Online Masters In Nursing: 5 Things to Know

Deciding to take an online masters in nursing is a great step in advancing your career and nursing knowledge. The msn np programs can help prepare you to work in a number of specialized nursing fields, open up more career opportunities, as well as the chance to help a huge range of people.

Best Online Master's Degrees in Nursing

Whether you are currently an RN looking to move to the next step in your career or are just starting to plan your nursing education pathway, online masters can be a cost-effective and flexible option to help you achieve your dream nursing job. Here are just a couple of things to know about online masters in nursing.

What are the programs?

The msn np programs are BSN to MSN-NP degrees that are designed to help practicing RN move into specialized areas of advanced nursing. They help you becoming NPs, providing you with the clinical expertise to prevent, assess, treat, and manage acute and chronic diseases.

The msn np programs are flexible and fit around your job and shift pattern, allowing you to work and study at the same time. They can take 24-30 months, depending on which of the following pathways you choose.

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree, 28 months to complete.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Degree, 30 months to complete.
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Degree, 28 months to complete.
  • Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner Degree, 24 months to complete.

Within each program, there are a range of courses, such as Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Practice and a Moral and Ethical Decision-Making residency which can be taken one at a time, with a week’s break in between.

This is the 7-1-7 model and is a flexible study model that allows you to study a course for 7-weeks, break for 1-week, and then study the next course. There are also various entry requirements, so it is important to make sure you meet them. They include.

  • 3.0 GPA.
  • Unrestricted and unencumbered current nursing license from the state that you are employed in.
  • BSN degree from a regionally accredited institution or nursing program, either CCNE or NLN. If you’re still needing a BSN, you can complete your RN to BSN degree online.

Even if you do not yet meet the requirements, msn np programs are a useful course to have in mind for the future, as it is important to plan out your educational journey in order to be prepared. Doing this can help you create a clear path towards your career goal.

How to become a nurse

Training to become a nurse takes many years of hard work, dedication, and education. Before you even consider msn np programs, you will have to complete the following.

  1. BSN degree.
  2. RN license.
  3. Clinical experience.

At this stage, you may have an idea as to the area of nursing you would like to work in. General nursing and clinical experience can help you understand where your strengths and passions are. From here, you can complete.

  1. MSN degree.
  2. National Certification Exam.
  3. State license.

Once you have successfully done all of this, you will be an NP in a specialized area of nursing. Some NP roles may also require you to have a DNP, which means you will have to undertake further training and education in order to gain the correct qualifications.

Skills you will need

You will be aware of the various skills and traits that nursing requires and will most likely have the majority of them.

These skills, however, can always be developed, and msn np programs can help you understand how to apply them in the new situations you may find yourself in your new role. Important skills for nurses include.


Nursing is a very physically demanding job. You will be on your feet for many hours, lifting and moving patients and equipment; therefore, it is important to be physically fit and healthy. In addition to physical stamina, nurses also need to have emotional stamina, as this helps you keep both yourself and your patients healthy.

You may be working in high-pressure situations with distressed patients or family members, and emotional stamina is vital to ensure that you treat each patient with the same level of care and can also help to combat problems such as compassion fatigue.


Nurses constantly communicate with many people, including other medical professionals, patients, family members, or the public. Therefore, excellent communication skills are required, and this includes talking, listening, and observing.

Nursing frequently involves educating patients and their families in regards to their health, so you may find yourself having to explain more complex information to people who do not have the same level of medical understanding as you. The ability to adapt your communication in order to accommodate this is vital.


Empathy and compassion are two of the core attributes of a nurse. The Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person in order to better understand their thoughts and feelings. Compassion is the combination of sympathy and the desire to fix whatever is causing the person pain or distress.

Nurses display compassion and empathy every day. Empathetic nurses can make patients and their families feel calmer and more comfortable in what can sometimes be upsetting or traumatic situations.


Patient advocacy is at the heart of the Hippocratic Oath. An advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of those who can’t, and in terms of nursing, this means promoting patient equality, preserving human dignity, providing freedom from suffering, ensuring that patients have the right to make decisions in regards to their own health.

Nurses should be concerned with keeping patients safe and providing the highest level of care.


In the medical industry, techniques and methods are always developing. Nurses need to be prepared to willing and able to constantly learn, regardless of the level of their job or how long they have been practicing. Being adaptable and open to learning ensures that you are always offering the highest and most up-to-date levels of care.

These are only a fraction of the skills that contribute to making you a great nurse. Knowing how to apply and develop these skills can help you thrive in any nursing role. Nursing requires a combination of personal skills and technical knowledge in order to provide a high level of care and support, both physically and emotionally.

