If you are interested in becoming a nurse, but have no formal education in nursing, you are probably wondering how you can pursue a master’s in nursing without prior nursing experience. Believe it or not, because of the increasing demand for nurses and other allied health professionals worldwide, the number of universities and colleges offering accelerated and combined bachelor’s/master’s programs in nursing has greatly increased. Here is an overview of how you can get into one of these programs in order to become a nurse.
What are the general education requirements?
Most colleges that offer an accelerated bachelor’s or a combined bachelor’s/master’s program in nursing have pretty stringent requirements. With no prior training or experience in the field of nursing, most college require that you enter their program with a relatively high GPA, good test scores and good grades in science-based courses. Most accelerated programs require their students to have at least a 3.0 in their first two years of college, good ACT/SAT scores as well as at least a B- or better in science coursework such as chemistry, biology, human physiology and physics. Students are also required to have their core courses such as english composition, college algebra, and social studies, completed prior to entering an accelerated or combined program.
What is the coursework like for an accelerated program?
Once admitted into an accelerated program, students generally take courses such as community health, introduction to professional nursing practice, clinical nutrition, medical/surgical nursing, pharmacology, pathophysiology and ethics. After successful completion of these courses, students begin clinical rotations and are given the chance to experience different sectors of a nursing practice. This includes working in an emergency room, psych ward, nursing home, surgical ward, etc. Students can then start preparing for the NCLEX exam in order to become licensed registered nurses in the state in which they reside.
What are the typical salaries for nurses?
Nurses are in high demand and are making really great salaries according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, the average median salary for a nurse was over $65,000 a year, with nurses in large metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago making way well over $70,000. It is easier to make this type of money in a large city that is plagued with social problems, for example, gun violence that creates a high demand for emergency room nurses. According to the Department of Labor, the demand for nurses is expected to grow by 19 percent over the next 10 years and there will be a creation of over 500,000 jobs in the next decade.
When finished with an combined program, your master’s degree in nursing allows you to become a nurse practitioner. The increasing demand for nurses makes this a career worth considering if you have always had a long-lasting passion for medicine and working with people. Not to mention, you will make a lot of money doing it. It is definitely possible to get a master’s in nursing without having prior nursing experience.