RN to MSN Programs in Maine

There is a great need for nurses with advanced credentials in Maine. As of 2013, just eight percent of Maine’s RNs were licensed as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). That year, there were 888 students enrolled in MSN programs in Maine, 495 of which were studying to become nurse practitioners (NPs).

Over half of Maine’s population resides in areas designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas, or areas in which primary care providers are scarce. Recently, the Maine Nurse Practitioners Association has stated that the scope of practice of an NP is between 50 and 70 percent similar to that of a physician, allowing them to work as credentialed primary care providers in managed care organizations.

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The Maine Association of the American College of Nurse Midwives notes that in 2004, Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) performed almost 20 percent of all births in the state. These APRNs usually work in birthing centers and hospitals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2013 CNMs in Maine earned an average annual salary of $93,200.

In addition to specialized RN to MSN degree programs designed to prepare RNs for APRN licensure, specialized RN-MSN bridge programs are also available to those interested in leadership, management, education, research and more. In 2013, federal Title VIII Grants were awarded to nursing schools in Maine to promote RN to MSN programs, particularly in the areas of nurse anesthetist traineeships, nurse education, practice, quality and retention, and advanced nursing education grants.

Maine’s RN to MSN Bridge Programs

The Maine Board of Nursing strictly regulates education for RNs, even at the graduate level. It maintains a list of approved RN to MSN programs on its website. Currently, only two schools in the state offer Board-approved RN to MSN programs, but other schools listed on the site offer straight MSN degrees and post-master’s certification for students who might not currently be in the nursing field, but are interested in a career change to nursing.

Admission Requirements

Prerequisites for RN to MSN programs in Maine vary depending upon the school and the student, but usually include:

  • Possession of a minimum of an ADN degree
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate coursework
  • Possession of a current RN license in Maine
  • Two years of experience working as an RN
  • Passed the GRE or MAT within the past five years
  • Completion of certain prerequisite coursework, such as:
    • Research methods
    • Statistics
    • Physical assessment
    • Microbiology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Human Growth and Development

Maine’s RN to MSN programs usually recognize 30 transfer credits from a student’s ADN program.

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Structure of RN to MSN Programs

Maine’s RN to MSN programs differ slightly in the courses required and offered to students. Required coursework also depends upon a student’s undergraduate degree status upon entering the program, as well as the specialized course of study.

Maine RN to MSN students who hold an ADN, or a bachelor’s degree in another field, must complete core bridge undergraduate nursing coursework before proceeding to the graduate courses. These may include:

  • Communications and technology in nursing
  • Health assessment
  • Health research
  • Community nursing partnerships
  • Community health

Graduate nursing courses in an RN to MSN program usually amount to between 40 and 60 credits, depending upon a student’s specialized track of study. Core graduate nursing courses usually include:

  • Theory of nursing
  • Nursing research
  • Health policy, politics and nursing
  • Graduate thesis

In addition, RN to MSN students who have chosen a specialized track of study must also complete required core coursework specific to the area of specialization. Examples include:

    • MSN in Administration students complete:
      • Advanced pharmacology
      • Advanced pathophysiology
      • Role of the family in health and illness
      • Epidemiology
      • Ethics of health care


    • MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner students must take:
      • Advanced health appraisal and physical assessment
      • Gynecologic and reproductive care of women
      • Advanced pharmacology and therapeutics
      • Professional issues in advanced practice nursing
      • Care of adults
      • Care of neonates to adolescents


  • MSN – Nurse Educator students are required to take:
    • Assessment and evaluation in nursing education
    • Curriculum and course development

Regardless of the intended career path, a clinical practicum lasting an average of 500 hours must be completed. Examples of facilities statewide hosting such practicums include:

  • Maine Medical Center – Portland
  • Central Maine Medical Center- Lewiston
  • Eastern Maine Medical Center – Bangor
  • Northern Maine Medical Center – Fort Kent


Seeking APRN Licensure Through RN to MSN Programs in Maine

As of January 1, 2006, all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in Maine must have a minimum of a master’s degree from a Board- approved program in their intended specialized field. While not all RN to MSN students in Maine intend to become APRNs, for those who do, licensure requirements include:

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Nurse Practitioner

  • Completion of a Board- approved NP MSN program in Maine (listed here) in a Board recognized area, such as family, adult, geriatric, pediatric, psychiatric mental health, and women’s health
  • Pass a national certification examination recognized by the Board (such as the National Certification Corporation’s Women’s Health Care NP Exam or the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board’s Certified Pediatric NP-Primary Exam)
  • Submit the completed Application for License as a Nurse Practitioner to the Maine Board of Nursing, along with a $100 application fee and $50 for each additional NP specialty in which licensure is requested, a recent passport-sized photo, copy of national certification, official nursing transcript listing advanced practice degree awarded, and an executed Application for Approval of a Supervising Relationship with a Licensed Physician or Nurse Practitioner documenting that the NP candidate has completed 24 months of practice under the supervision of a licensed NP or physician in Maine. NPs who are requesting prescriptive practice must also submit documentation of experience in prescribing medication and completion of a 3-credit pharmacology course.
  • The Maine Nurse Practitioners Association notes that as of 2015, there are 1200 NPs working statewide. NPs in Maine work within medical facilities and groups such as:
    • Mary’s Regional Medical Center- Portland
    • Penobscot Community Health Care- Bangor
    • Liberty Healthcare- Augusta

Nurse Midwife

  • Completion of a Board- approved CNM MSN program in Maine (listed here)
  • Pass a national certification examination recognized by the Board (such as the American Midwifery Certification Board’s Nurse Midwifery Exam)
  • Submit the completed Application for License as a Nurse Midwife to the Maine Board of Nursing, along with a $100 application fee, a recent passport-sized photo, a copy of the national certification, an official nursing transcript showing the advanced practice degree that was awarded, and if the CNM is requesting prescriptive practice, documentation of completion of a 3-credit pharmacology course and experience in prescribing medication
  • As of 2015, per the Maine Association of American College of Nurse Midwives, there are more than 29 CNM practices in Maine, and CNMs may also work within medical facilities. Jobs for CNMs in Maine may be found within:
    • Back Cove Midwives – Portland
    • Mid Coast Hospital- Brunswick

Nurse Anesthetist

  • Completion of a Board- approved CNRA MSN program in Maine (listed here)
  • Pass a national certification exam recognized by the Board (such as the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists’ CRNA Exam)
  • Submit the completed Application for License as a Nurse Anesthetist to the Maine Board of Nursing along with a $100 application fee, a recent passport-sized photo, a copy of the national certification, and an official nursing transcript showing the advanced practice degree that was awarded
  • CRNAs in Maine work within facilities like:
    • Southern Maine Health Care – Biddeford
    • Mid Coast Health Services- Brunswick
    • Maine General Health – Augusta


Specialized Nursing Roles Available for RN to MSN Graduates in Maine

RN to MSN graduates in Maine may opt not to pursue APRN licensure. Alternative jobs are available for these graduates in administration, management, education and other fields. Examples of the kinds of jobs available to these graduates as of March 2015 include:

  • Undergraduate Nursing Program Director- Standish
  • Director of Endoscopy- Portland
  • Assistant Professor of Nursing – Orono
  • Acute Care Manager- Topsham
  • Nursing Research Coordinator- Brunswick

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