RN to MSN Programs in Washington, D.C.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in 2013 there were 1,429 students enrolled in graduate-level nursing programs in Washington D.C., 1,238 of which were studying to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).

According to recent statistics, the District of Columbia Department of Health, Board of Nursing licenses 23,119 registered nurses (RNs) and 1,603 APRNs.

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Similar to other jurisdictions in the U.S., Washington D.C. is facing an impending nursing shortage, due to increases in population and an aging nursing workforce. This includes masters-prepared registered nurses (RNs), who are needed to fulfill advanced practice nursing jobs (nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists), as well as positions in education, administration, and leadership.

The number of RN to MSN programs, which serve as a fast educational track for practicing RNs, have increased throughout the U.S. in recent years. The American Association of Community Colleges reports that there are currently about 166 of these programs in the U.S.

Because no RN to MSN programs in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area currently exist, online RN to MSN programs play a particularly important role for nurses working and living in our nation’s capital. Even campus-based RN to MSN programs have begun offering online platforms to accommodate today’s busy nursing professionals.

RN to MSN Programs in Washington, D.C.

RN to MSN programs are ideal for currently licensed RNs who want to complete both their BSN and MSN in a combined, streamlined format. These programs, which take into account a nurse’s pre-licensure education (nursing diploma or Associate Degree in Nursing – ADN) and often times their RN experience, are shorter in length than traditional BSN and MSN programs.

Accounting for the transfer of general education and prerequisite courses, most RN to MSN programs in Washington D.C. take just 2 to 3 years to complete.

Depending on the institution, students may specialize their MSN degree in a specific area of nursing, such as:

  • Advanced practice nursing

    • Nurse midwife
    • Clinical nurse specialist
    • Nurse anesthetist
    • Nurse practitioner
  • Nursing education
  • Nursing administration/leadership

Students studying to become an APRN must choose an area of emphasis, with some institutions offering one or more APRN specialties and population areas.

RN to MSN Program Admission Requirements

To be eligible to enter an RN to MSN program in Washington, D.C., candidates must be currently licensed RNs. Many programs require candidates to also possess at least one year of RN experience and to submit a current resume, professional references, and even a written essay.

These programs allow about 30 transferred credits, provided candidates have met minimum GPA requirements. Before admission into the graduate portion of the RN to MSN program can take place, students must also ensure they have maintained a minimum GPA in their undergraduate coursework.

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RN to MSN Program Curriculum Requirements

RN to MSN programs presume that students have already completed their liberal arts education course requirements, which usually includes about 30 credits:

Core Curriculum Requirements

  • Humanities
  • Social sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra
  • Communications

BSN Requirements

Undergraduate requirements include:

  • Healthcare in context
  • Nursing theory
  • Community wellness
  • Ethics in healthcare
  • Nursing research
  • Complex nursing systems
  • Basic statistics

MSN Requirements

Graduate coursework requirements for an RN to MSN include both core requirements and nursing specialization-specific requirements. Core requirements typically include:

  • Complex nursing systems
  • Bioethics for the healthcare professional
  • Nursing theory
  • Nursing research
  • Advanced health assessment

Most nursing specializations in an RN to MSN program require the completion of a thesis or nursing practicum.

How to Become an APRN in Washington, D.C.

The Board of Nursing recognizes the following APRN specialty certifications:

  • Nurse midwife (CNM)
  • Nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse practitioner (NP)

Applying for National Certification

Graduates of an RN to MSN program in Washington D.C. who focused their MSN degree on an APRN specialty must apply for certification with the Board before they can begin practicing as an APRN in Washington D.C.

Before applying to the Board for certification, however, candidates must first become nationally certified through a Board-approved national certifying body. The Board recognizes the following certification bodies and certifications:

Applying for APRN Certification

Candidates who have earned national certification in their APRN specialty and population focus and who possess a current and unencumbered RN license in Washington D.C. are eligible to apply for certification through the Board of Nursing by completing an APRN Application Package.

Proof of licensure status and APRN national certification must be supplied to the Board before an APRN certification can be issued.

RN Jobs for MSN-Prepared Nurses in Washington D.C.

Graduate-prepared RNs in Washington D.C. are eligible for a wide array of leadership and clinical nursing positions. Recent job postings for D.C.-area MSN-educated RNs reveal the many opportunities available to these nursing professionals (March 2015):

  • Nurse practitioner, occupational health
  • Nurse practitioner, pulmonary and sleep
  • Nurse practitioner, hospitalist
  • Critical care nurse specialist/nurse educator
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner
  • Quality nurse specialist/clinical manager

Some of Washington D.C.’s top hospitals where advanced practice and leadership nursing jobs are abundant include:

  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center
  • MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital
  • George Washington University Hospital
  • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

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