Confusion: MS or MSN?

  1. After looking at some nurse anesthetist schools' websites, I've noticed some say that in the end of the program, students will have either a MS or a MSN. What is the difference?
    Fore example, I live in Wisconsin and the crna program at UW Lacrosse (the only anesthetist program in Wisconsin) said something on their website about "further" steps to get the "MS" degree. I'm really confused.
    I thought that when you complete any nurse anesthetist program you automatically have received some type of Master's degree?
    When applying to these programs, should one ask the director of the program which degree will be conferred?
    What is the difference (if there is one) between the crna that has an MS or MSN (as far as scope of practice, compensation etc.)?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   TraumaNurse
    No difference in CRNA with MS or MSN, just a different masters degree. You are correct that all CRNA programs are masters but some are MSN and some are MS. The MSN will have more nursing theory but the degrees are very similar otherwise. When I applied to school, I could care less whether the degree I was getting was MS or MSN, I just want to be a CRNA! Hope this clears things up for you.
  4. by   missmercy
    Ditto! I got my MSN because I was interested in specifically having the Nursing emphesis in the education /administration tracts. But a MS works justt as well!!
  5. by   purplemania
    I bet the school has their catalog online. If not, call the Dean's office and ask someone to send you a brochure, etc. I like to know what I am getting in to before I start something. BTW, sounds like a good career plan!!
  6. by   llg
    The technical difference in degrees in general (BSN vs BS in nursing ... MSN vs MS in nursing) lies in what educational body confers the degree -- under what set of rules is the program goverened?

    If the university is organized such that the degree is conferred by the entire university (and is therefore governed by committees representing the entire university community), then the degrees are probably BS (Nursing major) and MS (Nursing magor). However, if the university is organized so that the professional schools such as nursing are separate entities, then the governance is less global and the school of nursing confers the professional degree of BSN or MSN.

    It rarely makes a difference except to those actually involved in the governance of the school.

    llg
  7. by   TraumaNurse
    llg,

    In the case of CRNA schools, the MS could be an MS in Biology or an MS in anesthesia and is not a 'nursing' degree at all. You must be an RN obviously, but you do not necessarily have to have a BSN to get into CRNA school depending on the type of masters degree awarded. No matter which degree you go for, in the end everyone has to meet the same requirements, writes the same boards, and can write the initials CRNA after their name.
  8. by   kestrel1121
    I have the info from UW Lacrosse-this is a hospital based program tied to UW-you get a MS in Biology so you must apply to both the hospital program and the UW Biology program. What they mean by the further stuff is that you must take so many biology credits thru UW (planned into the CRNA curriculum) to get the MS in Biology-call the director she was really nice and it was easy to get the info sent to me. Good Luck!
  9. by   pnurseuwm
    So how does a Master's in biology benefit a CRNA?
  10. by   jbro
    it has been my experience with the schools i've looked into that the MSN is about 6 months longer than the MS, due to extra nursing theory classes and research classes

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