According to the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing Report (2011), more advanced practice nurses will be needed nationally in the near future in every sector of healthcare, and the need will be most acute in rural areas. This is no exception in North Dakota. With its thriving economy and low unemployment, North Dakota has put out the welcome mat for many new workers in recent years. The state is ready to benefit from nurses like you, who want to take their training to a new level by earning a master's degree in nursing.
To find the degree route you want, from online RN to MSN programs to campus based BSN to MSN nursing programs, have a look below. We have compiled a list of all ND MSN options, and we encourage you to request information from as many as you like.
Working with your MSN in North Dakota
The majority of MSN-prepared nurses in North Dakota work in advanced practice specialties. One of the most popular of those is the nurse practitioner specialty. With the advent of healthcare reform, primary care providers are desperately needed in shortage areas, and about 81 percent of this rural state's 53 counties are designated as health professional shortage areas according to the North Dakota Center for Nursing and the HRSA (2012).
Nearly 1100 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) are licensed in North Dakota. More than half of them – 544 nurses – are practicing as family nurse practitioners in the state, with smaller numbers in women's health care, gerontology, neonatal, and psychiatric fields. To attain licensed APRN status in the state, you need the appropriate graduate training and you must pass a national certification examination. If you want to prescribe medicine as a nurse practitioner in the state, you have to meet additional course requirements.
Most career paths for nursing master's students have promising job forecasts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife jobs are projected to grow at a much faster rate than average – about 31 percent through 2022.
Any of these career choices can bring you a good paycheck in the state. A 2013 study by the North Dakota Center for Nursing found nursing salaries were continuing to increase, and some rural nurses received higher pay than those in urban settings.
According to the BLS, a certified nurse anesthetist in North Dakota made an average salary of $171,630 in 2013, while nurse midwives earned an annual average of $107,220. Nurse practitioners made a yearly wage of $87,500, and nursing instructors earned $68,670 on average that year.
Getting your MSN in Nursing in North Dakota
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2012) reports that more MSN-prepared nurses will be needed to fill non-clinical roles such as educators, researchers, and policy makers. There is a particular need for nurse educators in North Dakota. According to the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health (2013), about 62 percent of nurse educators in the state have MSNs and most teach in LPN and ADN programs.
MSN programs in North Dakota are enhancing their distance learning options to make it easier for nurses to get their degrees and enter the workforce. You can find online RN to MSN programs as well as traditional routes. If you've already been back to school since becoming a nurse, you may find that transitioning from BSN to MSN nursing programs is a natural sequence.
Three North Dakota colleges and universities in the state offer a master's level nursing education – University of North Dakota, University of Mary, and North Dakota State University. There are also several online options to earn your MSN in nursing. These degrees can launch your career as a nurse educator, nurse administrator, nurse practitioner, or nurse anesthetist. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, about 470 students were pursuing nursing master's degrees in North Dakota in 2013.
At the University of Mary, you can select a degree path leading to careers in nursing administration, nursing education, or family nurse practitioner. In addition to the traditional master's of science degrees, the university also offers a dual degree – a Master of Science and Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration.
Some course work is common to several of these degree areas, including classes in health care law and policy and professional roles in advanced nursing. However, each specialty area lists its own required classes and varying numbers of clinical or practicum hours. An online format is available in many of the educational tracks.
If you are interested in becoming a nurse educator, North Dakota State's Department of Nursing has a Master of Science degree for you. The degree field is in high demand because a faculty shortage has caused many applicants to be turned away from the state's nursing programs in recent years.
As a nursing education student, you will take core courses in areas such as advanced nursing research and healthcare delivery systems, financing, and informatics. You also will be required to take specialized instruction in areas like pathophysiology and advanced health assessment. A dissertation, clinical dissertation, or a thesis may also be required for the program. If you want to study to become a nurse practitioner through North Dakota State, you will have to take additional credit hours to earn a clinical doctorate degree.
North Dakota has a Nursing Education Loan Program for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students. You can repay loans obtained through the program by working as a nurse in the state at a rate of one dollar for each hour of employment. Nursing faculty members also can receive loan credit for work as a full-time employee. Check out the North Dakota Board of Nursing, North Dakota Nurses Association, and the North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association for more information.
Programs to consider:
North Dakota State University (Fargo, ND). NDSU is ranked among the top universities in the U.S. by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. Among their MSN offerings is a nurse educator track that follows guidelines from national organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND). MSN students can choose from a number of advanced practice specialties and a nurse educator track. UND offers a thesis or non-thesis option.