Masters of Science in Nursing, Advanced Practice and Nursing Specialties

When you are ready to commit to advanced practice in the field of nursing you may choose from a wide assortment of Masters degree specializations. Where can you find a Masters in Nursing and how long will it take to complete? Can you continue working while you study?

About the MSN Program

The professional challenge to Masters degreed RNs:

  • Move patient care and the practice of nursing into a higher realm, be able to take up the staff as nurse expert, contribute to the field with research, advanced patient care, and leadership.
  • The Masters of Science in Nursing offers BSN RNs the opportunity to take their field to the next level. These graduate level degrees are typical fare for university nursing schools. RNs are challenged to become specialists in more granular fields of nursing, such as Leadership/Administration, Anesthesia, Midwifery, Case Management, Public Health, and more. MSN degree programs are noted for engaging serious students in interdisciplinary study and practice that marks the line in the sand between undergraduate nursing and graduate or advanced study.

Where to Study Your MSN

University nursing schools specialize in the MSN, in fact some do not even offer the undergraduate programs. Shop around—your options for flexible study models increase exponentially at this level. You’ll quickly discover online programs and campus-based programs. The only limitation is your imagination when it comes to putting together a challenging and innovative advanced practice degree plan.

Online MSN degree programs have become common. How can you study nursing online? Many Masters level degree programs are more didactic than they are practice-related. Exception is the Masters of Science in Nursing Anesthesia, which requires a rigorous amount of ultra-specialized clinical work. But most MSN degrees can be adequately delivered online. The advantage is the convenience to study on your own schedule, following virtually the same curriculum as on-campus students. You can continue working, caring for your family, AND still carve away at your MSN degree.

MSN Curriculum

Depending upon which type of Masters degree and specialization you choose the time to finish the degree could be one to two years and require you complete between 35 and 70 credits.

The core curriculum of most Masters of Science in Nursing degrees includes the following courses:

  • Advanced nursing theory
  • Evidence-based research
  • Ethics
  • End of life care
  • Informatics
  • Issues in nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • and more depending upon the program

Specialties and Concentrations

When you pursue an MSN degree you will usually also choose a specialty in which to focus the final part of your program study. Most university programs offer a few of these specialties or concentrations. Common specializations include:

Joint Nursing Masters Degrees

Universities are increasingly bundling together the nursing MSN with another Masters degree that dovetails nicely. For example, RNs looking to move their career into management might instead opt for the popular MSN/MBA degree program, which stacks MBA curriculum on top of the Masters in Nursing coursework. Another common joint program is the MSN/MHA or Masters in Health Administration.

Explore Your Nursing Degree Options Today!