The role of nurse practitioner (NP) is becoming more and more vital to health care delivery in the United States. For nurses who currently have an associate degree and would like to become an NP, an Associate Degree in Nursing to Master of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN) program offers many benefits.
What the MSN Degree Offers
An MSN is required for nurses who seek qualification as an NP or advanced practice registered nurse. Academic coursework and clinical requirements in an RN to MSN program prepare students to take on leadership roles, as well as an array of advanced clinical duties, such as examining patients, prescribing medications and conducting diagnostic tests.
This blog will look at the top 8 benefits of becoming an NP through an RN to MSN online program.
1. Nurse practitioners have expanding health care career opportunities.
The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that as many as 139,000 physician positions will be vacant by 2033. As these health care providers retire, nurse practitioners are ideally suited to fill gaps in many clinical settings, including private practices, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
And as the population as a whole grows older, health care needs will increase among baby boomers and Gen-Xers.
2. Nurse practitioners fulfill a critical role.
Whether they work in collaboration with physicians or on their own, NPs bring their background of direct, compassionate patient care as RNs to their role.
A research study reported in the Journal of Human Resources for Health concluded that NPs in emergency and critical care settings improved health care delivery in terms of length of stay, patient satisfaction, mortality and cost savings—all powerful markers for the success, desirability and longevity of the role.
3. NPs have greater autonomy.
In many states, NPs can operate with full autonomy, meaning they are not required to have physician supervision. In other states, NPs must have either full or partial approval of a physician for identified areas in the NP scope of practice.
Check with your state board of nursing for the rules regarding a nurse practitioner’s scope of practice.
4. Americans trust NPs to provide excellent care.
With more than 1 billion NP visits per year, patients have an affinity for the patient-centered care that NPs offer. Typically, NPs see each patient as a whole person and tend to their overall well-being as well as their physical health.
5. An NP typically earns a higher salary than an RN.
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the national median salary for nurse practitioners is $110,000 per year. On average, that is roughly $30,000 higher than the median salary for RNs.
6. NPs have a manageable patient load.
Another AANP survey showed that just over half of NPs see three or more patients an hour. Extending time for patient visits helps them feel cared for and adds to the positive view patients have of NPs.
7. The associate degree you have is a great stepping stone.
Typically, RNs with an associate degree would have to complete a bachelor’s degree before applying to a master’s program. Some students accepted into an RN to MSN program are prepared to the academic level of the bachelor's degree in nursing but this degree is not conferred. They receive the master’s degree and the rigorous and thorough education needed to earn the MSN credential and practice as an NP.
8. The RN to MSN program saves time and money.
An additional benefit is that the program can be completed in three years instead of the nearly four years it would take to complete separate bachelor’s and master’s programs.
If all of these benefits appeal to you and you want to take steps toward becoming a nurse practitioner, look for an RN to MSN program that offers academic strength and commitment to professionalism in nursing.
Wilkes University has an RN to MSN program that offers this and more, including:
- Guaranteed clinical placement services
- NP national board certification pass rates above the national average
- Nationally ranked and accredited programs with solid academic standing
Learn more about Wilkes’ online RN to MSN program to see if it’s right for you.
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