Of the more than 27,000 nursing students in the state of New York pursuing nursing degrees in 2013, a quarter were enrolled in RN-MSN bridge programs. Among the nurses enrolled in these post-licensure graduate programs, 19% were looking to pursue Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) licensure through the New York Board of Nursing. The remaining 6% were enrolled in RN-MSN programs with a track in administration, education, research, public policy and clinical leadership. Whether in clinical or nonclinical roles, nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing set themselves apart as uniquely skilled and highly qualified in their particular area of specialty.
MSN-educated nurses also consistently earn higher salaries than nurses with less degrees. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics noted an average salary of roughly $117,000 per year for nurse practitioners in New York City, nearly $37,000 more per year than ADN or BSN prepared RNs in the same area.
Enrolling in an RN-MSN Bridge Program in New York
Working RNs in New York may select flexible online or distance learning courses, in addition to campus-based or hybrid campus-online options at institutions in one of the following cities:
- Garden City
- New York City
- Staten Island
- Stony Brook
Bridge Program Prerequisites
Due to faculty shortages and limited enrollment in New York’s nursing education programs outlined in a 2013 report published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), prospective students may find admission to RN-MSN bridge programs to be competitive. As such, applicants are advised to gain a year or more of patient care experience before applying.
After choosing a program, students must meet admission requirements such as the following as laid out by their school of choice:
- Hold an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) at minimum
- Maintain a minimum GPA in prior coursework
- Hold a current, unencumbered New York state RN license
- Have at least one year of full-time clinical experience
- Have completed a basic statistics and basic research course
- Complete an admission application and pay a fee
- Submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended
- Submit two to three letters of recommendation
RN-MSN Bridge Program Outline
Program lengths typically run between 40 and 60 credits over 2 to 3 years depending on current level of education:
- 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
Students with diplomas and ADNs will also need to complete undergraduate bridge coursework prior to beginning graduate-level coursework, and some RN-MSN programs will then confer a BSN with the MSN upon matriculation. In some cases these courses are integrated into the program in place of open electives, while in others students will need to earn their BSN separately before applying to the graduate program.
Generalist RN-MSN programs build on an RNs patient care knowledge with new skills in administration, communication, information systems and human resource management. With these skills, many RNs transition into higher level jobs within their current place of employment as nursing directors, administrators or clinical educators.
Students will complete courses in the following areas in a general RN-MSN program:
- MSN Core including courses in Trends in Healthcare Delivery, Statistics for Health Professionals, and Research in Nursing
- A Master’s thesis or capstone project involving research and a final paper. This component may be included as a course or as an out-of-class requirement
Students in these general programs and those pursuing MSNs as a pathway to APRN licensure will complete between 300 and 1,000 clinical experience hours, with APRN requirements generally falling near the higher end of the spectrum. Students in other tracks such as administration and education will shadow leaders in their chosen area of specialty, while future APRNs will complete patient care rotations at a local hospital or clinic.
Specialized APRN Programs
Before applying, students pursuing an APRN license will select a specialized RN-MSN bridge program that devoted to advanced practice nursing. After choosing a particular APRN role and patient population focus, students then take role-specific coursework in addition to the core curriculum above. Students in these programs may choose from the following roles and patient population foci:
- Nurse Practitioner in Acute Care, Adult Health, College Health, Community Health, Family Health, Gerontology, Holistic Nursing, Neonatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oncology, Palliative Care, Pediatrics, Perinatology, Psychiatry, School Health and Women’s Health
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Health, Pediatrics, Oncology, and Psychiatry/Mental Health
Note: Nurse Midwives are not considered an official APRN role in New York and must pass a state-level exam instead of a national one to practice
Students take specialized coursework specific those these roles and foci such as:
- Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics
- Contemporary Clinical Practice
- Health Promotion Across the Adult Lifespan
- Adult & Geriatric (or other role) Practicum
Entering the Field as an APRN in New York
Prior to acquiring an Advanced Practice Registered Nursing license, students must apply for licensure in their specific role and focus from a national credentialing body. Each of these bodies maintains its own standards, exams and application process, and students are expected to complete these and obtain licensure prior to applying for APRN licensure with the New York Board of Nursing.
Credentialing Bodies Approved by the New York Board of Nursing
Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNPs) may obtain licensure through the following bodies:
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for Acute Care, Adult, Geriatric, Family, Pediatric, Psychiatric
- Pediatric Nurse Licensure Board (PNCB) for Pediatric Acute and Primary Care
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) for Adult and Adult-Gerontology
- National Licensure Corporation (NCC): for Neonatal and Women’s Health
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) may obtain licensure through:
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for Adult Health, Adult-Gerontology, Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health and Child Psychiatric & Mental Health
- American Association of Critical Care Nurses Licensure Corporation (AACN) for Adult and Pediatric Acute Care, Pediatric Care, Neonatal, Adult-Gerontology
- Oncology Nursing Licensure Corporation (ONCC) for Adult and Pediatric Oncology
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) must obtain licensure through the National Board of Licensure and Relicensure of Nurse Anesthetists.
After obtaining national certification, students must apply for their APRN license, also referred to as an NP license, with the New York Board of Nursing. To do so, students must supply the board with their national credentials, a notarized Application for License and $85 fee, a License of Professional Education certifying their graduation from an accredited degree program, and verifications of a pharmacotherapeutics course, collaborative agreement and instruction in New York prescriptive law.
Career Opportunities for APRNs in New York
In light of somber news from the Kaiser Foundation revealing that 54% of the state lives in areas with a shortage of primary care physicians, APRNs are being relied on to serve as primary care providers in parts of New York where doctors are in short supply.
Examples of positions available to APRN certified MSN graduates in New York as of March 2015 include:
- Adult Nurse Practitioner at AOCNP Oncology Cancer Center in Scarsdale
- Family Practice APRN at The Grey Group in East Patchogue
- Pediatric Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist at New York Presbyterian Hospital
Other Specialized Healthcare Roles for MSN-Educated Nurses in New York
General RN-MSN graduates use their skills in administration, management and leadership as they transition into other key roles as nurse directors, human resource experts and hospital administrators. These professionals are a crucial part of ensuring medical facilities run smoothly and patients and staff are well taken care of.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that 4,629 qualified nursing applicants were turned away in New York in 2013 due to lack of program space, and MSN graduates are in high demand at in the state’s nursing education programs as a result. Those who pursue roles as nursing educators meet growing healthcare needs by helping ensure program space for more future nurses.
Below are a few examples of careers into which MSN-educated nurses might transition as of March 2015:
- Director of Nursing at South Nassau Community Hospital in Oceanside
- Clinical Educator at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers
- Associate Director of Patient Care Services at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in Montrose