MSN Programs North Carolina

Higher life expectancy and more complex conditions faced by today’s patients create a need for more nurses prepared at the level of the Master of Science In Nursing (MSN). Graduates can apply for approval or recognition as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in North Carolina and work collaboratively with physicians, dentists, and other healthcare providers to treat patients across the life span.

Many states have embraced independent practice for nurse practitioners, a category of APRNs. Sadly, NPs in North Carolina must practice collaboratively with a physician, which limits direct access to these capable providers of care. Several studies indicate that the care that NPs provide may be better than or equal to that of other providers. Still, the physician community in the state has been resistant to full practice for nurse practitioners. Full practice authority will increase the NP workforce in rural counties. Patients will have access to timely, patient-centered primary care within their communities.

APRNs play a vital role in improving the way patients receive care. Their track record for superior patient outcomes and high rates of patient satisfaction have heightened demands for their services in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, clinics, and long-term care settings. The job outlook is so optimistic that there’s an estimated six job openings for every new MSN graduate. The abundance of opportunities forces employers to step up their compensation packages thus creating better salaries, perks, and benefits for new graduates.

The MSN includes preparation for leadership roles, administrative roles, and opportunities to provide direct care with greater autonomy. Nurse practitioners who opt to work in primary care will find abundant opportunities to practice in clinics, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities in both urban and rural areas. Practitioners also have the flexibility to operate their own practices by joining forces with licensed physicians.

While returning to the classroom is not an easy decision for most nurses, many choose this option for career advancement. A specialized or leadership role may be appealing after years of general practice. Some advanced practice roles let nurses make diagnoses and prescribe medication. This ability to manage patients is rewarding for many nurses. Graduates may also apply for leadership roles where they will have a more significant influence on health care delivery and the overall health care system.

Taking on an expansive role in care gives MSN graduates greater negotiating power as it relates to their salary and benefits. The extensive knowledge, skill, and expertise demand higher wages than the traditional salary for BSN or ADN prepared nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, APRNs can command 6-figure salaries and are among the highest paid nurses in the industry. As an example, Nurse Anesthetists can earn more than $125,000 per year.

Working on nights, weekends, and holidays is not uncommon for nurses. The MSN degree will more than likely eliminate the odd work hours, which would lead to a healthy work-life balance. Graduates will also have a broader understanding of general practice as well as expert knowledge in their area of specialty. Their expertise will increase confidence in their ability to deliver quality care. Moreover, it will provide a firm foundation for advanced study at the Ph.D. or DNP level.

The MSN degree is ideal if you want to distinguish yourself as a top tier professional nurse, prepare for a doctoral degree, or improve your career prospects. The degree is essential for advanced practice or executive positions. Through the flexibility offered by online programs, you can create a schedule that works best with your existing commitments. Make sure to choose an accredited program that offers quality, rigor, and support with the convenience to work at your own pace.

Specialized Learning

Through the MSN program, registered nurses have the opportunity to develop expertise in a specialized area of practice and broaden their understanding of professional practice. For nurses entering at the BSN level, the curriculum will require completion of 35 to 42 credit hours of graduate coursework comprising of both theory and practical instruction. The coursework may be delivered entirely online or in a hybrid format. Students will need to allocate time for completing the clinical experiences.

At the conclusion of the program, graduates will be able to design client-centered care plans at the advanced practice level, assume accountability and responsibility for clinical decisions, influence the health of underserved populations, use evidence-based practice to improve outcomes and legal and ethical standards in practice, promote health through counseling, and demonstrate professional competence in advanced practice.

Popular specialties include adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, health care systems, pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, nurse anesthesia, nurse educator, public health nursing, and nurse administrator. Nurse practitioners form the largest category of APRNs in North Carolina. They are skilled in the implementation and evaluation of interventions in various health care settings. The program emphasizes evidence-based and collaborative patient care with the influence of economic, cultural, and ethics on health care delivery. In addition to the online courses, students will need to complete at least 600 hours of clinical rotation to prepare for a specialty role. Graduates of the MSN program may be eligible to sit a national certification exam depending on the chosen specialty area.

To obtain an MSN degree, you’ll have to choose from one of the following options:

RN to MSN: The program is open to nurses who hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing and want to earn an MSN degree without completing the BSN program. Students will complete the undergraduate requirements before commencing graduate study. After completing the prerequisites, students will follow the same plan as BSN entrants, which include completing the general and specialized courses. Some programs will award the BSN. To graduate from the program, nurses must complete approximately 72 credit hours based on the selected area of specialty.

Direct Entry MSN: The traditional pathway to entry is the most common. Applicants must have a BSN for admission. The curriculum will cover general nursing concepts like leadership, pharmacology, and health assessment, followed by specialization courses based on the chosen focus area. The total required credits will vary by program but generally requires completing of 35 to 42 credit hours that may be covered in just two years of full-time study.

