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Best Nursing Graduate Degrees

May 20, 2019

Nurses can continue their education by enrolling in a graduate program in nursing. Several specializations are available, including an executive track and health systems management.

There are many types of graduate degrees in nursing, including master's degrees and doctorates. Some of these programs have a specific concentration, while others are available online.

Nursing Graduate Degrees

Master of Science in Nursing - Education

This type of program prepares nurses to become nurse educators. Students can complete the program online anywhere from 11 to 26 months. The curriculum consists of core courses and nursing science and education courses. Some of the topics covered include translational research, organizational leadership, advanced nursing field experience, information management, and curriculum design. After completing a program like this, nurses can take the responsibility of teaching other nurses, students, children, patients, and community groups.

Master of Science in Nursing - Health Systems Management

Nurses will gain the knowledge that is needed to improve the quality of healthcare after completing a program like this. It usually takes less than two years to complete, and some schools offer both full-time and part-time schedules. Students generally complete between 35-58 credits to earn the degree. Some of the topics covered in this program include biostatistics, health informatics, healthcare planning, and leadership in healthcare.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Registered nurses will be prepared for a leadership role in healthcare after completing a doctoral program. This program can require up to 61 credit hours and 1,000 hours of a practicum. Many schools offer online courses. Some of the topics covered include translating evidence into practice, nursing informatics, healthcare economics, and methods of epidemiology. Also, students must complete a project that encompasses the whole program.

Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Anesthesia Concentration

Registered nurses will be able to perform procedures in a variety of clinical settings after completing this program. It can take 36 months to complete. It is usually a full-time program that consists of coursework and clinical rotations. Students may need to complete up to 83 credits to earn the doctorate degree. Some of the topics covered in this program include translating evidence into practice, effective leadership development, evaluating health care practices, healthcare finance, and health informatics.

Doctor of Nursing Practice - Executive Track

Registered nurses can shape healthcare policy after completing this program. It takes about two full years to complete around 40 credit hours. Most schools offer online and on-campus courses. Some of the topics covered in this program include evidence-based practice, planning care for populations, and nursing health leadership.

Program Admission Requirements

A bachelor's degree in nursing is usually required for admission to these programs, although a master's degree in nursing could be required for some of the doctoral programs. A nurse license is also needed for admission into some programs. A high GPA is required to stay competitive with other applicants, and some schools request GRE scores. Typically, schools ask for letters of recommendation, a resume, and a goal statement with a completed application. International students should submit their TOEFL scores.

There are a number of nursing graduate degrees, including a master's in nursing education, a master's in health systems management, a doctoral degree in nursing practice, and a doctorate of nursing with an anesthesia concentration. Many of these graduate programs have extensive admission requirements that must be met before nurses are accepted.


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