RN to MSN Programs in New Hampshire

By returning to school to earn a Master of Science in Nursing, RNs open themselves up to a world of career possibilities. Not only can they become nursing instructors and professors, but they can also apply for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licenses, which in New Hampshire allows them to be licensed as nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, pediatric nurses or nurse practitioners. Of note is the fact that New Hampshire was one of the top-paying states for nurse midwives in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics.

There is expected to be 250 nursing educators in New Hampshire by 2020, according to the occupational projections published in “STEM in New Hampshire: A Labor Demand-Supply Analysis,” which was a report published by the New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau in 2013. Along with this, the Bureau expects the number of RNs in advanced practice to increase markedly over this period as an estimated 550 new RN jobs become available between 2010 and 2020.

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To fill the demand for more skilled nurses in advanced practice clinical roles, as well as to address the need for more nurse educators and leaders, RNs are benefitting from New Hampshire’s RN to MSN programs, which allows RNs educated at either the bachelor’s or associate’s level to take the specific courses necessary to earn a general or specialized MSN.

New Hampshire’s RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs will accept RNs with previous associate’s or bachelor’s level education, building upon the previous nursing education to provide a broad knowledge-base. Those programs designed for ADN educated nurses often culminate in both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

While some programs culminate in a general MSN, most are highly specialized programs specific to education, leadership, administration, or are otherwise specific to the advanced practice roles (nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, pediatric nurse), and further specialized by patient population focus.

New Hampshire’ nursing schools offer both online and on-site RN-MSN bridge programs, which are designed to be completed in three to four semesters of full-time study depending on whether the program is designed for ADN or BSN educated nurses (some including one summer, as well).

Although admission requirements differ from school to school, most MSN programs will require the following at minimum:

  • Have graduated from an ADN program at minimum
  • Hold a 2.5-3.0 GPA or higher
  • Hold unencumbered, New Hampshire RN license

Some MSN programs have partnerships with the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), which helps RNs move quickly and easily from ADN or BSN programs into RN to MSN programs. RN to MSN programs approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing are located in the following New Hampshire cities:

  • Portsmouth
  • Manchester
  • Durham
  • Nashua

RN to MSN Program General Curricula

While some RN-MSN programs in New Hampshire admit students who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, others offer admission to RNs holding the Associate Degree in Nursing. For RNs who hold an ADN, these MSN bridge programs provide continuous completion of both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In this, both bachelor’s and master’s level coursework is required, including the following:

Bachelor’s in Nursing Required Courses:

  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Patient-Centered Assessments
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Community and Global Health
  • Police, Law, Ethics, and Regulation

Master’s in Nursing Required Courses:

  • Advanced Nursing Concepts
  • Teaching and Learning in Nursing
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Healthcare Policy and Financing
  • Leadership in Clinical Microsystems
  • Nursing Capstone Seminar and Project
  • Project Management

Students who are pursuing both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees will need to complete bachelor’s level courses with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in order to move on to the master’s level courses.

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Some of these advanced pathway degrees offer graduate-level work intertwined with bachelor’s-level work in the same course, which allows students to waive credits for the master’s degree, making the program more streamlined, faster, and cheaper. For instance, graduate-level work may be required in the following BSN courses:

  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Community and Global Health

This allows RNs to waive the following two MSN courses:

  • Global Health and Diversity
  • Evidence-Based Practice

RN to MSN Curriculum Based on Specialization

Specialized RN-MSN programs would naturally include coursework specific to the clinical or non-clinical area of specialization, whether clinical nurse leadership, nursing education, nursing administration, or one of the APRN roles. The following are just a few of the specializations and course requirements that can be expected from the respective programs.

Clinical Nurse Leader:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Clinical Epidemiology and Decision Analysis
  • Promoting Quality Management
  • Advanced Pharmacology Across Lifespan
  • Advanced Health Assessment

Patient Quality and Safety:

  • Error Science, Risk Assess & disclosures
  • Healthcare Quality and Improvement
  • Communications and Collaboration

Evidence-Based Nursing:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Population Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
  • Clinical Epidemiology and Decision analysis
  • Health Policy
  • Nursing Science and Evidence Based Practice

Family Nurse Practitioner:

  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Primary Care of Families I
  • Practicum in the Primary Care of Families
  • Health Care Systems and Leadership
  • Population Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
  • Families in Health and Illness

Nursing Education:

  • Clinical and Classroom Teaching Strategies in Nursing
  • Evidence-Based Curriculum Design
  • Evaluating Learning and Assessing Competencies


RN to MSN as a Path to the New Hampshire APRN License

Earning a Master of Science in Nursing in one of the specialized APRN roles allows New Hampshire’s RNs to achieve the APRN license so at to work in the four advanced practice roles recognized for licensure in New Hampshire:

  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse midwife
  • Adult nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurse

The licensing process starts by completing a certifying exam and qualifying for national certification in one of the recognized areas of specialization. The New Hampshire Board of Nursing has approved the following nurse practitioner license certifications to certify APRNs in a number of specialty areas and patient population foci:

To be licensed as an APRN in New Hampshire, RNs that have earned national certification will need to complete the following steps:

  • Hold a current, unencumbered New Hampshire RN license
  • Complete criminal background check
  • Complete and submit Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Application
  • Submit $100.00 application fee
  • Submit final master’s degree transcripts
  • Submit proof of national certification

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