Post-Master’s Certificate: Entry to the post-master’s certificate program requires a master’s degree in nursing from an accredited program. It offers students the opportunity to build expertise in a new nursing specialty that is related to or different from their existing specialty. The curriculum will cover theory and clinical coursework delivered in a hybrid format – students must be physically present for the clinical rotations.

Summary of Enrollment Criteria

  • Obtain admission to the graduate school
  • A current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
  • Professional experience as a registered nurse
  • A bachelor’s of science in nursing from a university accredited by CCNE AACN
  • An academic record of excellence indicated by a B average in the courses that are prerequisite to the graduate program
  • A minimum grade B in statistics, nursing research, community health, leadership, and health assessment
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • An interview with representatives from the Nursing Department

How Much Do MSN Programs Cost?

The approximate cost of tuition per credit for North Carolina residents enrolled in a public university is $250 plus fees. With the addition of fees and other expenses, the cost of the Master’s program will quickly add up. However, the investment will more than pay for itself if your salary increases soon after graduation. Students have the option to enroll either full-time or part-time in the program. Full-time students can complete the requirements for the degree in approximately two years while part-time students can take up to five calendar years to complete the program depending on their point of entry.

Requirements For Advanced Practice Registered Nurses North Carolina

The North Carolina Board of Nursing describes an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) as a registered nurse who is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Nurse Practitioner (NP). The candidate for approval/recognition must have completed a formal graduate nursing program to practice in any of the recognized categories. Additionally, a registered nurse license issued by the NCBON or another Compact State and a completed online application for approval/recognition in one of the categories must be submitted before practicing as an APRN.

Guidelines for Initial APRN Approval

Applications for initial licensure must be submitted online. You can check the status of your application via the Nurse Gateway and confirm the issuance of your license on the Board’s website. The following guide provides an overview of the requirements for registration and initial approval to practice. Take note that registration is required only once and does not confer authority to practice as a Nurse Practitioner in North Carolina. If you wish to practice, you must complete the one-time registration and the initial approval to practice application.

Registration:

  • The registration fee is $25 plus $100 per physician for a non-volunteer status (paid position), OR $20 per physician for volunteer status (non-paid position). The registration fee is non-refundable.
  • Payment must be made using a credit or debit card or electronic check
  • The Certificate of Registration will be emailed to your address after you have provided all the required documents

Initial Approval to Practice – Nurse Practitioner

To practice as a Nurse Practitioner, a registered nurse must apply for Registration and Approval to Practice with a collaborating physician. The application is reviewed and approved jointly by the North Carolina Board of Nursing and the North Carolina Medical Board.

  • Submit the application for Initial Approval to Practice online
  • Provide documentation of a permanent North Carolina RN license or a license from a Compact State that is valid for practice in North Carolina. If applying on the basis of a Compact License, you must submit compact license information on the Compact State Application
  • Provide the collaborating physician’s name, license number, and email address
  • Provide the practice information, such as name, address, phone, fax, and NC county
  • Complete the Identification Document and mail to the Board of Nursing. The form will be available after submitting your application online
  • Official transcript of a Master’s or higher degree in Nursing indicating a primary focus on Nursing from a nationally accredited graduate NP program
  • Verification of national certification as an NP – sent from the primary source. Acceptable organizations include ANCC, AANP, PNCP, AACN, or NCC
  • Verification of Nurse Practitioner licensure (form available after submission of your application) if applicable
  • A completed Claims Information Form to disclose any malpractice claims if applicable.

Prescriptive Authority

Prescriptive authority is included in the nurse practitioner approval. The prescriptive authority includes approval to prescribe legend drugs and Controlled Substance Schedules II – V that is consistent with your scope of practice and determined by the educational program and national certification.

A DEA number is essential for prescribing and ordering controlled substances. Apply for a number at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov or by calling 1 (800) 882-9539.

Initial Approval to Practice – Certified Nurse Midwife

To practice as a Nurse Midwife, a registered nurse must apply for Registration and Approval to Practice with a collaborating physician. The application is reviewed and approved jointly by the North Carolina Board of Nursing and the North Carolina Medical Board.

  • Submit the application for Initial Approval to Practice online
  • Provide documentation of a permanent North Carolina RN license or a license from a Compact State that is valid for practice in North Carolina. If applying on the basis of a Compact License, you must submit compact license information on the Compact State Application
  • Provide the collaborating physician’s name, license number, and email address
  • Provide the practice information, such as name, address, phone, fax, and NC county
  • Complete the Identification Document and mail to the Board of Nursing. The form will be available after submitting your application online
  • Official transcript of a Master’s or higher degree in Nursing indicating a primary focus on Nursing from a nationally accredited graduate nurse midwife program
  • Verification of national certification as a nurse midwife – sent from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)
  • Verification of Nurse Midwife licensure (form available after submission of your application) if applicable
  • A completed Claims Information Form to disclose any malpractice claims if applicable.

