Prospective nurse administrators should consider pursuing a Master's in Nurse Administration, along with all prerequisites, to further their nursing careers. While many students assume that an undergraduate degree will be enough to satisfy the application requirements, this is simply not the case. Here we discuss four requirements to enter into a Master's in Nurse Administration program.
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One of the requirements for a Master's in Nurse Administration is an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. While national accreditation is important for all institutions, students who graduate from a nursing program that is further accredited are preferred. The primary accrediting bodies for nursing programs are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE. To guarantee a quality nursing education, it is important to look for either of these accreditations in the program information for the school which you are considering. The undergraduate program in nursing must also be approved by the state board of nursing; generally speaking, nearly all programs are, but students should confirm this information.
Registered Nursing License
Another prerequisite for a graduate degree in nurse administration is an active Registered Nursing, or RN, license that is in good standing. This license is delivered through the successful completion of the NCLEX-RN exam, which licenses nurses to practice in their state. This demonstrates to the school that graduate applicants are serious about their work in the field and are committed to their education. Most schools will not accept students who have a lapsed or expired license, but a few may consider a student if the rest of their application is strong. Students are advised to discuss their options with a school counselor if this is their situation.
Work experience is required by nearly all graduate nursing programs. The time spent in the field can vary, but a good standard to follow is between three and five years. This requirement is important because students with work experience in the field are better equipped to handle advanced concepts and already have a familiarity with the workplace. And because licenses must be renewed every two years, it's enough work experience to indicate to a graduate program that the applicant is still committed to this service-oriented profession. As long as the work experience is in a medical or healthcare facility with the student working as a nurse, it will be accepted for this requirement.
Depending on how long a student has been out of college, there might be prerequisite courses that they are required to take before they move into the coursework for their graduate degree. This is because the nursing profession continues to change based on healthcare reform, changing the way that the field is taught at the college level. Additionally, with the introduction of electronic health records and other technologies, some students may find themselves behind on the necessary foundation needed to move through graduate coursework. It is rare that more than three prerequisite courses are required, but students are advised to contact their school to see what they need to complete before beginning the program.
Nurses are some of the most compassionate and dedicated professionals in the country. Through their tireless work, thousands of lives are saved every day. Any student interested in working as a nurse administrator should research the prerequisites and program options for a Master's in Nurse Administration.