RN to MSN Programs in Wyoming

Job growth and the need to replace retiring nurses will open up 1.1 million jobs for RNs and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) by the year 2022, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections. As of 2014 there were 5,870 RNs licensed in the state of Wyoming with only 9.9% of that population licensed as APRNs.

An aging society, complicated health care system and advances in medical treatments all require higher education standards for RNs now and in the future. Residents of Wyoming are facing a primary care provider shortage with more than 66% living in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HSPAs). Advanced practice nurses are seen as the solution to the primary care provider shortage, as they are able to deliver quality preventative care that ultimately serves to reduce the cost of healthcare overall. Studies released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) show that having a highly trained and educated nursing staff can ease the transition for patients from hospital to home by reducing or eliminating infections and helping prevent medication errors.

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As of 2013 there were 544 students enrolled in baccalaureate and graduate-level nursing programs, only 27 of which were nurses returning to school for RN-MSN programs in APRN specialty tracks or other advanced tracks in vital areas like public health, administration or nursing education. As RN-MSN bridge programs provide the most efficient path to APRN licensure and other advanced roles, The Wyoming State Board of Nursing continues to work with area employers and advocacy groups to make these programs more affordable and more accessible.

RN-MSN Bridge Programs in Wyoming

Faculty shortages in Wyoming and across the nation are resulting in fewer on-campus RN-MSN programs being available. Fortunately online programs are helping to fill that gap in Wyoming and elsewhere, offering a flexible alternative to busy working nurses.

RN-MSN degree programs available online include specialty tracks in:

  • Healthcare Administration
  • Nurse Education
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Public Health
  • Advanced Practice

Admission requirements for online RN-MSN programs will vary by school but typically require the following:

  • Proof of clinical experience
  • Self-reflective essay explaining clinical strengths and weaknesses as well as educational goals
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Recommendation letters.
  • Unencumbered RN license in the state of Wyoming
  • Associate’s degree or diploma in nursing
  • Current resume
  • Be physically able to perform required duties

RN-MSN Bridge Program Structure

RN-MSN programs can range between 30 and 60 credits, and take between two and three years to complete. Program length will depend on a student’s previous level of education and the complexity of the specialty track.

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Students work to complete bachelor’s-level undergraduate courses at the beginning of the program. Completing undergraduate bridge coursework typically results in earning both a BSN and MSN upon matriculation.

Upon completing undergraduate bridge coursework, RN-MSN bridge programs in all tracks typically include the following core components:

  • Master’s core curriculum including classes in Foundations of Advanced Nursing, Research in Nursing and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Specialized courses in a student’s area of interest (advanced practice, education, informatics, administration, etc.)
  • A Master’s thesis or capstone project, completed in an accompanying course or outside of class in some cases

Specialized RN-MSN Advanced Practice Nurse Programs

RN-MSN bridge programs are available for students pursing Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensure through the Wyoming Board of Nursing. After selecting a specific patient care role and patient population focus, these students take the general MSN coursework above in addition to courses pertaining to their role and patient focus.

Programs are available in Wyoming for the following patient care roles and population foci:

  • Certified Nurse Practitioner in:
    • Adult
    • Family
    • Pediatric
    • Gerontological
    • Acute Care
    • Adult and Family Psychiatric/Mental Health
    • Women’s Health
    • Neonatal care
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist in:
    • Medical/Surgical
    • Gerontological
    • Adult Psychiatric/Mental Health
    • Child and Adolescent Psychiatric/Mental Health
    • Acute or Acute and Critical Care
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • Certified Nurse Midwife

RN-MSN Programs as Pathway to APRN Licensure in Wyoming

The Wyoming State Board of Nursing issues APRN licenses to graduates of specialty track programs that achieve national certification and complete the necessary applications. APRNs applying for prescriptive authority must complete the additional application request.

Minimum requirements to receive an APRN license in Wyoming include:

  • MSN with a clinical specialty or an advanced practice registered nurse specialty, or has completed an accredited APRN educational program with a clinical specialty prior to January 1, 1999
  • Has taken and passed a national certification examination in the same area and has been granted recognition by the Board to practice as an APRN


Requirements for national certification typically include the following:

  • Complete graduate educational requirements.
  • Current RN licensure in United States.
  • Pass certification exam.
  • Graduate from APRN program accredited by a national certification body.
  • Maintain continued competency in chosen profession.

There are following categories of APRN are available in Wyoming:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP)

Certification for each is available through the following organizations:

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS):

Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP):

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM):

Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA):

Career Opportunities Available to MSN-Educated Nurses in Wyoming

Shown for illustrative purposes, openings as of the first quarter of 2015 for jobs that require an MSN degree in Wyoming include the following:

  • Director of Nursing – Aureus Medical Group, Thermopolis
  • Director of Quality and Patient Safety – Mountain States Employers Council, Sheridan
  • Director of Behavioral Health – HCT Executive Management & Consulting, Cody
  • Nurse Practitioner – Community Health Centers of Central Wyoming, Casper
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – Department of Veterans Affairs, Rock Springs
  • HIT Outreach Coordinator – State of Wyoming, Cheyenne
  • Advanced Practice Nurse – Planned Parenthood of Rocky Mountains, Casper

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