No matter the field, students who earn a masters degree in their area of specialty gain additional expertise in their subject and a qualification that is extremely useful for career advancement. This is true even in nursing. A masters degree is not usually required to become a registered nurse (RN); in fact, students can attain sufficient preparation to the take the National Council Licensure Examination for nursing certification (NCLEX-RN) with a diploma or associates degree, depending on state requirements. Yet while such degrees and certification as an RN are enough to qualify nurses for many different entry-level positions, leadership positions are all but closed off completely to those who do not have a master of science in nursing (MSN). Those who are already registered nurses, however, have an advantage in getting their masters degree. That is because there are many RN to MSN programs that allow registered nurses to earn their MSN degree quickly.
Both RN to MSN traditional programs and RN to MSN online programs are structured to allow students to make the most of their existing nursing experience. Students who are already working in the field will find certain courses and internship requirements overly repetitive and unnecessary in a normal MSN program. Normal MSN programs are designed for those who have little to no nursing experience, so the courses are designed as if the students have never performed any nursing tasks at all. Such a design is perfectly fine - and even preferable - for those who do not yet have extensive nursing experience. An RN to MSN program, however, understands that such a design is not optimal for those who already know what nursing entails and have the basic knowledge required for fulfilling this role in the medical profession.
RN to MSN online programs and traditional, on-campus RN to MSN programs both emphasize the acquisition of leadership skills, while maintaining and improving basic nursing techniques. It is advantageous for those who are already working as a nurse, especially RN to MSN nursing degrees online, as many of these degree programs can be structured around an already busy working schedule. Unlike accelerated programs that usually require students not to work at all outside of the classroom, RN to MSN degrees sometimes allow students to enroll as students and maintain their outside work in the nursing field. Of course, students who work and study at the same time will be putting themselves through a lot. But the pain is short-lived and worth it when all is said and done.
RN to MSN degree programs will require students to possess a bachelors degree already. Some schools will allow students to enroll for a probationary period if they do not have the degree, but they will pick up their undergraduate qualification along the way. In such cases, the program length will generally be longer, but that is because of the extra degree. Students who want more information on this RN to MSN degree option should contact the school of their choice for more specifics on the degree and its structure.