Direct Entry MSN

The Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) direct entry program is designed for non-nursing professionals who possess undergraduate degrees in other fields but wish to become nurses. The program essentially builds on the graduate’s previous educational background and provides an intense, specialized and accelerated nursing curriculum that is intended to meet the student’s career goals. MSN direct programs are best suited for individuals who fancy healthcare jobs but cannot afford the relatively high costs associated with enrolling in a school of medicine.


As earlier pointed out, direct entry MSN programs were specifically developed for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field other than nursing but intend to pursue a degree in nursing. The accelerated program enables them to become registered nurses after only one year of training. The nursing students then move into specialty fields of training in selected areas of advanced practice and are awarded a masters in nursing. Typically, direct entry level masters in MSN programs are completed within three years.

Direct MSN graduates tend to get employment in the healthcare industry as clinical nurse leaders (CNLs). A CNL is a relatively new role instituted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Basically, CNLs are nursing generalists educated at graduate level but are trained in providing care to patients. In essence, we can view them as coordinators and managers of patient care. Additionally, CNLs usually complement and assist the clinical nurse specialist, CNS- a nurse with advanced practice and experience in a specialty area.

Admission Criteria

In addition to the undergraduate degree, applicants must also have completed and attained a minimum of grade C in some prerequisite courses. These courses include human anatomy and physiology, statistics, behavioral sciences (for instance, sociology or psychology), chemistry or biology related courses. Some colleges also require official transcripts of all college work. Other requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate degree.

Program Highlights

The program builds upon the student’s previous education background by providing an intense and accelerated curriculum leading to a master degree in nursing. A typical curriculum of study for first year direct entry MSN students includes pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and nursing care skills training. After the first year, specialty training and course work are introduced in the areas of research methods, advanced health assessment, and nursing theory, and advanced pharmacology.

Advanced Practice Training

Upon completion, graduates are eligible to take appropriate certification exams administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or any other relevant body. After the Registered Nurse (RN) license training section of the curriculum is complete, nursing students are allowed to sit for the National Council on Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. After successfully passing the exam they are awarded the title RN and will continue their training in their preferred nursing specialty areas such as:

Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – Prepares and administers anesthesia to patients about to undergo surgery.

Nurse Practitioner (NP) - Tasked with providing care in a primary care setting, however they are also trained to diagnose diseases, order and interpret medical lab results, write medical histories and prescribe medication. Many tend to specialize in a particular area such as pediatric or adult health.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) - are considered to be an expert in a particular ailment condition such as postnatal or diabetes care. They generally act as consultants, researchers and educators in the Nursing field. Their specialized training allows them to diagnose ailments and also prescribe medications.

Nursing Midwife (CNM) – They are trained to provide complete health care services to new-borns and their mothers. CNMs are trained to deliver babies, diagnose, prescribe medications related to child birth, order laboratory testing, analyse lab results and perform physical assessments.

Other Benefits for Enrolling in a Direct MSN program

1. Career Freedom.

Most students who enroll for a direct MSN program are those seeking to switch careers and align their career paths in the lucrative health care industry. Some do it because they have not secured a meaningful job in their trained fields, while others are driven by sheer frustrations in their current careers. Getting a nursing degree as a second degree can unlock tremendous opportunities in your career, particular in occupations that require knowledge of health care such humanitarian organizations.

2. Better Pay

It is a widely accepted fact that nursing jobs pay much better when compared to other professions that require almost the same investment. Despite the recent increase in salary cuts and job losses in other economic sectors, the health care industry has continuously shown growth, leading to a surge in the demand for nurses and other health care practitioners. The MSN program also grants the individual an opportunity to offer freelance services to home patients and other communities like retirement homes at a substantial fee.

3. Health Care Industry Stability

The biggest challenges most people are facing in other industries are linked to dismal industry performance, leading to limited growth opportunities. This is the main reason why some people are opting to switch careers to industries that are experiencing growth and offer stability in the long run. The health care industry has been experiencing an upswing in its fortunes with increased demand for specialized workers. Most people intending to switch careers are betting on the health care industry as it offers avenues to absorb ‘career rebels.’ The direct entry MSN program is arguably one of them.



Nursing is a Growing Field that Isn’t Going Away any Time Soon.

A person looking to get into this career field has a litany of options and can chart out their path in a variety of ways. The key to getting into this career field is education. Regardless of where you start, there’s always room to climb up the educational ladder, which in turn leads to higher pay and more responsibility.

Seeking to Improve your Credentials?

If you’re an RN looking to further your career through education, obtaining a BSN is a good way to go. These programs are intended for registered nurses who have their Associate’s degree or certificate and are looking to further their education by getting a Bachelor’s degree in the field. For some, this is the next logical step. For others, it’s a career move that comes later in the process when weighing one’s options. Either way, seeking opportunities in the field through an RN to BSN program is something that should be strongly considered for the longevity of a person’s nursing career.

How does a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Help?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a type of four-year degree that a person can obtain to further their nursing career while adding depth to the foundation of knowledge already gained from previous nursing experience. This degree is offered by accredited schools, and can be earned after receiving an Associate’s Degree in nursing two years prior to finishing the entire degree program. The main focus for this degree is to add to the knowledge a nurse receives outside of typical nursing care. For instance, this degree would further bedside care knowledge to include courses that deal with the science, business and management of nursing. This type of degree is ideal for someone who wants to remain in the field in a more managerial capacity outside of just caring for patients. That type of career jump is comparable to a player becoming a coach later in their career, or a newspaper reporter eventually becoming an editor. Some people want to jump into other related fields, such as public health, and can only do so by receiving their BSN.

What is an RN to BSN Program?

