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Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing

After graduating from your BSN, you might consider pursuing a specialization in nursing. This can be achieved through getting a master’s degree.

Requirements

Master’s degree in nursing has evolved through the years. Early on, it is called post-graduate education and the areas of studies were on public health, education or teaching, supervision, and some clinical specialties.

Today the need for specialization in nursing have expanded   into different areas: nursing administration, community health, psychiatric mental health, adult health, maternal-child health, gerontology, rehabilitation care, and some more are advanced areas of practice like anesthesiology, pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, geriatric nurse practitioner, and obstetrical-gynecological nurse practitioner.

masters in nursing
More graduate students taking up master’s degree in nursing are part-time in their classes.

Students planning to take up master’s degree are categorically called graduate students because they have finished certain degrees of education prior to this one. In order to be accepted into the program, some colleges or universities require that you must complete BSN work before taking up nursing graduate courses.

Many programs require at least 1 year of clinical practice after BSN and require additional 36 to 36 college credit hours. In order to be conferred with a Master’s degree, the student is required to pass a comprehensive written or oral examination, and some courses require an extensive research thesis before graduation.

Part Time or Full Time Student

Typical length of studying and finishing the degree in master’s studies is 2 years. Students can choose to attend to their classes as part-time or full-time.

Part-time students are those who continue with their nursing positions and may take up to 5 years to complete the requirements. The advantage if you are a full-time student is that you will definitely finish the program on time, i.e., if there are no problems with the courses you take.

Because there are more students who are taking part-time classes, many universities have tailored their programs to meet the needs of these students.  There are now courses offered over the Internet, and some universities have started to become an open university.

This means that they are able to provide the same quality of education to students even if they are from other places. This is called distance education. Through distance education, the students received modular instructions, take their exams over the Internet and conduct web conferences with their professors.

Types of Masters Degree in Nursing

There are two types of master’s degrees in nursing:

  • Master’s of science in nursing (MSN)
  • Master’s of science with a major in nursing degree (MS Nursing)

A lot of students are asking the difference between the two and which program is much better. The MSN program is more of a professional degree focuses more on the practice side of a nursing specialty, while the MS Nursing is more on the academic side of nursing since it caters to formal academic degree.

Benefits of having the Master’s degree in nursing

More education brings more opportunity. Nurses with advanced preparation typically enjoy more opportunities to impact the overall design and implementation of care. As education increases, salaries follow suit. With new practice opportunities emerging, and the demand for highly specialized nursing skills rising, the time is right for you to begin your graduate-level nursing education.

If you see yourself working in the academe as a nursing professor, it is highly required that you have a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing before you can teach in a university. The earlier in your career you complete your formal education, the longer your professional life and the higher your lifetime earnings will be.