Masters in Nursing Online: How to Choose One
I've been an RN for 10 years and earned my RN to BSN on campus. To advance to a management position at my hospital and leave direct care, I need a master's degree. I am familiar with the MSN. What other types of master's in nursing online are available, and how do I choose? One interest I have is in geriatrics or care for the elderly.
—Kim in Wisconsin
There are several types of master's of nursing online that a seasoned RN like you might consider. All of them can help you move from direct patient care into nursing management.
Online Nursing Master's Degrees
One caveat: to be eligible for an online MSN, you have to already be an registered nurse (RN) with a BSN (bachelor's degree in nursing), ADN (associate's degree in nursing) or nursing diploma. As long as your RN license is current, you can enter several programs.
The traditional MSN emphasizes practical patient care issues and may be needed if your primary job will be to supervise floor or practice RNs, for example.
Masters in Nursing Online — Alternatives for Managers
• Online Master's in Healthcare Administration
The MHA degree focuses on health law, management, human resources, leadership, quality control, budgeting and finance. It will not deepen your experience or knowledge of direct patient care. Instead, it will teach you to manage business units and both inpatient and outpatient services and operations.
• Online Healthcare Master's — Service Specialty Majors
While such a master's degree won’t give you a deeper understanding of management issues such as human resources, budgeting and quality control, you'll learn much about concerns involving the elderly. Demand for nurses trained in this specialty area remains extremely high.
• Online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare
Some of the most exciting new health management certificates are in areas such as disaster or emergency management, healthcare administration and gerontology.
Vicky Phillips was cited in 2009 by US News & World Report as "for 20 years the leading consumer advocate for online college students." In 1989 she designed America's first online counseling center for distance learners on AOL. In 1998 she authored the first print guide to online graduate degrees, Best Distance Learning Graduate Schools put out by the Princeton Review. In 2001 she authored Never Too Late to Learn the Adult Student's Guide to College.
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