Nursing FAQ

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These nursing FAQs may help answer your questions regarding nursing careers, salaries and more.

Q: I’m an LPN. Can I earn my LPN-to-RN or LPN-to-BSN online?

A:Yes. When looking for an LPN-to-BSN bridge program (or for any RN program), you should be careful to select one that is either approved by your state board of nursing, or accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). The NLNAC maintains national standards and criteria for nursing education programs. If your RN/BSN program is not approved by your state or the NLNAC, you will probably not qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.


Q: I’m an RN, but I earned my nursing license through a diploma program or an associate’s degree program. Can I complete an RN-to-BSN program online?

A: Yes. There are many online, RN-to-BSN programs available. More importantly, many of them may be accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).In the current job market, nursing employment and promotion opportunities are often reserved for candidates with bachelor’s degrees. RN-to-BSN programs can allow students to continue working while completing online coursework and locally-based clinical requirements.


Q: Can I complete an RN-to-MSN program online?

A: Yes. If you are an RN (even if you earned it through an ADN or diploma program), you may qualify for a master’s level nursing program. However, you may be required to take certain general electives before starting your degree, and the college may only admit students with an acceptable undergraduate G.P.A.


Q: I don’t have any nursing experience. Can I earn my RN or BSN online?

A: No. Online nursing degrees are designed for students who are already registered nurses (RNs), and who wish to supplement their nursing credential with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) or a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). If you have no nursing experience or education at all, one option is to start your training at an in-person program, offered though a hospital, a community college, or traditional college.


Q: I don’t have any nursing experience. Are there any online, health-related degrees available to new students?

A: Yes. People tend to think that all medical professionals are either doctors or nurses. In reality, there’s a sector full of people who help patients and administer healthcare, and many of them never studied nursing or advanced medicine. Online degrees help to prepare medical assistants, medical billers and coders, healthcare administrators, and even some types of counselors.


Q: I want to pursue an online master’s degree in nursing. What’s the difference between an MSN, an MS and an MBA in nursing?

A: Many colleges now offer online master’s degrees for registered nurses. Master’s level nursing programs differ a great deal, depending on which types of nurses and nursing professionals they prepare. Online master’s degrees can help prepare graduates to become certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse leaders, nurse educators, healthcare executives, nurse practitioners – in areas like adult health or family practice – and more.

When choosing the right degree, your first step should be to select the type of nursing career you want. Do you want to continue working directly with patients? Or are you more interested in administrative roles? Do you want to teach incoming nurses? Do you want to conduct research and work with policy makers?

RNs interested in continuing their clinical careers should look for master’s degrees that emphasize clinical study and clinical titles. If you have a specific clinical title in mind, it’s a good idea to contact enrollment advisors from the programs you’re considering, and ask if those programs will prepare you for any necessary licensing or certification exams.

RNs who hope to step back from direct patient care, and instead focus on health policy, medical informatics or organizational issues, should look for master’s degrees that emphasize management and administration.


Q: What is the DNP nursing degree?

A: The DNP (doctor of nursing practice) is a doctorate level degree for practicing nurses. DNP students study specialized issues in advanced practice nursing. You may be aware that some colleges previously offered the ND (doctor of nursing) degree, but all ND programs have since transitioned into DNP programs.

Until very recently, advanced practice nurses were educated as far as the master’s level, with MSN degrees being a standard for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. However, some nursing organizations and industry experts now believe these professionals could benefit from a doctoral degree. Moving forward, more and more advanced practice nurses may be required to obtain the DNP.


Q: Can I earn my DNP online?

A: Yes. Accredited, online DNP degrees are available in a variety of advanced practice specialties. However, students should be aware that significant, in-person time commitments are usually involved – either at the college campus, at an internship site, or both.

These nursing FAQs may help answer your questions regarding nursing careers, salaries and more.