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Direct-Entry MSN Vs Accelerated BSN

There are multiple paths to a career in nursing, whether one is experienced or just getting started. For individuals without any nursing experience, schools can offer two options: a direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing or an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Read on to learn more about these programs.

Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing vs Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing

A direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing degree program is for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. Program curriculum combines courses that lead to registered nurse licensure and the training that allows students to work as nurse practitioners in various settings. Some schools require face-to-face study, while others blend on-campus and online instruction; many require several hundred hours of clinical practice hours. These programs can take two to three years to complete. Common courses in these programs include pathophysiology, health assessments for a variety of patients, and nursing leadership. This degree program prepares students for careers as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists or to continue into a Doctor of Nursing Practice terminal degree program.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

An accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is also an option for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in another field and want to move into nursing. Some of these programs take as little as five academic quarters of full-time study (15 months). Students can expect to complete around 60-72 credit hours in courses like health promotion, pharmacology, evidence-based practice, and nursing leadership. They must also complete clinical experience, in some cases up to 500 clock hours. This degree program can prepare students for to work in doctor's offices, hospitals, and nursing care facilities.

Degree ProgramProgram LengthProgram RequirementsRelated Careers
Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing2-3 years Bachelor's degree Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse Practitioner
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing 15 months Bachelor's degree Registered Nurse
Primary Charge Nurse

Direct Entry-MSN and Accelerated BSN Career Paths

Registered Nurse

A registered nurse must have a degree in nursing, and among those pathways is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Individuals in this position are responsible for coordinating patient care and ensuring that patients and their families understand treatment plans and what happens after treatment. They may also provide public education on a variety of health conditions and issues.

Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner must have a master's degree in nursing, have undertaken training in advanced clinical nursing, and be certified, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Nurse practitioners can order and interpret diagnostic tests and prescribe medications. Students can choose from several specialties as they work through their education, like family health, acute care, gerontology, or even pediatric nursing.

Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist prepares patients for anesthesia administration and provides related care before, during, and after procedures that call for either local or general anesthesia. They are responsible for determining what medications a patient might be on or if allergies exist that might cause problems when anesthesia is given. These advanced practice nurses are also responsible for monitoring patients throughout procedures and afterward, to ensure that there are no anesthesia-related problems that might otherwise be undetected. A master's degree in nursing with a nurse anesthesia specialization and certification from the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists are required for this career.

Nurse Midwife

A certified nurse midwife attends to women during pregnancy and childbirth. They may conduct gynecologic exams, help patients choose the right birth control for them, and deliver babies. A certified nurse midwife might work in a health clinic or in a hospital. These individuals must complete graduate-level midwifery programs. Certification as a Certified Nurse-Midwife is available through the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Job TitleMedian Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Registered Nurse$71,730 12%
Nurse Practitioner $107,030 28%
Nurse Anesthetist$167,950 17%
Nurse Midwife $103,770 16%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Admission Requirements for Direct Entry MSN and Accelerated BSN

These two degree programs have common entrance requirements, including a grade point average of at least 3.0, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. For accelerated BSN programs, students can be required to complete an in-person interview. Schools that offer an accelerated BSN or direct-entry MSN require an applicant to submit GRE scores, unless students meet certain requirements. Some schools require that an applicant for the direct-entry MSN live in the area or be willing to relocate. Applicants for those programs must also complete prerequisite courses, like microbiology, anatomy, nutrition, developmental psychology, among others.

Programs like an accelerated BSN or direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing can help students with a non-nursing degree begin careers in this field. These programs take 15 months to three years of study to complete, and students benefit from clinical experience throughout these programs.