RN to MSN Programs in Nevada

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (ACCN), as of 2013 there were 140 nurses enrolled in Nevada’s RN to MSN bridge programs. Over half of these students (95) were studying to become nurse practitioners. Other nurses in advanced clinical practice tracks were studying to become nurse midwives, clinical nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists, joining the 1008 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) practicing in Nevada as of 2013. Since more than half of Nevada’s residents live in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), APRNs are increasingly being relied upon to serve as primary care providers, especially in rural areas of the state notorious for being medically underserved.

Not all RN to MSN students in Nevada are enrolled in tracks preparing them to become APRNs, however. Some are preparing for careers in education, clinical leadership, public health and administration. As of 2013, the AACN reported having 14 faculty vacancies in five AACN-accredited schools located in Nevada. This further highlights the need for more RN to MSN graduates to fill nurse educator vacancies in the state.

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Groups such as the Nevada Organization of Nurse Leaders (NONL) are working to promote nurse leadership as a career alternative for RNs with MSN degrees. With the goal of improving quality patient care through nurse leadership, the NONL encourages RNs to pursue MSN degrees and take on new challenges in administration and clinical leadership.

Enrolling in Nevada’s RN to MSN Programs

The Nevada State Board of Nursing does not regulate post-licensure programs such as RN to MSN programs. The only Board rule pertains to RN-MSN programs in APRN tracks. These programs must include four months (minimum) of classroom instruction and a clinical experience under the supervision of a physician or APRN.

Although ultimately as the discretion of the institution, admission to RN to MSN programs in Nevada typically requires that the student:

  • Possesses a minimum of a nursing diploma or ADN from an accredited undergraduate nursing school
  • Hold a GPA of at least 3.0 in all undergraduate nursing work
  • Hold a Nevada RN license
  • Have some experience (usually at least one year) working as an RN in Nevada
  • Finish the following prerequisite courses:
    • Applied statistics
    • Growth and development across the lifespan
    • Health assessment
    • Research

Composition and Structure of Nevada’s RN to MSN Programs

Students will be required to complete bachelor’s-level undergraduate courses (bridge courses) before moving on to graduate-level coursework. However, some programs work the baccalaureate courses evenly into the program so that students complete both baccalaureate and master’s-level courses at the same time. Most often students earn both a BSN and MSN after completing the program.

Depending on their current level of education, incoming students can expect the following:

  • Programs for nurses with a nursing diploma – approximately 8-9 semesters and can also result in a BSN
  • Programs for nurses with an ADN – approximately 7-8 semesters and can also result in a BSN

The structure of RN to MSN programs differ depending upon the school and the program’s specialty track. Generally, schools will require students to complete the following core nursing courses, regardless of intended specialization:

  • Knowledge development and scientific inquiry
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Populations and aggregate health issues
  • Advanced nursing care of special populations
  • Health care policy and social justice

Depending upon a student’s specialized career track, other courses may be required, such as (examples shown for illustrative purposes):

  • Nurse educator:
    • Curriculum development and evaluation in nursing education
    • Instructional design and evaluation in nursing education
    • Role of the nurse educator
    • Research
    • Practicum
  • Clinical nurse leader:
    • Leadership development and care management
    • Health informatics
    • Evidence-based practice and management of clinical outcomes
    • Research
    • Practicum
  • Family nurse practitioner:
    • Advanced health promotion
    • Advanced primary care
    • Nursing theories and family health patterns
    • Advanced primary care practicum
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner:
    • Mental health assessment across the lifespan
    • Advanced pharmacology for mental health
    • Mental health diagnosis and management of children and adolescents
    • Mental health diagnosis and management of adults
    • Mental health diagnosis and management of geriatric clients
    • Practicum

All RN to MSN students in Nevada must complete at least one clinical practicum, depending upon their specialization. These will take place at Nevada medical facilities such as:

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  • Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare – Carson City
  • Southern Nevada Medical and Rehabilitation – Las Vegas
  • Northern Nevada Medical Group – Sparks
  • Rose Dominican Hospital – Henderson
  • Mary’s Regional Medical Center- Reno


Seeking APRN Licensure in Nevada through RN to MSN Programs

The Nevada State Board of Nursing licenses qualified RNs as APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurses). Three types of APRNs are licensed in Nevada, including Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Midwife. The requirements for each are explained in detail below.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

In order to become a CNS in Nevada, a RN must:

Nurse Practitioner

In order to become licensed as a NP in Nevada, a RN must:

Nurse Midwife

In order to become a licensed NM in Nevada, a RN must:

      • Hold a valid, unencumbered, active Nevada RN license
      • Have the graduate nursing program send official transcripts directly to the Board, proving that the following courses were completed:
        • Advanced pathophysiology
        • Advanced health assessment
        • Clinical preceptorship
        • Advanced role preparation
      • Concentration of NM courses
      • Pass a national certification examination given by:
      • Complete and submit the Application for APRN licensure with all required fees and supplementary documentation
      • Complete a fingerprint background check (instructions are within licensure application)
      • NM jobs in Nevada are found within places such as:
        • Nevada Health Centers- Las Vegas
        • Reno Midwifery – Reno
        • WellHealth Women’s Specialty Care – Las Vegas
        • Baby’s First Day Midwifery Services- Las Vegas


Other Roles for MSN-Educated RNs in Nevada

For RN to MSN graduates in Nevada who do not wish to become APRNs, there are many other career options available. Examples of jobs advertised for MSN-educated nurses exclusively in March 2015 include (shown for illustrative purposes):

      • Nursing Instructor- Reno
      • Director of Nursing – Las Vegas
      • Director of Nursing Surgical Services- Henderson
      • Clinical Coordinator- Las Vegas
      • Nursing Quality Management – Las Vegas

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