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.