Accelerated BSN to NP programs are designed to be completed within three to four years depending on whether students enroll full or part-time. The main advantage of accelerated BSN to NP (Nurse Practitioner) programs is that they are “direct-entry” programs meaning that students will not need to reapply for admission to the masters in nursing program upon completion of undergraduate study. Students may begin taking graduate-level classes during the final term of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. While the BSN portion of the program must be completed on a full-time basis, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) phase may be completed on either a full or part-time schedule.
BSN to NP Program Prerequisites
The main prerequisite to begin graduate study is that students must graduate the BSN program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Other requirements include at least one year of clinical nurse experience, letters of recommendation, and personal goal statements. In most cases, an RN is exempted from taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
BSN to NP Program Curriculum
The curriculum of nurse practitioner master’s program provides a blend of intense academic study with substantive clinical training.
Core classes of BSN to NP programs include:
- Health Assessment and Care Planning
- Electronic patient Documentation (Nurse Informatics)
- Research Methods in Nursing
- Management Theory in Nursing
- Health Care Policy and Planning
- Pediatric and Adult Health
- Family Medicine
- Current Trends in Healthcare Technology
- Community Health /Public Nursing
- Advanced Clinical Nursing Practice
- Instructional Methodologies in Nursing
- Testing Assessment and Evaluation
- Professional Ethics for Nurses
Students in most nurse practitioner programs will specialize in a particular area of nursing practice, such as pediatric care, adult care, reproductive health, geriatrics and family medicine. Many BSN to NP programs engage students in research that will add to the published body of knowledge in the field. A masters degree will culminate in the preparation of a thesis or comprehensive examination. A thesis is a substantive study of research on a nursing topic and is prepared under the supervision of an advisory committee. A comprehensive examination (“comp”) is a test that either covers topics covered in classes taken as part of master’s study or based on a reading list provided by a faculty committee.
RN to MSN Program Costs
Just as entrance requirements vary among different schools, so do tuition costs. It is estimated that students who attend an in-state college or university will pay approximately $12,000 in tuition costs while out-of-state students will pay about $15,000. Students enrolling in private schools can expect total tuition costs to reach about $60,000. Keep in mind that these figures represent tuition costs alone and do not include the costs of textbooks, lab fees, supplies and Internet usage which can add several hundred dollars per semester to the tuition fee.
There are many types of financial aid programs available for nursing students, to include grants, scholarships and government loans. In addition, working nurses may be eligible to obtain tuition assistance from their employer. Employer-based tuition assistance programs are usually of a reciprocal nature with nurses signing an agreement to remain with the employer for a certain period of time following graduation (usually a minimum of two years). There are also loan forgiveness programs for those nurses who work in underserved areas for a certain number of years. When calculating full costs of attendance remember to account for books, supplies (e.g. uniforms), lab fees, commuting expenses, as well as Internet usage.
Master’s graduate degree prepared nurses are in tremendous demand in all areas of the country and have many career choices upon graduation. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the demand for master’s level nurses is expected to growth by about 30 percent through the year 2018. Part of this demand stems from the continuing aging of the population with its increased need for health services, along with the doctor shortage affecting all areas of the country. In many poorly served areas of the country, nurse practitioners take the place of doctors since NPs have now been provided with prescriptive authority in many states.
Nursing master degree level nurses typically earn some of the highest salaries in the nursing profession. As per Salary.com, the median salary for Nurse Practitioners in all areas is $89,899 with the lowest 10 percent of NPs earning a median salary of $77,431 and the highest 10 percent earning $103,825. The observed salary differential may be attributed to such factors as geographic location (urban areas tend to pay higher than rural), area of specialty and certifications. For example, an NP working in emergency, geriatric, or neonatal care tend to earn higher salaries than Nurse Practitioners working in other specialties.
BSN to NP Programs – Selected Reviews
University of Cincinnati – College of Nursing:
The University of Cincinnati offers MSN programs through the College of Nursing. The programs are accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). There are several programs available including the MSN-Nurse Midwifery program, the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program, the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Applicants must apply to the program and be accepted and must meet minimum prerequisites. Some programs are offered through an online program while others are offered on the campus location.
California State University:
California State University offers the NP program at several campus locations including Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Sacramento. The NP program is designed for advanced nursing students seeking a higher level of education. The Nursing Practitioner program allows students to focus on a desired area of specialty including family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, and other areas of focus. Choosing the NP program allows students to practice nursing alone or through hospitals, clinics, and health facilities. There are various campus locations where classes are offered. Additionally, students will also receive clinical studies.
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions:
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions offer a graduate degree program for Nurse Practitioners. Located in Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University offers nurse practitioner tracks in practitioner programs in family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, adult care nurse practitioner, adult psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and women’s health care nurse practitioner. The programs are designed for those nurses who wish to attain a high level of ability. Graduates of the NP program go on to work in many various areas of health including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and care facilities, as well as pharmacies and walk-in clinics.
Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System, offers a program of study for BSN to NP in the area of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. The program allows graduate students the ability to take the National Certification Center (NCC) National Certification Exam (NNP). The core concepts covered in the program include genetics, advanced diagnosis, embryology, neonatal pathophysiology, advanced treatment, and family care. The program is delivered using immersion sessions, internships, and practical experience. The core classes are offered through the Irvine campus location.
University of Missouri – Kansas City
The School of Nursing at the University of Missouri – Kansas City offers advanced nursing degrees including the BSN to NP program. There are two on-site tracks including Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). The curriculum includes both online and clinical course work that prepares nurses for the high level nurse practitioner position. Core concepts are covered as well as advanced courses in your particular specialty. The accredited programs prepare students for the nurse practitioner board exam in their area of specialty.
University of Massachusetts
The University of Massachusetts Medical School offers several pathways that allow students to attain their nurse practitioners degree. The graduate entry pathway is designed for students with a BSN degree to enter the NP program on a fast track. Other dual-focus programs are also available. There are various NP programs to choose from. The curriculum includes a combination of classroom and clinical lab classes along with some online learning. UM is located in Worcester, MA.