Nebraska, a rural state, has a growing elderly and minority population, requiring a highly skilled and educated nursing workforce. Patient centered care is provided by physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals as they collaborate in practice and education across all the healthcare settings. By choosing to earn a Master's degree, you can not only open the door to new opportunities, you also aid in fostering higher standards in the practice of nursing. This can give you a sense of satisfaction and the respect of your peers. You may also receive advanced career opportunities and a higher salary due to your advanced degree as, making it an enticing option.
Data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA, 2012) show that only about five percent of Nebraska's nurses are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). This clearly shows that a higher number of master's prepared nurses are needed to bolster Nebraska nursing.
Nebraska has five American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) member schools as of 2013 with 670 students enrolled in their master's program. Unfortunately, 920 qualified applicants were turned away primarily due to a faculty shortage, which means there are numerous positions for Nebraska nursing educators. Earning your MSN can position you as a nursing instructor in a variety of programs, and may help to get more nurses into the academic pipeline.
Curriculum of Master's in Nursing Programs in Nebraska
There are several accredited Masters in nursing programs in Nebraska, both on campus and online. Admission criteria for accredited universities always includes official transcripts, typically requires a GPA of at least 3.0, a written statement of goals, your current resume and personal references.
There are several core nursing courses for advanced degrees that are similar across all MSN programs. These may include:
- Introduction to Global Health Care
- Nursing Scholarship
- Leadership in Nursing
- Health Systems Innovation and Improvement
- Pathophysiology for Advance Practice Nurses
- Applied Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses
- Advanced Assessment Across the Lifespan
- Health Promotion for Populations
- Research and Clinical Nursing
The balance of the required educational courses and the clinical hours will depend on your particular program. Nurse executive programs would differ greatly from those of a nurse anesthetists or nurse practitioner.
The University of Nebraska, one of the largest nursing schools in Nebraska, has the following graduate programs available:
- Nurse practitioner
- Nurse educator training
- Nurse Leader/executive
- Path to doctoral researcher/educator/administrator
Specialty track choices also include:
- Adult-Gerontology CNS / Acute Care NP / Primary Care NP
- Family NP
- Nurse Leader/Executive
- Pediatrics Primary Care NP
- Psychiatric Mental Health NP
- Women's Health NP
Each of the specialty tracks can be combined with nurse educator training, which allows you to acquire credentials in your care specialty and as an educator at the same time. Synchronous and asynchronous classes are available to assist you in planning your studies around your work and family schedule. The clinical requirements are completed in your community using local preceptors. You may take up to five years to complete your MSN, or you may complete it more quickly if you attend full time.
This university is recommended by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, The Institute of Medicine, the Carnegie Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They have distance learning campus locations in several Nebraska cities, increasing access to rural nurses who want to earn advanced degrees.
If you are a Nebraska Nurse who is interested becoming a leader within your profession, Nebraska Methodists College's Executive Master's degree program may be worth looking into. It can typically be completed online in less than 36 months, with each course lasting for five weeks. They have a Nurse Educator and a Nurse Executive MSN programs, which consists of completing 36 credit hours for your MSN.
O*Net states the median salary for nurse executives in 2013 is $90,940 annually.
Once you have your MSN degree you should be prepared to sit for the credential test administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which may assist you in procuring desirable jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the nurse practitioner's mean annual salary is $95,070.
If you need financial assistance you will want to fill out the FAFSA at the Financial Aid office of your nursing school. This is a federal program for low income students. The Nebraska Methodist College has a Federal Work Study program where students work 10 hours weekly and most positions are on campus. There is also a Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program designed for nurses to care for underserved people in hospitals and clinics. If a nurse works in one of these facilities for two years, 60 percent of their student loans will be paid.
The state of Nebraska also has several scholarships for nurses. The qualifying criteria is based on need, educational program and some programs have specific criteria. For instance, there is a grant program for you if you are a single mother.
With healthcare reform initiatives creating a demand for primary care, many Nebraska counties will need the services of nurse practitioners among other specialties. With the present and future demand for advanced practice nursing professionals as well as nurse educators in the state, getting your MSN now may be a good idea. The Nebraska legislature created the Nebraska Center for Nursing in 2000 to reduce the state's nursing shortage. They involved several associations, foundations and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to provide nursing scholarship opportunities .
Additionally, they increased nursing recruitment, worked to retain nurses, increased the enrollment capacity of nursing schools in Nebraska, and they sustained the work of the Nebraska Center for Nursing. The long-term expected outcome is expected between 2010 and 2015. Opportunities are abundant for nurses in Nebraska, particularly for those with an advanced degree.
For more information, submit a request for program materials from the Nebraska nursing schools that you are interested in. You might also want to check out the Nebraska Nurses Association, Nebraska Board of Nursing, and Nebraska Nurse Practitioners.
Programs to consider:
Creighton University (Omaha, NE). CU offers a variety of advanced practice tracks, as well as some unique programs such as clinical systems administration and advanced public health/global health nursing.
Nebraska Wesleyan University (Lincoln, NE). NWU offers both an RN to MSN and a BSN to MSN route to specialties such as education, administration, management, or entrepreneurship.