The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (ACCN) reported that as of 2013, there were 1,500 nursing students enrolled in master’s degree programs in Connecticut, of which 985 were studying to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).
The AACN also reported that there were 60,263 registered nurses (RNs) and 3,841 APRNs licensed by the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing as of 2013. About 6 percent of all Connecticut nurses are licensed APRNs.
The Connecticut League for Nursing found that RNs with master’s degrees accounted for almost 11 percent of all RNs working in Connecticut. The American Association of Community Colleges recognizes that increasing the number of MSN-educated RNs through RN to MSN programs is vital for providing America with a better-educated workforce.
RNs in Connecticut with a Master of Science in Nursing serve as APRNs, as well as nurse leaders, nurse educators, and nurse administrators. Thanks to the development of the RN to MSN program, today’s RNs have more options than ever to earn their MSN and become a clinical or administrative leader in Connecticut.
RN to MSN Programs in Connecticut
There are currently two RN to MSN programs in Connecticut, one of which is offered as an online program. Connecticut’s RNs have many more educational choices for earning their MSN, as a large number of online institutions now offer RN to MSN programs.
Aimed specifically at the practicing nursing professional with a current RN license and a pre-licensure nursing diploma, ADN or BSN, RN to MSN programs allow students to transfer many of their undergraduate courses, allowing students to complete the program in just 2 to 3 years.
Most RNs are able to transfer about 30 semester credits, and RNs who are able to demonstrate the competencies consistent with the state articulation agreement may be able to transfer an additional 30 credits.
Candidates for RN to MSN programs in Connecticut must possess a current RN license. After completing the requirements for the BSN degree, students must apply to the MSN program; entrance into the MSN portion of the program often requires a minimum GPA in their undergraduate coursework.
Other admission requirements may include RN experience and the submission of an essay or resume.
RN to MSN Program Content Outline
Coursework in an RN to MSN program can be divided into four sections:
- Meeting university general education requirements
- Meeting school of nursing core requirements
- Meeting graduate requirements
- Meeting clinical specialty requirements
Depending on the student’s pre-licensure education, some or all of the general education and nursing core requirements may be transferred.
University General Education Requirements:
- Foreign language
- Arts & humanities
- Social sciences
- Science & technology
School of Nursing Core Requirements:
- Principles of biology
- Chemical principles and applications
- Individual and family development
- Human genetics
- Human physiology and anatomy
- General psychology
- Social sciences
- Nursing research
- Public health nursing
- Nursing leadership
- Statistical methods in nursing
- Nursing capstone
Students who have successfully completed all undergraduate coursework must complete courses in their specialty track.
MSN Specialty Tracks
In addition to locating an RN to MSN program that meets their career objectives and professional goals, candidates must seek a program that offers a specialty or track in their desired area of nursing. Most RN to MSN programs offer two or more possible tracks, which may include:
- Nurse educator
- Clinical nurse leader/specialist
- Health services administration (leadership and management)
- Nurse practitioner
- Nurse midwife
- Nurse anesthetist
- Community health
- Ambulatory care
APRN Certification in Connecticut
The Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing recognizes four APRN roles:
- Certified nurse midwife
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse anesthetist
- Nurse practitioner
Graduates of RN to MSN programs who have focused their degree on an APRN role may apply for state certification. All eligible candidates must first take and pass a Board of Examiners-recognized national certification examination through one of the following certifying bodies:
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
- American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
- American Nurses Credentialing Center
- National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties
- Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
Once candidates pass the appropriate examination that corresponds to their APRN role, they may apply for state certification. Minimum requirements for certification include:
- Possessing a valid and unencumbered RN license in Connecticut
- Completing 30 hours of education in pharmacology for advanced nursing practice
- Showing proof of national certification
- Showing proof of the completion of an MSN program
- Completing, signing, and notarizing the APRN License Application
Careers for MSN-Educated Nurses in Connecticut
Career opportunities for MSN-prepared RNs in Connecticut are often plentiful, thanks to the wide array of jobs in leadership, management, administration, and clinical practice exclusively available to MSN-educated nurses.
Recent (March 2015) job postings in Connecticut aimed at APRNs and other MSN-educated nurses include:
- Nursing faculty, Fairfield
- Advanced nurse practitioner, East Windsor
- Nurse practitioner, Granby
- Director of nursing, Litchfield County
- Chief nursing officer, Hartford
- Clinical (CNM, APRN, NP), Norwich
- Certified nurse midwife, Hartford
- Head division of hematology/oncology, Hartford