RN-BSN/MSN Program: One Stop Nursing Degree Offered by Duquesne University

Distance Nursing Programs Open Up Possibilities

Duquesne University's School of Nursing is reportedly home to Pennsylvania's first BSN degree program. Since the nursing school's inception in 1937, the program has expanded to embrace a select handful of online courses. Another necessary evolution is the micro-specialty certificate courses that allow advanced practice nurses the flexibility to grasp immediate and affordable training.

By far one of the most popular online nursing degrees is the RN to BSN/MSN program. This is actually an expansion of the more basic RN to BSN degrees: DU makes it possible for very motivated RNs to actually work toward their Masters of Science in Nursing at the same time they are studying their BSN curriculum. For many professional nurses whose goals include an advanced practice degree, this is a time saver.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the industry preference, so it makes sense that nursing schools would offer this in an online format first and foremost. RNs often begin their careers with a two-year Associates degree. Entry-level staff jobs lead professionals to seek their final two years of study to earn their Bachelors of Science in Nursing.

Degree Curriculum

DU's RN to BSN/MSN program provides the core curriculum for a Nursing Bachelors, a good balance of nursing theory with required liberal arts courses, and nursing clinicals. Nursing students in the BSN track must have 68 credits already earned from an Associates degree, plus their RN licensure. If psychology and statistics courses are not among the previous nursing coursework, BSN candidates are required to complete these first. The remainder of the BSN may be completed in 32 credit hours. Bachelors' curriculum includes courses targeted to: family health, advanced nursing theory, "transcultural" nursing issues and concepts, nursing education and administration, and patient populations. Hands-on nursing clinicals may be facilitated within the region in which distance learners live. Program tuition is $33,000.

Requirements for Admission to the MSN Fast Track

There is a hitch to the MSN aspect of the degree: candidates must have a 3.0 GPA from their BSN program to continue on. For nurses that have academically excelled, the rest of the MSN is focused on one of six advanced practice nursing specialties:

  • Acute care clinical nurse specialists work within acute care settings as managers and leaders.
  • Family nurse practitioners are trained to deliver healthcare to family units. F-NPs have many of the same abilities as physicians and are often able to spend more intensive time with patients. NPs may solicit patients independently of a physician, provide comprehensive health assessments, deliver targeted and affordable care, and provide education and care plans.
  • Forensic nurses are one of the more cutting edge specialties. Nurses combine their healthcare know-how with investigative work. Working closely with law enforcement, insurance companies, and attorneys, forensic nurses may be responsible for collecting evidence from crime victims, criminals, from dead bodies. Outside investigative work, forensic nurses may be instrumental in criminal research, and also serve as expert witnesses.
  • Nurse administrators work in a wide range of healthcare settings coordinating patient care, nursing modalities, conducting research, writing reports, interfacing with other healthcare professionals, and preparing budgets.
  • Nurse educators often seek their PhD degrees in order to be able to teach nursing at the graduate level. Nurse educators are in dire need. They may divide time between teaching and clinical work for the ability to pass on best practices and cutting edge skills to next generation nurses.
  • Psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialists are specially trained to work one-on-one with a wide range of mental health patient; from those with serious mental disturbances to individuals and groups with substance abuse problems and eating disorders.

Each of these curriculums prepares nurses to rise above the level of staff nurse, and to take on leadership roles critical to the advancement of nursing as a whole.


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