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5 Online MSN Programs at NKU

There are all kinds of reasons for a nurse to pursue an MSN degree. An article in Nurse Journal listed as many as 25 different reasons for getting one. Better job prospects, higher pay and a longer career are among the most compelling.

At Northern Kentucky University, there isn't just one option for earning an MSN degree online -- there are six! That's because our MSN programs offer specializations tailored to a variety of roles in the healthcare landscape. All the programs include core courses that provide a solid baseline essential to a graduate nursing degree, along with program-specific courses, called concentration courses, placing the program's specialization in focus.

The courses are each seven weeks long, allowing sufficient time to learn and absorb the material, but also allowing the student to move through the program efficiently.

The Nursing Education concentration is geared toward those invested in teaching, be it to prospective nurses in a school setting, to current nurses in hospital education, or to patients. Specific areas of study in the 33-credit hour program -- which can be completed within 12 months -- include curriculum development and evaluation, teaching and learning, and the role of educators in a healthcare team, as well as clinically geared courses with an educator perspective.

The Executive Leadership concentration prepares nurses for administrative or supervisory roles within a healthcare institution. Though the 33-credit hour program shares core classes with the other degrees, the concentration courses focus on areas that leaders use in their long-term planning as well as their day-to-day duties. Course topics include organizational psychology, human resources management, strategic planning, and accounting and finance, preparing prospective leaders for the array of responsibilities they're likely to face in their careers.

The Family Nurse Practitioner concentration prepares MSN candidates for one of the most exciting options available to them -- providing primary healthcare services for people. While the program is more expansive than the first two, with eight core courses, six concentration courses, and five clinical courses in its 47-credit hour structure, it still allows candidates to graduate within two years -- as quickly as 22 months, in fact.

The Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner concentration is similar to the Family Nurse Practitioner program, except that it prepares aspiring nurse practitioners to work with an older population, and includes a concentration course focused on geriatric healthcare needs. However, the first three courses in the concentration sequence look at the health needs of adolescents as well as adults -- still preparing candidates to work with a diverse population of widely varying ages.

There's also an Adult Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner concentration, which involves the same population when it faces high-acuity needs. These nurse practitioners treat older patients with immediate, acute care needs, be they treatable in outpatient settings or require hospitalization. The 46-credit hour program includes four clinical residency courses and can be completed in just 20 months.

The sixth and final program on our list is the Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, which prepares nurse practitioners to work with all age groups facing both acute mental healthcare needs and chronic mental healthcare concerns. The program is particularly successful in preparing students to work in psychiatric care, judging from our students' 100 percent passing rate on the ANCC Family Psych NP exam. The coursework includes two Doctor of Nursing Practice-level courses; yet the whole program, including a series of clinical courses, can be completed in as few as 22 months.

If you're ready to transform your career and your life within two years, NKU has six different MSN pathways for you to choose from -- all giving you a solid foundation and a marketable specialty.

Learn more about NKU's online Master of Science in Nursing programs.


Nurse Journal: 25 Reasons to Get a Master's in Nursing

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