BSN to Nurse Practitioner: Education Options and Program Overviews
Master's degrees leading to a career as a nurse practitioner nearly always require applicants to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Central components of a nurse practitioner Master of Science in Nursing include advanced nursing practice, diagnostics, medical practice theory and pharmacology.
Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner
Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program to prepare to work as nurse practitioners serving as both primary and secondary healthcare providers. Most nurse practitioner master's degree candidates specialize in a particular field, such as adult care, family practice, pediatrics, women's health or geriatrics. Many MSN Nurse Practitioner programs facilitate student research that adds to the academic body of knowledge through experimentation and publishing. A Master of Science in Nursing typically culminates in either a thesis or a comprehensive exam. A thesis is a substantial work of original research overseen by an advisory committee, while a comprehensive exam is a test over a set of classes or a medical reading list, which is selected by the student and his or her advisory committee.
In addition to having a BSN, applicants to nurse practitioner MSN typically must be a registered nurse and meet a GPA requirement. Most programs require applicants to have at least one year of clinical experience. Letters of recommendation, personal statements and resumes are also given significant weight by most admissions committees.
Coursework in nursing practitioner master's degree programs combines rigorous academic work with hands-on, clinical learning. Pharmacology classes are often required because nurse practitioners can prescribe medication. Classes often vary according to specialty. Here are a few classes that might appear in the curriculum:
- Ethics and public policy in healthcare
- Health assessment
- Evaluation of common health problems
- Child and adolescent development
- Family practice methods
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rate for nursing professions will increase 22% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted that nurse practitioners will be in particularly high demand in under-served areas. Salary.com reported in June 2010 that half of nurse practitioners earned a base salary of $80,510-$94,174. Nurse practitioners in specialty care, emergency care and neonatal care reported higher salary ranges than nurse practitioners specializing in geriatric care in nursing homes.
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