New England is a region known for its high quality of health care. There are over 925,000 people living in the state of Delaware that are served by the local nursing community. Whether you are currently working as a nurse or if you're looking for a way to use your non-nursing Bachelor's degree to enter the health care field, a Master's in Nursing degree may be the next step for you.
A Capstone Project submitted to the Nursing Department of Wesley College revealed that 14 percent of Delaware's RNs have their MSN, and advanced practice nurses make up six percent of practicing nurses in the state. Although the vacancy rate for all advanced practice nurses in Delaware is decreasing, there are still opportunities available, particularly for nurse practitioners, according to the Delaware Healthcare Association.
Many people who decide to earn an MSN nursing degree want to become nurse practitioners. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners notes that in Delaware, nurse practitioners have a slightly limited scope of practice. However, this still leaves you free to provide many valuable health care services to Delaware residents. As Delaware has a significant shortage of primary care providers, nurse practitioners may play a prominent role in this state.
A recent investigation in Delaware found that some nursing schools are not performing up to par. This may present a career opportunity for those that want to become nurse educators, since former students at these schools may be seeking a nursing education elsewhere. Other nursing schools in Delaware may be interested in hiring more nursing educators to help deal with the influx of new students.
Curriculum of Master's Programs in Delaware
Master's programs in nursing are science-based programs, so you should plan on completing many courses that are based in biology, pathology, and pharmacology. Because of this, you may need a substantial background in science to be accepted to this program. Schools often require students to have taken chemistry, human biology, and anatomy & physiology.
Program lengths vary throughout the state, so take your time looking into programs near you. If you attend school full-time, you may be able to earn a Master's degree in nursing in as little as two years. Part-time students generally graduate in three to four years. If you only have an Associate's degree in nursing, you should plan on spending more time in school. RN to MSN programs tend to take about four years of full-time study, since you must take Bachelor's-level and Master's-level courses.
Different nursing programs in Delaware offer different advanced nursing specialties. Options in Delaware include nursing leadership, clinical specialist, nurse practitioner, and nurse education. They range from 30 to 50 credits, depending on the clinical requirements of each program. Direct care programs often require about 600 hours of clinical work.
Some of the course you may take as an MSN student include Advanced Practice Nursing Roles, Nursing Theory and Research, and Advanced Pharmacology. After your first two semesters, you take classes that are specific to your specialty.
There may be a variety of nursing scholarships available to you as an MSN student. If you work for a health care organization, it's likely that your institution offers tuition assistance, tuition reimbursement, or scholarships. Christiana Care Health System offers nursing scholarships to current employees. If you are going into nurse anesthesia, you can also apply for scholarships through the Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists. They award the Ed Hyland Scholarship, AANA Student Scholarships, and the Angeline Solway Award. The Delaware Community Foundation is a local organization that awards scholarships to nursing students. If you plan on working with the aging population, consider the scholarships offered by the Delaware Valley Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association.
For more information on additional scholarship opportunities, check out the Delaware Nurses Association, Delaware Board of Nursing and the Advanced Practice Nurse Council of Delaware.
Career Opportunities for Master's prepared Nurses In Delaware
As you look to earn your MSN in Delaware, you may find that you have a wide variety of programs, and thus, career opportunities to choose from. Whether you are looking to enter leadership, business, education or research; or if you are planning a career as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, you will be prepared as a role model and mentor for other nurses.
You will likely find that your autonomy, responsibility and level of respect are elevated with a career that requires an advanced nursing degree. You may also find that that you have opportunities to work in several different settings, including academia, independent consulting, large scale health systems, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and private practice. The options are quite vast, which is why it is so important to choose the MSN program that will best meet your needs.
Earning a Master's degree in nursing may allow you to earn a considerably higher salary as well. According to O*Net, nurse midwives in this state earn an average of $59,300 per year. Nurse practitioners claim a median salary of $92,100 per year (O*Net, 2013). The average salary for nursing instructors is $74,700 per year (O*Net, 2013).
To learn more about Master's programs in Nursing, contact the nursing schools in Delaware that offer the programs you are interested in. Whether it is an RN to MSN program, an online Direct entry program, or a traditional MSN nursing program, you can find it here.
Programs to consider:
University of Delaware (Newark, DE). UD offers online and hybrid campus-based MSNs in such concentrations as adult and pediatric CNS and nurse practitioner programs.
Wilmington University (New Castle, DE). WU offers several nursing leadership MSNs in such focus areas as executive nursing, legal nurse consulting, and nursing education.