As the nation's capital, Washington D.C. is an important area for nursing legislation, policy, and education. Whether you are interested in working in advanced practice, teaching the next generation of nurses as a nurse educator, or working in nursing administration, nursing schools in DC may be able to help you reach your goals. Request information from the schools on this page to learn more about your master's degree options.
Many MSN nursing students decide to go into advanced practice, which involves taking on a bigger role in the care of patients. Currently, only 6 percent of physicians in the Washington D.C. area are primary care physicians, creating a significant shortage in primary care options for residents. Since nurse practitioners have full freedom to practice in this area, you may be able to address the care shortage with an MSN degree.
What to Expect from Master's in Nursing Schools in D.C.
In 2013, CareFirst invested $1 million in nursing education programs in the Washington D.C. areas to encourage students to go into nurse education and instruction, along with other Advanced Practice nursing careers.
There are several MSN degree programs in Washington D.C. You may be able to specialize in fields like research, nurse practitioner, nursing leadership, and nurse education. These programs, which range from two to four years in duration, require you to complete 30 to 50 credits. Since programs like nurse anesthesia, nurse midwifery, and nurse practitioner tend to have more extensive clinical requirements, they often last longer than other types of advanced nursing programs.
If you do not yet have a Bachelor's degree in nursing, there may still be an MSN option for you. RN to MSN programs are specifically designed for nurses that currently have Associate's degrees. You can earn both a BSN and an MSN at the same time while attending this type of educational program. Generally, these degrees require at least four years of study.
It's important to address the learning outcomes of your nursing school. These learning goals outline what you are supposed to take from your education and how you are supposed to grow. By the time you graduate, you should have developed strong leadership skills that allow you to use your advanced nursing experience. You must also have strong communication skills that allow you to work with other medical professionals and patients. Finally, you must know what steps to take to influence positive change and growth in the field of nursing.
Regardless of your nursing specialty, there are many courses that you may have to take in nursing programs in D.C. Commonly required classes include Concepts in Population Health, Research Methods for Nursing Professionals, Advanced Pathophysiology and Physiology, and Nursing Leadership.
You can find scholarships through a variety of sources in Washington D.C. There may be nationally-offered scholarships that you can apply for, grants offered by Washington D.C. organizations, or school-specific scholarships. For example, the George Washington University awards the CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield Scholarship, the Rural/Underserved Initiative Scholarship, and the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program. The Black Nurses Association of Greater Washington D.C. Area awards scholarships to student nurses. You may be able to earn scholarships through the Zonta Club of Washington, D.C..
Careers for Master's Prepared Nurses in D.C.
The District of Columbia offers many opportunities for nurses with MSNs. The presence of several large medical centers provides many employment opportunities for advanced practice nurses. Although DC has more nurse practitioners than the national average, shortages still exist according to the District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA).
The D.C. area's nursing shortage may lead to more career options for students that want to go into nurse education. The Department of Employment Services notes that registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are two of the most in-demand positions in Washington D.C. As nursing schools attempt to meet this demand, they may hire more nurse educators to teach ADN and BSN students.
There is good news for aspiring Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), as well. The DCHA reports that the hospital occupancy rate, which is already higher than the national average, is on the rise as are the number of ambulatory surgeries. Ample opportunities also abound for nurse researchers because of the National Institutes of Health, which has a substantial number of offices in the DC metro area.
Good sources of additional information about careers, funding and the nursing profession in general can be found at the District of Columbia Board of Nursing and the District of Columbia Nurses Association.
Take some time to request information from the schools you are interested in to begin. Once you know more about the nursing graduate programs in D.C., you will be able to choose a route that works best for you.
Programs to consider:
George Washington University (Washington, DC). GWU offers both campus-based and online MSN programs with focus areas such as advanced practice, health care quality, and research.
Georgetown University (Washington, DC and online MSN programs). GU's campus-based MSN offers several advanced practice specialties including nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and a nurse midwife program. Their distance learning program offers a family NP program as well as a concentration in education.