Choosing the Best Online BSN to MSN Degree Program

This article will tell you about how to select an online BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) to MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) Nurse Practitioner program. You will learn what this advanced nursing degree is, how to evaluate the many online programs that are out there, and what you should look for. We also will select an online BSN to MSN degree program for your consideration.

What Is an Online BSN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Program?

An online BSN to MSN nurse practitioner degree program is a four to six year program where a registered nurse (RN) with a diploma or two year degree can earn their BSN and MSN at the same time. Earning both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing simultaneously will save you a great deal of time and money.

Many RNs work for a number of years to gain experience as a clinical nurse. Then they choose to move on to earn their BSN and MSN. Some employers will pay for part or all of the program; research shows that nurses with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree provide more effective patient care.

Many nurses want to earn their master’s degree eventually because it is the requirement to be employed as an advanced nursing practice nurse. These are high paid, high demand professions in the American health system today, such as nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, clinical nurse leader, and nurse anesthetist.

How a BSN to MSN Program Works

In most BSN to MSN programs, the student completes their BSN degree, and then applies for admission just before completing their bachelor’s degree. Students may complete their BSN while they are taking MSN classes. Many programs accomplish this by having students take a single MSN course in place of two mandatory BSN courses.

The end result of the program is that you will be qualified for state licensure as a nurse practitioner. You do this by achieving national certification by an accredited nurse practitioner certification body, such as the American Academy of Nursing Practitioners Certification Board. Upon successful completion of those requirements, you then will be licensed to work as a nurse practitioner.

To be eligible for a BSN to MSN nurse practitioner program, you must already hold a nursing diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing. Further, you must have a current RN license, and usually you will be required to have a minimum of one year of work experience, although this varies per institution.

Why Earn an Online BSN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Degree?

There are several reasons why earning a BSN to MSN degree is s wise choice. Government statistics reveal that there is a massive demand for advanced nursing practice professionals, including nurse practitioners. There are several factors driving the demand for NPs:

  • The US population is growing older, and as they age, they are demanding more health care services. All types of health care professionals are needed in greater numbers than ever.
  • Recent health care reform has provided health insurance to people who did not have it before. More previously uninsured patients are visiting health care centers, and many of them need to see NPs.
  • The cost of health care is rising as treatments and medications get more advanced and expensive. An NP can perform most of the tasks that a doctor can at a lower cost.
  • There is a strong push by governments, insurance companies and healthcare systems to cut costs while improving patient care. Using NPs is a very cost effective way to accomplish these goals.
  • States are changing laws allowing nurse practitioners to perform more procedures independent of doctors.

These five factors together mean that there will be a stunning 35% increase in job demand for nurse practitioners by 2024.

As demand is so high, the salary for nurse practitioners continues to soar as well. As of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the median salary for NPs was $98,100.

Note however that some NPs can make more because they can hold a full time job, and also do part time work as well. Salary.com also reports that the median salary for all NPs in the US is $101,027.

Lastly, NPs have the opportunity to greatly specialize in various types of patients or medical conditions (such as acute care, family, school, gerontology, emergency care, and diabetes management). By earning certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or ANCC, you can focus your NP career on the speciality that matters most to you.

Online BSN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Degree Options

If you want to earn your BSN to MSN NP degree online and you already have your RN designation, we recommend the program at Chamberlain University.

This program has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Chamberlain University offers you extremely convenient online classes, expert and supportive faculty, and rich internships and practicum experience that will prepare you for your career as an NP.

The BSN to MSN program can be completed in four to five years entirely online. You will be able to earn your BSN and MSN degrees together much faster than if you were taking the programs individually.

Your required courses for the nurse practitioner track are as follows:

  • Transitions in Professional Nursing
  • RN Information Systems in Healthcare
  • Statistics in Decision Making
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Foundational Concepts and Applications
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Informatics
  • Advanced Research Methods

You can complete all of your courses online; you are required however to visit the campus one time during an immersion weekend for one of your classes.

This is an asynchronous program. This means that the classes are archived and you log in and attend your classes two or three times per week.

Accreditation

Choosing a BSN to MSN online program is a major decision. You need to be certain that your program is going to teach you what you need to be a successful NP, and so you can become certified. We recommend that you verify that your program has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE.

This organization is recognized by the US Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, and is the respected authority for accrediting colleges of nursing.

Summary

Becoming a nurse practitioner is an extremely popular career choice today. With the ability to earn your degree online and continue to work, becoming an NP has never been more attractive. Plus, you can earn your BSN and MSN simultaneously, thus saving at least a year of time and expense.

If becoming an NP is your passion and you already have a nursing diploma or associate’s degree and your RN, this could be great choice for a very successful career in advanced practice nursing.

HealthGrad.com provides career, salary and program information for students to get ahead