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RN to MSN Programs in Minnesota

A 2014 report released by the Minnesota Board of Nursing revealed that in the last five years, the number of graduates of Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs in the state has increased, from 39 in 2009 to 90 in 2013. The Board notes that nurses holding degrees at the graduate level may have a greater range of job opportunities than those with lesser degrees.

Featured RN-to-MSN Programs

Loyola University's RN to MSN BLEND (MSN Bridge) program offers a unique curriculum specifically designed for RNs with a bachelor's degree in an area other than nursing. This 6-credit bridge program offers an MSN specialization in Health Care Systems Management (MSN-HCSM) and can be completed in just 14 weeks. Complete your online application by Nov. 14 – Get your $50 application fee waived!

Sacred Heart University's online RN-BSN-MSN allows you to earn your BSN and MSN all in one accelerated program. Choose from one of three MSN specializations: Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Education, or Nursing Management and Executive Leadership.

According to the Minnesota Board of Nursing, as of March 2015 there were 95,386 licensed RNs in the state, some of which were licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs):

  • 3723 Certified Nurse Practitioners
  • 1717 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
  • 446 Certified Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • 252 Certified Nurse-Midwives

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the number of jobs in specialized areas of nursing is expected to increase, with the largest increase in job opportunities projected to be for APRNs:

  • Jobs for nurse-midwives are projected to increase by 27.5 percent
  • Jobs for nurse practitioners will increase by 26.1 percent
  • Jobs for nurse anesthetists are anticipated to grow by 19 percent

Not all MSN holders in Minnesota choose to pursue APRN licensure, however. Specialized programs in the state offer many other tracks to interested students, such as nursing education, nursing leadership and administration, as well as general nursing.

Minnesota’s RN to MSN Programs

The Minnesota Board of Nursing has approved two entry-level MSN programs in the state that admit students possessing a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field only. Additionally, there are RN-to-MSN bridge programs in place for students that already hold undergraduate nursing degrees.

All programs vary in terms of admission requirements, but generally, nursing students must meet the following qualifications prior to admittance to an RN to MSN bridge program in Minnesota:

  • Hold at least an ADN degree, with a 3.0 GPA in all undergraduate nursing courses
  • Provide professional references
  • Complete an admissions essay
  • Hold an unencumbered RN license in Minnesota or another state
  • Prove computer efficiency
  • Completion of prerequisite coursework such as:
    • Statistics
    • English/communications
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Chemistry
    • Microbiology

Composition of Minnesota’s RN to MSN Programs

Students holding an ADN degree upon admission to Minnesota’s RN to MSN programs usually are expected to fulfill some bridge coursework before embarking upon graduate nursing core coursework. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical assessment
  • Communications
  • Statistics
  • Nursing theory
  • Leadership
  • Community health
  • Nursing research

Regardless of a program’s specialty or concentration, RN to MSN programs usually require nursing core courses such as:

  • Nursing science
  • Research methodology
  • Ethics of nursing practice
  • Leadership in health care
  • Health policy and leadership
  • Epidemiology

Depending upon a student’s career aspirations, RN to MSN programs in Minnesota might include concentrations or specializations with related coursework as shown here:

    • Nursing education:
      • Foundations in program evaluation
      • Innovations in teaching strategies
      • Curriculum design and evaluation
      • Foundations of education in nursing

    • Nursing leadership and management:
      • Organizational behavior
      • Nonprofit financial management
      • Management of a diverse workforce

    • Nurse practitioner:
      • Advanced physiology and pathophysiology across the lifespan
      • Health promotion in primary care
      • Theories and foundations of advanced practice nursing
      • Health assessment across the lifespan
      • Procedures and diagnostics in primary care

    • Nurseanesthetist:
      • Principles of anesthesia
      • Pharmacology for nurse anesthetists
      • Advanced physiology and pathophysiology
      • Chemistry and physics for nurse anesthesia

  • Nurse midwife:
    • Reproductive physiology
    • Antepartal care
    • Intrapartum and postpartum care
    • Advanced pathophysiology

All students in RN to MSN programs in Minnesota must also participate in at least one practicum experience, usually related directly to their specialization or concentration. Requirements that students are expected to fulfill prior to entrance into a practicum include:

    • Receive all necessary immunizations and updates, such as:
      • Influenza
      • Varicella
      • Tetanus
      • Hepatitis B
      • Rubella
      • Rubeola
      • Mumps
      • Tuberculosis

