If you are considering getting your BSN or MSN-FNP, then you are passionate about the nursing field and helping people. As you plan to take the next step to further your career by going back to school, you must decide whether to pursue a BSN or MSN-FNP. To help determine which one is the best fit, let’s start by defining each one.

The RN to BSN Degree

Many RNs are looking to get their BSN degree. BSN is an acronym for Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It is a requirement for a professional nursing practice, which may interest you. 

In the coming years, it is likely that a growing number of hospitals will hire nurses who have a BSN or higher. Thus, many RNs are furthering their education while continuing to work full time so that they can stay competitive in the workforce.

An RN to BSN degree provides a bridge to improve your clinical reasoning skills, as well as your analytical reasoning abilities. The program continues from the original degree by adding to your existing knowledge of healthcare by pointing out social, political, and cultural issues that influence your ability to administer quality patient care.

This type of program typically takes two years to complete, depending on the specific school and your experience level. They can be online, either completely or partially. 

BSN to MSN Degree

A BSN-MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) degree program is also often available online, either fully or partially. The curriculum focuses on certain nursing areas, such as teaching, management, administration, and research. Like the BSN, the MSN program is usually about two years in length.

A person holding an MSN can expect to work in a range of healthcare settings, which explains its popularity. The specialized degree enables you to work as a registered nurse, as well as an educator. 

Having this variety of job functions can keep the job from becoming boring and stop you from feeling stuck working in only one type of healthcare area. What’s more, the master’s degree puts you on the path to advancing further to an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) specialty.

BSN to MSN-FNP Degree

After completing the BSN, you might decide to move onto an MSN-FNP (Master of Science – Family Nurse Practitioner) degree, which is a specialized version of the traditional MSN. In this case, you can expect to complete about two years of higher education to get the additional credential. 

An online BSN to MSN program with a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty from a reputable school like Marymount University provides you with the ability to continue working or fulfill other responsibilities while going to school. Being able to further your education without giving up work is possible with the flexibility that comes from attending a good school. 

Clinical hours are also a requirement, and Marymount University provides you with a Placement Coordinator who starts the placement process. This coordinator works with you to find quality placement sites and fits the rotation hours within your schedule.

As an FNP, you can work with infants, young children, and other family members. During the curriculum, you will learn how to diagnose and treat specific medical conditions and about preventative healthcare, as well as developing analytical thinking skills and principles of ethical leadership.

With this degree specialty, you can expect to work in a range of settings, including private medical practices, urgent care settings, health clinics at work sites, and research departments in healthcare facilities.

BSN vs. MSN-FNP Degree: What is Your Dream Career?

While you can get the BSN and enjoy a satisfying career, you might want to move further in your career and explore more options. In this case, a Master of Science – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree is an option to consider. 

As a BSN to MSN-FNP program graduate, your focus is on family care. You can work either in clinical settings or in an indirect care area. For example, you can work within a primary care practice for families and individuals, providing care based on the evidence-based approaches that you studied in school. 

Rather than being restricted to only working with seniors or only with children, you can treat family members of any age, which is an empowering feeling. Providing primary care to children, seniors, women, and adults is a big responsibility, but it feels amazing to be able to make a positive difference health-wise in someone’s life.

Delivering nursing care that encourages health and helps reduce risks of illness makes for a very rewarding career. If you have been thinking about how to help people in more extensive ways than as an RN or BSN, the MSN-FNP degree can provide you with the credentials to do so.

Or, perhaps you want to delve into the field of research. You might envision future years building a more evidence-based practice and improve the healthcare system locally, or on a broader level, and the MSN-FNP degree provides you with the background to do that. 

Take the nursing theory you have under your belt and combine it with practice principles to improve patient care. Understanding the latest healthcare technologies and how best to deliver them is also an important part of this career path.

As is becoming clear from reading this, you now can see that a Master of Science in Nursing education looks at nursing as a whole; meanwhile, a traditional MSN and an MSN-FNP program focus more on a specific field of nursing. The MSN programs typically offer more opportunities to grow than BSN, even while you are attending school. You might find, for example, that you are moved to a different department so that you can start to use your newfound skills and information learned in recent courses.