Potential career outcomes

The msn np programs can prepare you to work in a wide range of nursing fields that require advanced training. These programs prepare you to work as a Nurse Practitioner or NP.

There are many differences between RNs and NPs. NPs are mid-level practitioners whose primary function is to promote wellness through educating patients about their health.

NPs are non-physician clinicians, which means that they take on many of a medical doctor’s diagnostic and clinical functions, despite not being trained as one. In some states, NPs can practice independently, without the supervision of a physician. The title NP is usually combined with other specialisms, to signify that which are that NP is trained in.

Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Work with patients of all ages and genders, across all body systems and diseases.
  • Prioritize in preventative health care.
  • Can also treat serious illnesses.
  • Assessing and diagnosing patients.
  • Managing treatment plans.
  • Prescribing medication.
  • Educating patients.
  • Can work in a variety of setting, including hospitals, internal medicine clinics, and private practices.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Work with patients from newborns to young adults (around 21 years old).
  • Focus on both primary care acute care.
  • Work to maintain patient health.
  • Can prescribe medication.
  • Perform physical assessments and developmental check-ups.
  • Treat various illnesses and injuries.
  • Provide emotional support and advice to patients and their families.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

  • Trained to provide a range of mental health services to many different people.
  • In some states can practice without the presence of a psychiatrist.
  • Work settings can include schools, prisons, substance abuse programs, and trauma centers.
  • PMHNPs can generalize or specialize in areas including children and young adults, forensics, geriatrics, or psychotherapy.
  • Patient assessments and diagnoses.
  • Prescribing medications.
  • Conducting therapy.
  • Educate families and staff.
  • Act as consultants.

Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner

  • Provide health services to young adults and upward.
  • Can specialize in acute care or primary care (these msn np programs prepare you to be the latter).
  • Primary care focuses on treating those who are not usually ill.
  • Maintaining the health of the patient through the promotion and encouragement of healthy life choices makes up a large part of this job.
  • Managing transitions between care settings.
  • Assessing the competence of caregivers.
  • Educating patients and caregivers.

These are the advanced areas of nursing that the msn np programs can prepare you to work in, becoming a versatile and highly skilled individual who can provide a high level of care and support to the wide ranges of patients that you will treat.

Online learning benefits

The msn np programs use blended learning to deliver high-quality education at home and practical opportunities in the workplace. The ability to learn online has a multitude of benefits, making it an accessible way to study for the qualifications you need to expand your career.


When you study online, your actual location is less of a barrier. If your local institutions do not offer the type or level of course you need, you may be forced to change your plans.

Furthermore, they may not also offer a flexible studying option, which could lead you to make some big sacrifices to study. The msn np programs allow you to study as much as possible online, from the comfort of your own home.


Online learning allows you more control over your learning environment and pace, which can be very beneficial for the enjoyment and efficiency of your learning. Suppose you do not enjoy learning in a classroom or lecture environment or are unable to commit to full-time, in-person education.

In that case, online learning or blended learning could be the perfect option for you. Self-paced learning means you can take your time to absorb information, go over any parts you don’t understand, and feel more comfortable asking questions.


Studying can be very expensive, which makes it financially unviable for many people. There are plenty of costs involved, such as tuition, accommodation, living costs, and travel, but with online courses, you could remove or reduce some of these.

Online courses and degrees are cheaper than their in-person counterparts and you may still be eligible for financial support from your university.

If you are doing most of your learning from home, you also won’t have to worry as much about commuting or renting campus accommodation. This makes education a lot more affordable and accessible.

Furthermore, the flexible nature of the msn np programs means that you can continue to work and earn money alongside completing your studies.

Soft skills

The msn np programs will, of course, teach you the detailed and advanced technical skills that you need to work in your specialist area. You will also get the opportunity to develop important soft skills. These are a set of transferable, personal skills that look good on your resume and can help you succeed in any workplace.

Soft skills include attributes such as communication, time management, problem-solving, self-motivation, and teamwork. Some of these are particularly useful for nurses, such as organization.

You will know that nurses have to be organized, as they often have multiple patients and need to treat each with the same level of professionalism and high-quality care. When learning online, organization is also important to ensure that your studying is completed to a high standard while continuing to work.

Studying an msn np can help you become a capable NP, providing high levels of care and support to a huge range of people. This could be on an individual, group, or community scale.

Msn np programs can prepare you to work in a range of roles, opening up opportunities for career and personal development. The courses provide a flexible and accessible learning option that can help you on your way to working in your ideal nursing position or role.

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About the author

Arpita Patel

Arpita Patel is an active tech and food blogger. She has Masters degree in computer science from Mumbai University. She has contributed a number of great and informative articles to the internet. Apart from blogging she loves music, movies, outdoor games, cycling and helping people.