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.