There has never been a better time to get into nursing, especially if you have what it takes to push your career and your education to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).
One of the biggest reasons why there has never been a better time to start nursing than right now is the huge demand for all levels of nurses. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that RNs are expected to grow 9% by 2030. APRNs, however, have a far larger estimated growth. These roles are expected to grow by 45% by the end of the decade.
Staying consistent with your goals can help you make steady progress through all the career requirements you will need. By using this guide you’ll understand what you need, and how to find the perfect APRN role for you.
You Will Need a BSN
In order to become an APRN you will need to hold a BSN. If you currently have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing you cannot just jump into an MSN degree and get started. Instead, you will need to earn your BSN first.
The good news is that there are multiple ways to earn that BSN. You could, for example, transfer credits from your ADN and fast-track through the BSN. While not the norm, there may also be master’s programs that allow you to earn your BSN as part of an integrated approach towards earning your MSN.
How to Determine Which APRN Role is Right for You
Earning your BSN is just one of the barriers to becoming an APRN; the second is you. While you can earn a post-graduate degree later on if you want to switch tracks, this is both expensive and time consuming. You will be better off taking the time to figure out what area of medicine you are most interested in, or what type of patients you want to help the most. It is an especially good idea to work as an RN in the departments that cater to that area of medicine or patient base. Not only will you get hands-on experience that will help you determine if the APRN role you are thinking of is right for you, you will also be able to gain essential experience that will help with your applications in the future.
Finding the Right MSN Program for Your Goals
When it comes to finally choosing the MSN program, there are a few facts you need to be aware of in advance. The first is where you can learn. If you are an RN within the eNLC (Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact), then you can usually have your pick of nursing schools from across those states. If you are not within the eNLC you will usually be limited to options within your state. What this means is that you can enroll into a top university such as Texas Women’s University, as the MSN-FNP program at TWU is well regarded around the country and has students from 30 different states.
Know your options and create a shortlist of MSN providers. You will then want to get in touch with the admissions counselor in order to confirm that the program is perfect for your individual goals and needs. Once you confirm it does: apply! It usually takes 3 years to complete an MSN program when you work full-time, and once you graduate you will then need to fill out your state’s application and pass the exam.
Do all that, and you will be a licensed APRN who is ready to work in no time.