The nursing field prepares its students with rigorous education that continues throughout the rest of their careers. A Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, also known as RN to MSN bridge, is the gateway to an advanced role in nursing, known as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).
The RN to MSN degree usually takes two to three years to complete. This degree places students in specialized courses that are more specific to the field of nursing that they plan on specializing in. Students learn the many intricacies of acute illnesses and injuries that patients struggle with, how to diagnose those conditions and how to develop and implement detailed treatment plans.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median salary for APRNs in 2016 was $107,460 a year, or $51.67 an hour. According to the BLS, salaries for advanced practice registered nurses can be broken down further:
|Lowest 10% of Earners||Median Salary||Highest 10% of Earners|
The BLS also reports that there were approximately 203,800 APRN jobs in 2016. That number is expected to grow by 31 percent, or approximately 64,000, by 2026, which the BLS states is a faster growth rate than the average for all jobs.
Why the rapid growth? It’s a result of the aging population of baby boomers and their growing need for healthcare services and preventive care. APRNs are the professionals they need in place to help overcome acute ailments.
An MSN degree prepares nurses for a diverse range of potential roles. Depending on your chosen field of study, you might select one of the following career paths:
Family Nurse Practitioner
Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) work with patients of any age and gender to manage their health throughout their lifespan. FNPs develop treatment plans that focus on the entire well-being of patients. While they don’t have an expertise in one specific field, FNPs collaborate with other medical experts who specialize in treatment areas to provide for their patients the care they need whenever unique problems occur.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners (WHNPs) address the unique healthcare needs of women. Gynecology and obstetrics are two big specialties for WHNPs. These nurse practitioners also help women with health-related issues while they are pregnant, although nurse-midwives are more focused on pre-partum, delivery and post-partum.
Nurse-midwives help women through all the stages of pregnancy. They monitor the progress of their fetuses and the health of women during fetal development. They make sure that women are prepared to deliver healthy infants and help them recover after childbirth.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AG-ACNPs) look after the health of adults, particularly elderly adults. The role of the AG-ACNP is to pinpoint complex, acute health problems in adults that need sophisticated treatment plans. The complications that AG-ACNPs address affected patients’ entire lives.
Top Clinical Focus Area for Nurse Practitioners
|Area of NP Certification||Percent of Licensed NPs in the US (January, 2018)|
|Pediatric – Primary Care||4.6%|
|Adult-Gerontology Primary Care||4.4%|
|Psychiatric/Mental Health – Family||2.1%|
|Adult-Gerontology Acute Care||2.0%|
|Psychiatric/Mental Health – Adult||1.7%|
Online RN to MSN Degree Programs
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