This is essentially a program for registered nurses that allows them to receive their BSN while getting credit for previous coursework. While paces may vary, most people in RN to BSN programs can receive their degrees within one to two years. A positive about these programs is that most don’t have expiring courses, meaning you can take as long as you need to pass through the program. This differs from other fields, such as the MBA, which requires candidates to fulfill the requirements within a strict number of years or forfeit their chances of completing the degree. Most RN to BSN programs are tailored to the working person and offer full-time and part-time course loads and curriculums. This is benefical to current registered nurses who work full-time, because they don’t have to put off their nursing careers in the name of continuing their education.

How do I Enroll in an RN to BSN Program?

First of all, it’s important to do your research. Not all educational institutions are created equally, so you should do your due dilligence in making sure that the instution fits your goals and expectations. Any educational institution will allow you to see the course curriculum and get a feel for what the program has to offer. Make sure you compare not just prices, but the quality of education. Take a visit to the campus to see the nursing facilities that students have access to in order to see if it fits your vision for the next two years or more of your life.

Next, you’ll need to make sure that you can pay for your education. Fill out a financial aid form, also known as FAFSA, so that you can find out about your financial aid eligiblity. This must be done before you can apply for any loans, grants or scholarships. This form delegates your need for financing so that the government can allocate funds accordingly. There are a variety of grants and loans available to nursing students that you’ll likely qualify for automatically. You should take any grants and weigh the options of loans to make sure the interest rates and terms match the amount and type of debt that you’re willing to take on. Each and every year, scholarships goes unused simply because people don’t know about them. Look into the types of scholarships around and apply for any that fit with your situation.

Consider an Online Program

If you’re a person on the go and with a full-time job, you also might do well to consider an online RN to BSN degree program. This adds an element of convenience, which allows you to complete the bulk of your coursework from the comfort of your own home. The field will only grow, and there are now more ways than ever to receive the education needed to enter this career field.

Online Masters in Nursing

Most nurses hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which allows them to become RNs, or Registered Nurses. It usually takes four years to become an RN. If you choose to further your education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in nursing, then many specialized career opportunities will open up for you. However, graduate studies are demanding, and it is not always easy to fit them into your schedule. This is why many people are turning to online programs to pursue their postgraduate education in nursing.

How It Works

Students study the core curriculum of courses online. Whenever they have the time they can access case studies over the Internet and use them to learn evidence-based nursing practices and theory. The tests are usually done online as well. When it is time for clinical training then the students can go to a nearby facility that has been approved to provide clinical experiences. Many courses also offer online study groups with tutors and other students. Students sometimes choose one specialization or another, such as executive nursing, clinical nursing, nursing education, nursing informatics, or healthcare policy. The choice of specialization will affect the type and number of courses that are involved in earning the degree. The master’s degree in nursing can often be completed in as little as two years. However, as the purpose of an online degree program is to allow you the flexibility to fit it in to your current schedule, it might take you longer than this to acquire your degree.

While many online MSN programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission, this is not always the case. Some online programs allow in nurses with Associate degrees. Associate degree students have to do the study to get to the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, but the course is shorter than doing the bachelor’s and master’s degrees separately.

What It Does

With your online master’s degree in nursing, you will have a number of different jobs that you will be eligible for. The jobs you can do will depend on what type of nursing Master’s degree you get. There are many different specializations.

With an MSN in Nursing Administration, Leadership, or Management, you could become a nurse administrator and work in the administrative end of the nursing world, become the manager of a nursing facility, or perform other managerial functions such as working in healthcare finance.

You could also become a clinical nurse leader, with an MSN with a Clinical Nurse Leader specialty. You would study cutting edge nursing theory and technology, while coordinating patient care teams, creating care plans, and still working directly with patients.

If you choose to pursue an MSN in Nursing Education then you can become a nurse educator. In this career you might train new nurses directly, or provide additional training in new ideas and methods for existing nurses.

An MSN with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization will allow you to work with families to improve their health care, and make contributions to developing public health services. This job involves diagnosis and treatment, and also preventive medical practices.

An MSN in Nurse midwifery will make you a nurse midwife.

With a Nurse Practitioner MSN you can become a nurse practitioner, which will allow you to provide intensive on-on-one patient care. This job involves prevention and education as much as it does diagnosis and treatment.

Pursuing an MSN with a Clinical Nurse Specialist specialty will give you access to a field where you provide guidance on a larger scale for patients and their families as they move from one stage of the healthcare system to another. You will function as both advocate, consultant, and educator.

Getting an MSN in Nurse Informatics will give you a career in the IT end of the nursing world. You will work with a combination of nursing science, information science and computer science to collate, process, and analyze data to support nursing practices, education, and research.

Other Master’s specialties lead to careers in handling diabetes, mental health care, infection control, case management, and adult health. You will also have the option of pursuing further education and becoming a Doctor of Nursing Practice. A doctor of nursing practice often conducts research in the field of nursing. They might also manage other nurses or perform the job duties of other specialties, and work as a nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist.

What To Look For In An Online Master’s Course

Some brick and mortar universities offer online versions of their degree programs, including Master’s work in nursing. Some reputable universities that exist only online also offer it. Unfortunately, as with all online business, there are a number of unaccredited and worthless diploma mills out there as well. Do some homework on the online institutions that you are considering. Make sure that they are accredited. To be of value to your career, the institution must be accredited with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE. All potential employers will look to see if your degree was from an accredited course, so find out if employers in the field you are hoping to work in accept degrees from those institutions. Sometimes you will be able to find this out by reading reviews online. Other times you will need to call a sampling of the employers in your chosen field and ask them directly.