Initial Recognition – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

The North Carolina Board of Nursing verifies nurse anesthetists to execute the administrative rule for Nurse Anesthetist Practice. In short, CRNAs must complete an accredited program (Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia) and be credentialed by the Council of Certification of Nurse Anesthetists. They must also maintain recertification through the Council on Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists to practice as a CRNA in collaboration with a physician, dentist, Podiatrist, and other licensed healthcare providers.

  • Submit the application for Initial Recognition online
  • Pay the Initial Registration fee of $25 using a credit or debit card or e-check
  • Provide documentation of a permanent North Carolina RN license or a license from a Compact State that is valid for practice in North Carolina
  • Verification of current National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) Certification

Initial Recognition – Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialists not be recognized by the North Carolina Board of Nursing to practice as a CNS in North Carolina.

  • Submit the application for Initial Recognition online
  • There is no fee for this process
  • Provide documentation of a permanent North Carolina RN license or a license from a Compact State that is valid for practice in North Carolina
  • Verification of a master’s degree or in Nursing or related Master’s – official transcripts must be provided
  • Verification of current National Certification as a Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • If you do not hold CNS national certification from an accredited body, you will need to create a CNS portfolio and submit to the NCBON. The portfolio must contain three written professional recommendations – sent directly from colleagues – official transcript of master’s, post-master’s, or doctorate education, current curriculum vitae, and certificates indicating 75 hours of continuing education applicable to CNS practice in the previous 5 years.

Continuing Education Requirements for APRNs North Carolina

You must complete one of the following continuing competency requirements:

  • At least 15 hours of continued education and 640 hours of active practice
  • National certification or re-certification by an approved credentialing body
  • At least 30 contact hours of CEUs
  • An approved refresher course that is approved by the NCBON
  • At least 2 semester hours of nursing education related to your practice
  • At least contact hours of CEUs and a nursing project as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator
  • At least 15 contact hours of CEUs and authoring or co-authoring of an article, paper, books, or book chapter related to nursing
  • At least 15 contact hours of CEUs and developing and conducting a presentation or presentations related to nursing continuing education – must be at least 5 contact hours

APRN Renewal Requirements North Carolina

Registered nurses who are approved to practice as nurse practitioners in North Carolina must renew their approval to practice annually before the last day of their birth month. Renewal requires:

  • An active and unencumbered registered nurse license
  • Maintenance of certification as a nurse practitioner through a national credentialing body
  • The renewal fee of $50
  • A completed renewal application

Your approval to practice will lapse if it is not renewed by the last day of your birth month.

Contact the Board of Nursing

North Carolina Board of Nursing
4516 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607

Post Office Box 2129
Raleigh, NC 27602-2129

Phone: (919) 782-3211
Fax: (919) 781-9461

MSN Programs North Carolina

Boiling Springs, NC MSN programs:
Gardner-Webb University
110 S. Main St., P.O. Box 997, Boiling Springs, NC 28017
704-406-4000

Chapel Hill, NC MSN programs:
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carrington Hall, Campus Box #7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460
(919) 966-3731

Charlotte, NC MSN programs:
UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223
704-687-5507

Queens University
1900 Selwyn Ave, Charlotte, NC 28274
704-337-2200

Cullowhee, NC MSN programs:
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC
828-227-7211

Durham, NC MSN programs:
Duke University
2127 Campus Drive, Box 90065, Durham, NC 27708
919-684-8111

Greensboro, NC MSN programs:
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
1400 Spring Garden Street Greensboro, NC 27412
336-334-5000

Greenville, NC MSN programs:
East Carolina University
600 Moye Boulevard, Greenville, NC 27858-4353
252-744-6372

Hickory, NC MSN programs:
Lenoir- Rhyne University
625 7th Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601
828-328-1741

Mount Olive, NC MSN programs:
University of Mount Olive
634 Henderson Street, Mount Olive, NC 28365
1-844-866-4625

Pembroke, NC MSN programs:
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
1 University Drive, Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
910-521-6000

Wilmington, NC MSN programs:
UNC Wilmington
601 S. College Road, Wilmington NC 28403
910-962-3000

Wilson, NC MSN programs:
Barton College
101 Harper Hall, Barton College, P.O. Box 5000, Wilson, N.C. 27893
800-345-4973

Winston-Salem, NC MSN programs:
Winston-Salem State University
601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27110
336-750-2250

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