The Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing (2013) recognizes that a highly educated nursing workforce is crucial for quality healthcare for Massachusetts residents. MSN programs in the state are geared toward advanced practice nursing, leadership roles, and educator roles.
The number of Massachusetts residents in the healthcare system has increased dramatically, and there are not enough primary care physicians to meet the need, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (2012). Nurse Practitioners can help to bridge the gap between the need for providers and access to care, and you can join this group of nursing professionals by getting your Master's in Nursing in MA.
Take some time to investigate your options for getting your MSN in Massachusetts today by contacting the schools listed on our site. Information is free, and can help you choose the nursing program that best meets your career goals and educational needs.
Like the rest of the nation, a nursing faculty shortage exists in the state, with state nursing officials taking steps to identify why the vacancies exist and how to correct them (MASS Board of Nursing, 2010). Because of state regulations stipulating that nursing faculty hold at least a master's degree, the demand for nurse educators in these programs is on the rise as well.
Master's in Nursing Programs in Massachusetts
As a registered nurse (RN) in MA, there is more than one option available for you to obtain your Master's in Nursing degree. Continuing your nursing education is the best way to advance your career, whether you desire more responsibility, are looking to specialize in a certain area, or if you want to further the quality of patient care. Whether you are seeking a career in nursing education, wanting to get into the administration side of healthcare or plan to work in direct patient care as an advanced practitioner, there are several options for getting a Master's Degree in Nursing in MA.
As technology moves to the forefront, online classes have become available at campuses across the country. There are many online RN to MSN and traditional Master of Science in nursing programs in Massachusetts. These are often cost-effective programs that offer flexibility, allowing many nurses to continue working while going to school.
If you are taking an online MSN program part-time, it would generally take around 4 years to complete. Full time study can speed your time to getting your degree, regardless of whether you attend an online Master's in Nursing program or one of the campus based nursing programs in MA. While online programs can be more efficient for some nurses, keep in mind that not all course requirements can be completed online. As with an undergraduate degree, clinical hours in an approved health facility must be completed to earn your Master's in Nursing. Many nursing schools have developed strategic partnerships with clinical sites, so if you currently work at an approved hospital or other health organization, you may be able to complete your clinical hours there.
Holding a Master's degree in nursing prepares you for a specialized position such as a Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Certified Nurse, among other positions. Within the last 10 years, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has voted to change the level of degree to become an advanced practice registered nurse. However, most states do not have current legislation that mandates that you must have a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree to become an advanced practice registered nurse, including Massachusetts. As of 2014, a Master's Degree is still what is recognized and sufficient to obtain a position in advanced practice nursing.
Regardless of your chosen specialty or MSN route, you must complete the required core classes such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, ethics, research, education and theory. After you complete your core classes, you will then move on to study courses that pertain to your specialized field of study.
Working as a Master's Prepared Nurse in Massachusetts
The opportunities that can open up to you after earning your Master's of Science in Nursing can be quite rewarding. Additionally, many employers in the healthcare industry are often supporters of continuing education, as you end up benefiting them by improving outcomes and improving care. Often times, you may be able to receive partial or even full tuition assistance as well.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics' Occupational Handbook, the median salary of NPs, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Anesthetists is $96,460 per year (2012). Advanced practice nurses can work in a variety of places such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and physicians' offices. You may also be able to open your own Nurse Managed Clinic, depending on your qualifications and drive for autonomy.
Nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing degree are in significant demand, from roles as mid-level providers to those in nursing education (AACN, 2011). Due to a shortage of nursing educators, many campuses are forced to regularly deny entrance to qualified nursing applicants. While the majority of the nursing faculty shortage is seen at the doctorate prepared level, nurses with a Master's degree are qualified to teach in many areas, making the MSN a viable route to an entry level position in nursing education (AACN, 2015). Several nursing schools employ APRNs as assistant professors or clinical instructors, making a specialty track MSN a viable option for either independent practice or a role teaching other nurses.
Regardless of the career track you choose to explore with your Master's degree in nursing, your choice to expand your education could positively affect future generations of nurses, as well as the patients they serve.
If you are ready to advance your career with a Master's of Science degree in nursing, there is no need to delay. You can find all of the options for earning your Master's degree in Nursing in MA on this page and request information from the schools that interest you most.
Check out the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing, and the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners for additional resources.
Programs to consider:
Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA). BC offers flexible routes of entry for the MSN. Among degree offerings are both adult and pediatric NP specialties.
MGH Institute of Health Professions (Boston, MA). MGH Institute of Health Professions was founded by the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital. Both traditional and direct-entry MSNs are offered.