Masters Entry Programs - Is a BSN necessary to practice as an NP in some states?

  1. Hello,

    I am looking into various "Masters Entry" programs for people who have a non-nursing bachelors degree and want to become advanced practice nurses. I have noticed that some programs, such as Yale, Vanderbilt, UCSF, and Seattle University do not award a BSN on the way to RN certification and the MSN. Others, such as OHSU, do award the BSN. I have heard that there are some states that require a BSN in order to practice as an NP, but I have not been able to find any information about this. Does anyone know if the BSN is a formal or informal requirement in certain states to practice at the advanced level? Is it possible that graduates from the institutions that don't offer the BSN are less employable than their BSN holding counterparts?

    I have also heard that Oregon requires a certain amount of hours working as an RN before a NP can practice. Does anybody know if there are other states with similar requirements?

    Thank you for your input!

    Future Certified Nurse-Midwife
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    About junipers

    Joined: Aug '10; Posts: 50; Likes: 4


  3. by   NPinWCH
    I don't know about all states, but I can't see how you would need a BSN if you have the MSN. I know Yale issues a certificate of some kind that meets the Connecticut Board of Nursing's requirement to sit for the NCLEX. Once you pass the NCLEX you can be licensed as an RN in Connecticut and technically you should be able to apply for reciprocation as an RN in other states.

    You need an RN license to get your MSN and I believe that you need to have your RN license before you can start the final year of the Yale program and get your MSN. I assume the other schools you listed have similar rules in place and boards of nursing that accept that certificate.

    The formal rule to practice as an APN is an MSN and a passing score on a certification exam. There are plenty of direct entry APNs around.

    Oregon rules do say that any NP is required RN experience of a minimum of 384 hours before being licensed in the state, though if you work as an NP in another state for the same number of hours it also meets the requirement. More info on page six here:

    I'm a believer that RN experience is important, not necessary, but important. I'm not sure where the arbitrary number of 384 hours comes from, but I wish other states had similar stipulations...
  4. by   junipers
    Thank you NPinWCH for your thoughtful reply.

    I read somewhere on allnurses that there are areas (such as Philadelphia) where there is an abundance of NPs with BSNs looking for work, so major hospitals make it a policy to only hire NPs with BSNs. I would like to get a sense of how prevalent this is before I join a program that does not offer the BSN. Has anyone seen or heard of this practice? Is it widespread?
  5. by   NPinWCH
    I don't understand why anyone would look at the BSN for an advanced practice RN with a Master's degree. I mean no one asked me where I received my undergrad or what it was in, honestly no one asked where I received my MSN either; all they cared about when I interviewed was if I passed my certification exam.

    I know plenty of hospitals not hiring RNs without BSNs, but I honestly have never heard of any APRN being turned down because they didn't have a BSN. Now, some places prefer APRNs with RN experience, but once you have the MSN, in my mind at least, it supersedes the BSN. It's like a few people I know who went back to school to become teachers. They had undergrad degrees in chemistry, English, whatever and then got a master's in education. It was the master's that schools cared about.
  6. by   SkiBumNP
    I agree with what the previous two people said,
    I did a masters-entry program and i don't have a BSN.
    I know my MSN-FNP will be just what i need.

    that said, As an NP you will NOT be working as a NURSE.
    there is NOTHING to about nursing when you are practicing MEDICINE as an Nurse Practitioner.
  7. by   lweatherby
    I am a UPenn NP student. Yesterday we had a panel of nurse recruiters come to the school to talk to us about what they look for when hiring. There were 5 recruiters and all said that they will NOT hire a NP without nursing experience. However, they said nothing about the BSN. I don't think the BSN is a factor but at least in Philadlephia nursing experience is a factor.