For a long time, registered nurses have excelled behind the scenes, quietly performing the essential administrative and clinical duties that facilitate effective health care delivery. However, in recent years, these medical professionals have begun to receive more attention due to growing patient populations and declining numbers of primary care physicians. Over the next dozen years, the demand for medical care is expected to rise exponentially while hospital and private practice rosters shrink, culminating in a physician shortfall of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors, according to research from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Consequently, many health care organizations are looking toward advanced-practice nurses to fill these voids, analysts for the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered.
This development has catalyzed growth in the nursing profession, opening new opportunities for RNs to move up in their careers and take on more responsibilities. The employment market for advanced-practice nurses such as nurse practitioners is expanding at a rate of 31 percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, RNs must obtain graduate degrees in order to take advantage of the overwhelming need for NPs and other equally educated nursing professionals. For example, more than 97 percent of U.S.-based NPs hold master’s degrees, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) found.
With this in mind, aspiring advanced-practice nurses must seek out the graduate educational tracks that can offer the clinical knowledge and experience they need to move up the ladder. The Online Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Bradley University is a quality program for aspiring advanced-practice nurses. The instructional track provides students with insight into the practical and conceptual topics that buttress modern clinical operations.
Here are some of the variables that set the MSN-FNP program apart at Bradley:
A holistic instructional outlook
Many graduate nursing programs focus on specific clinical skills that help RNs perform better within clinics, hospitals and units. The MSN-FNP program at Bradley does this as well, however, students spend an equal amount of time grappling with issues affecting health care here and abroad.
For example, those studying at Bradley have the opportunity to dissect modern health care policy in NUR 640 and explore the ethical and legal factors that affect health care delivery in the U.S. in NUR 510. The MSN-FNP track at Bradley also addresses large-scale clinical topics such as the development of evidence-based care and health informatics. Both are immensely important in today’s health care environment. The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and resulting patient-centered care revolution have pushed care providers to adopt data-based processes that not only lead to better health care outcomes but also facilitate increased return on investment for patients. The health care information technology market is expanding at an annual growth rate of more than 15 percent and is expected to surpass the $280 billion mark by 2021, according to research from MarketsandMarkets. Bradley understands that these trends will impact care delivery and, by extension, aspiring advanced-practice nurses, and invests in considerable instructional assets to meet such changes.
This does not mean the MSN-FNP program fails to provide skill-based education. Students participate in courses like NUR 501, which offers guidance on advanced nursing theories, as well as NUR 638, a two-part class on the particulars of acute and chronic care. An estimated 6 percent of NPs work with patients suffering from acute conditions, according to the AANP. Students also participate in NUR 651 and 652, both of which cover advanced pharmacology techniques. These courses are critical, as NPs hold prescriptive authority in all 50 states, the American Medical Association (AMM) reported. NUR 644, NUR 646 and NUR 648, which touch on women’s health, children’s health and aging populations, respectively, are also important, forming the bedrock of the MSN-FNP program at Bradley.
The program covers softer competencies centered on health care leadership as well. NPs and other advanced-practice nurses often act as clinical leaders, working with patients and developing care plans while also directing other staff. Bradley helps RNs gain the skills needed to manage teams through NUR 505, Leadership in Health Care Delivery.
These courses constitute a unique, multifaceted curriculum designed to equip RNs with all-encompassing, holistic skill sets.
Hands-on clinical work
The MSN-FNP program at Bradley University does not end with the submission of final coursework. Students must navigate a clinical experience before claiming their diplomas. The program includes five preceptor-managed clinical practicums where students can put the practical experience they gained during the MSN-FNP to use in actual nursing situations.
These bookend students to hone and deploy the holistic skill sets they developed over the course of the program, empowering them to enter the workforce knowing they can apply what they have learned in the classroom outside of it.
RNs can gain the skills and knowledge they need to carve out new career tracks by enrolling in the Online Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner Program from Bradley University. Nurses can expand their knowledge on a wide range of topics, ranging from advanced health assessment techniques to health care policy, all without stepping foot on campus. Five preceptor-supervised, locally-administered clinical practicums bookend the 65-hour degree track, which has achieved accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
The online MSN-FNP program at Bradley is the ideal choice for registered nurses hoping to move upward mid-career and expand their skill sets to better serve their patients. Prospective students can find more information on the program at the Bradley University website.