More about What to Expect as an FNP 

Family Nurse Practitioners, as earlier explained, provide primary health care services to people of any age. From performing physical exams to ordering specific tests to help with finding the correct diagnosis, as well as diagnosing and treating diseases, this career is one with varied responsibilities. Each activity can have a profound impact on the life of someone else, which means an FNP can enjoy a fulfilling profession.

An MSN-FNP graduate can also prescribe medicine, making this position as close to that of a doctor as possible. Another critical role of the Family Nurse Practitioner is to educate patients on what a healthy lifestyle entails, thus empowering them and helping create positive change.

In this exciting role, you are also likely to connect emotionally with many patients, as well as their families. For those who have serious illnesses, you may find yourself having lengthy discussions with family members, for example, about their loved one’s health condition and treatment plan. You will also help them understand effective ways to support their family member based on what you learned at university.

Financial Expectations of BSN vs. MSN

While you do not go into the nursing field for financial reasons, a good income can help make life more comfortable for you and your family. When you have savings, you can enjoy vacation time and save toward your kids’ education, your retirement, and other goals that are important to you.

If you are wondering what you can expect in terms of your future income after going back to school and graduating, the following details will help create a fuller picture for you. If you get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and work as a registered nurse, you can expect to earn, on average, $73,300 per year, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The yearly income increases significantly for someone holding an MSN degree with a specialty as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the annual wage for a Nurse Practitioner to be $115,800 in the US. While that number varies slightly by state, it is the average wage.

Earning roughly an extra $40,000 per year is a sizeable boost. It can help you enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle than if you stopped your education at a lower nursing level. Knowing that you can potentially earn this respectable income over the many years of your career makes school well worth it in many ways. The schooling is an investment in your future, and any bills accumulated during those years will be ones you’re able to pay down when you begin to earn a mean hourly wage of $55.67, as opposed to $35.24 per hour, on average, for a registered nurse (BLS). 

Job Outlook: BSN vs. MSN-FNP

There is plenty of growth projected for the registered nurse occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field that a BSN graduate would work in is one that the BLS expects to grow by 12 percent by the year 2028. That rate of growth is significantly faster than the average 5% growth of other industries.

So, how does this outlook compare to that of an MSN-FNP grad? These master’s degree holders can expect to work in a field with an even higher projected growth than BSN alumni. The BLS estimates a 26% growth for a Nurse Practitioner by 2028, as opposed to the 12% increase in the Registered Nurse job outlook. That is more than double.

Thus, the picture is clear: Someone who graduates from a BSN to MSN program will be in high demand in the US, regardless of the specific state. Knowing that you have this job security in the future can help you make the decision to go back to school. 

Rather than spending your school years worrying about whether your job hunt will land you a position relating to your education, now you can take comfort in knowing the opportunities are many, and that they are growing in number. Plus, you will get clinical placements during your program, and sometimes the employer keeps you on after you graduate, so you may even have a job by the time you graduate.

Finding the Right Graduate Program

Once you make up your mind about whether to pursue a BSN or MSN-FNP program, you must look further at the admission requirements. That way, you can ensure that you get into the desired program.

For example, Marymount University online requires a BSN with a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) for consideration for the school, as well as an unencumbered RN license. Also, the clinical practicum courses cannot begin until you have two years of work experience under your belt. 

Further to those educational requirements, the admission committee mandates that you provide a professional essay, video introduction, and two recommendation letters. These materials help to establish your desire to enter and complete the program in full, as well as showing that you will be a strong future leader in the nursing community. These things are as valuable as your academic standing, which is shown through a high GPA. 

When choosing the right university for you, also look at the school’s reputation. For example, make sure that the MSN-FNP program is CCNE-accredited. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education contributes to improving public health, and this standard is one that you must look for to know you are attending a high-quality nursing program. Marymount University has this accreditation, as well as providing its curriculum online, which could also be important to you.

If you are pursuing a higher education program and do not want to stop working, an online nursing program is probably your ideal option. It means that you can balance work and school, as well as family obligations. Continuing to have income as a student and have the flexibility to do the coursework during the hours that work for you are two significant advantages of online education.

Final Words on the Best Nursing Program for You

The guide above explains in detail the differences between a BSN program and an MSN-FNP program, as well as what you can expect from the job market after graduation. Finding a school that is a good fit for you is just as important as the program itself, and an online school is the best option for many students today.