RN to MSN Programs in Kansas

In 2012, the Council for Nursing Articulation in Kansas (C-NAK) released a report that stated several important facts:

  • Educational advancement of Kansas’s nurses is essential to meet the needs of the state’s evolving healthcare system
  • Educational advancement for Kansas’s nurses can be completed through RN to MSN programs
  • Kansas’s nursing programs will continue to develop new pathways and models to further the educational development of its nurses

The Council recognizes master’s-prepared nurses to be an integral part of Kansas’s healthcare workforce. They are expected to become even more important in the future since advanced practice nurses are seen as the solution to the shortage of primary care providers in the state.

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According to statistics released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in 2013 there were 697 students enrolled in MSN programs in Kansas, many of which were RNs returning to school for specialized RN-MSN programs. Most of these students were studying in an APRN area of specialization. Out of a nursing workforce of more than 47,000 in Kansas, just 8.2 percent were licensed APRNs.

The AACN report went on to show that, 652,350 Kansas residents live in areas identified by the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration as facing primary care shortages. Today, APRNs are working to stem the state’s primary-care shortfall, ameliorating a problem that is only projected to grow in the years ahead.

RN to MSN Programs in Kansas

In addition to seven colleges and universities in Kansas that offer MSN degrees, specialized and generalist RN to MSN programs are available online for nurses who want to maintain their current employment while earning an MSN.

Depending on the existing level of education, RN to BSN programs can be completed in as little as three semesters for full-time students.

  • Nursing diploma – 8-9 semesters (dual degree programs confer a BSN and MSN)
  • ADN – 7-8 semesters (dual degree programs confer a BSN and MSN)
  • BSN – 3-4 semesters

Campus locations can be found in the cities of:

  • Hays
  • Olathe
  • Wichita
  • Pittsburg
  • Kansas City – two locations
  • Topeka – two locations
  • Online programs that offer access to Kansas residents anywhere in the state

Specialized RN to MSN degrees are designed for different career pathways:

  • General MSN
  • MSN in Nursing Education
  • MSN in Nursing Informatics
  • MSN in Public Health Nursing
  • MSN in Organizational Leadership
  • MSN in Clinical Research Management
  • MSN in Healthcare Administration
  • MSN in specific areas of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN)
    • Nurse Midwifery
    • Nurse Practitioner – Adult, Gerontology, Family, Mental Health, Pediatric, and Acute Care
    • Nurse Anesthetist
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist – Family, Adult, Gerontology, and Adult Health and Illness

Nurses who are considering RN to MSN programs should be aware of the following typical admission requirements:

  • Current and unencumbered RN nursing license, either in Kansas or another state
  • Minimum GPA requirement
  • Liability insurance
  • Prior nursing experience
  • Completion of nursing prerequisites
  • Professional references
  • Criminal background check
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Curriculum and Structure of RN to MSN Programs

Nurses who are near the equivalent level of a BSN will typically begin their program with upper-level undergraduate coursework, while those with lesser degrees must first satisfy undergrad requirements at the bachelor’s level. Credits are typically distributed as follows:

  • 20 credits of upper-division undergraduate transitional courses
  • 25 semester credits in core graduate nursing courses
  • 15 semester credits in specialized graduate nursing courses

MSN programs in Kansas share a general repertoire of core courses, including:

  • Fundamentals and theoretical foundations of advanced nursing
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Emerging healthcare issues in nursing
  • Conducting advanced health assessments
  • Policy and politics of health care systems
  • Nursing and health care research
  • Environmental health and epidemiology
  • Issues and roles of health care professionals

If nurses are pursuing a specialized MSN program they will typically take one to two semesters of courses that focus on their area of concentration. These can be classes like:

  • Foundations of nursing education
  • Nursing leadership and management
  • Advance public health nursing topics
  • Evidence-based clinical research and statistics
  • Fundamentals of nursing administration
  • Courses that focus on APRN areas of expertise:
    • Midwifery
    • Anesthetists
    • Clinical nursing specializations
    • Nurse practitioner specializations

Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) Licensure in Kansas

Many nurses pursue an MSN degree because it fulfills the APRN education eligibility requirement. The Kansas Board of Nursing recognizes four main categories of APRN practice that may also involve additional specialization in a particular area of specialty and patient population focus:

  • Nurse Midwife
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Practitioner

The first step toward licensure is to earn national certification specific to the role, specialty and patient population focus by meeting requirements set by these certifying bodies:

Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)

Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) – American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)National Certification Corporation (NCC)Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) – American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) – American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN)American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)National Certification Corporation (NCC)Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)

To become an APRN, licensure candidates will need to meet these requirements:

    • Hold a current Kansas RN license
    • Meet either of the APRN education requirements:
      • Hold an MSN in one of the four general APRN categories
      • Complete a post-baccalaureate nursing program that meets Board approval requirements in a specific sub-category of APRN practice

Career Prospects for Nurses with an MSN in Kansas

As indicated by the many different categories of MSN degrees available in Kansas, holding one of these advanced education credentials will prepare nurses for careers in fields like:

  • Nursing education at a college or university
  • Nursing research, statistical analysis, and quality control
  • Nursing and public health leadership
  • Nursing administrative positions
  • Nursing clinical director positions
  • APRN fields of employment

A recent survey of job vacancies for positions across Kansas was completed in March of 2015. The results reveal some examples of the potential employment options for nurses who have completed an RN to MSN program:

  • NCLEX-RN Instructor
  • Nursing Instructor at a local community college in Pratt
  • Campus Director of Nursing at a college in Wichita
  • Assistant Chief Nurse Officer at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg
  • ICU Nursing Director at a hospital in Wichita
  • RN Case Manager at Overland Park Regional Medical Center
  • Director of Behavioral Health Nursing at a hospital in Wichita
  • Technology Coordinator at a health care facility in Topeka

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