  • Professional liability insurance
  • Background check performed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Current CPR certification at Healthcare Provider level
  • HIPAA training

Examples of possible clinical placement locations in Minnesota include:

  • Benedictine Health Center- Duluth, Minneapolis and New Brighton
  • Saint Cloud Hospital- Saint Cloud
  • Community Behavioral Health Hospital- Cold Spring, Rochester and Anoka
  • Glencoe Regional Health Services- Glencoe
  • Park Nicollet Health Services- Saint Louis Park

Seeking APRN Licensure in Minnesota through RN to MSN Programs

The Minnesota Board of Nursing licenses four categories of advanced practice nurses (APRNs):

  • Certified Nurse Practitioners
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
  • Certified Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives

Effective January 1, 2015, APRNs must hold an Advanced Practice RN license separate from their RN license. The licensure process for each of these APRN roles is explained below.

Certified Nurse Practitioner

    • Applicant must hold a current Minnesota RN license
    • Applicant must complete a graduate-level APRN Nurse Practitioner program approved by the Board (a list of these programs is here) in one of the following population foci:
      • Psychiatric and Mental Health
      • Women’s and Gender-Related Health
      • Pediatrics
      • Neonatal
      • Adult Gerontology
      • Family and Individual Across the Lifespan

  • Applicant must submit the CNP application form and all necessary supporting documentation and fees to the Board
  • Jobs forCNPs in Minnesota were recently advertised in:
    • Twin Cities Pain Clinic – Maple Grove
    • HealthEast Care System- Saint Paul
    • Essentia Health – Park Rapids
    • Mayo Clinic- Rochester
    • University of Minnesota Physicians- Minneapolis

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

  • Applicant must hold a current Minnesota RN license
  • Applicant must complete a graduate-level APRN Nurse Anesthetist program approved by the Board (a list of these programs is here)
  • Applicant must receive national certification as a CRNA by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists
  • Applicant must submit the CRNA Application Form and all necessary supporting documentation and fees to the Board
  • Jobs forCRNAs in Minnesota were recently advertised in:
    • Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota- Minnetonka
    • Park Nicollet- Bloomington
    • Regions Hospital- St. Paul
    • Allina Health System- Cambridge
    • Essentia Health- Brainerd and Duluth

Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist

    • Applicant must hold a current Minnesota RN license
    • Applicant must complete a graduate-level APRN Clinical Nurse Specialist program approved by the Board (a list of these programs is here) in one of the following population foci:
      • Psychiatric and Mental Health
      • Women’s and Gender-Related Health
      • Pediatrics
      • Neonatal
      • Adult Gerontology
      • Family and Individual Across the Lifespan

  • Applicant must submit the CNS application form and all necessary supporting documentation and fees to the Board
  • Jobs forCNPs in Minnesota were recently advertised in:
    • HealthEast Care System- Maplewood
    • Fairview Health Services- Minneapolis
    • Mayo Clinic- Albert Lea
    • Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota- St. Paul
    • Genentech- Minneapolis

Certified Nurse-Midwife

  • Applicant must hold a current Minnesota RN license
  • Applicant must complete a graduate-level APRN Certified Nurse-Midwife program approved by the Board (a list of these programs is here)
  • Applicant must receive national certification as a CNM by the American Midwifery Certification Board
  • Applicant must submit the CNM application form and all necessary supporting documentation and fees to the Board
  • Jobs forCNPs in Minnesota were recently advertised in:
    • HealthEast Care System- Woodbury
    • Essentia Health- Park Rapids
    • Mayo Clinic- Red Wing and Wabasha
    • Medical Doctor Associates Advanced Practice- Minneapolis

Other Careers for MSN-Educated Nurses

While getting an MSN in Minnesota can lead to APRN licensure, this is not the only career choice for MSN-educated nurses in the state. Career tracks in leadership, administration and education are also among the critical shortage areas in Minnesota that require graduate-level education.

Some examples of recently posted non-APRN positions for MSN-educated nurses in Minnesota are shown here for illustrative purposes (March 2015):

  • Dean of Nursing- Saint Paul
  • Assistant Nurse Manager- Minneapolis
  • Chief Nursing Officer- Duluth
  • Adjunct Faculty Nursing Instructor- Bloomington
  • Telemetry Registered Nurse- Minneapolis

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