Most accelerated MSM programs require students to complete an extensive amount of clinical rotations, especially those enrolled in advanced practice nursing programs. Many colleges and universities offer online direct entry accelerated MSN programs.

There is currently more than 50 direct entry accelerated MSN programs in the United States. Here are some things to consider when choosing an MSN program.

  • Are the college and program accredited?
  • What is the school’s graduation rate?
  • How does their tuition compare to other MSN programs?
  • Does the school offer financial aid?
  • What is the job placement rate for graduates?
  • What do they offer in terms of nursing areas of specialization?

Career Outlook for Graduates

Registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are highly in demand and typically find a variety of positions available to them. The job availability for the MSN graduate will depend on if the student completed the MSN program or chose to study a specific area of specialization in nursing. Students in accelerated MSN programs can choose from these areas of specialization:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse

RNs are expected to see job growth of 12 percent during the decade 2018-2028 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment growth of 26 percent is predicted for advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners, midwives, and nurse anesthetists according to the bureau. Approximately 371,500 new RN positions and 302,700 new advanced practice registered nursing positions should be created by 2028.

Graduates of the accelerated MSN program also have the potential to earn very good wages. As of May 2019, annual wages for RNs ranged from $52,080 to $111,220 with the average annual wage at $77,460. Advanced practice registered nurses like nurse practitioners earned an average annual wage of $111,840 with wages ranging from $81,410 to $152,160.

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