Entry into Practice: Direct Entry MSN Programs - page 9

by VickyRN Asst. Admin

67,186 Visits | 128 Comments

Direct entry masters in nursing programs offer a rapid entrance into both the profession of nursing and advanced nursing practice. These unique programs are also known as entry-level or alternate entry nursing masters programs.... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from jd2nursing
    The DE program I will be starting in January is a 3-year MSN-FNP program. The first two years are spent on RN courses and obtaining your RN license. So, while you don't receive a BSN degree as an interim step, you do indeed get your RN. So if you chose to quit at that point, while you would not take away a BSN or MSN, you would keep your RN. I would imagine that is typical of DE programs that do not confer a BSN in addition to the MSN.
    Thank you, jd2nursing, for reinforcing this important point. It is the same in the direct entry MSN program at my college of nursing. If one quits the program after receiving RN licensure and does not go on the attain the MSN, the RN licensure is not rescinded. The student simply has no academic degree with the RN. My college's program does not award a BSN at the halfway point.
    Last edit by VickyRN on Sep 20, '09
  2. 2
    Quote from VickyRN
    Thank you, jd2nursing for reinforcing this important point. It is the same in the direct entry MSN program at my college of nursing. If one quits the program after receiving RN licensure and does not go on the attain the MSN, the RN licensure is not rescinded. The student simply has no academic degree with the RN. My college's program does not award a BSN at the halfway point.
    This is something I want to check into myself before I start my BSN to PhD program (hopefully in January, IF I get accepted.) Many of the classes for the BSN to PhD track are the same as what one would take at this school's traditional MSN program. I am definitely committed to getting my degree but I see a disadvantage in that I probably would not be able to teach at a program that requires instructors to have master's degrees. If I end up having to complete my MSN, at least I'd be able to teach at a program while finishing up the doctorate. (On the other hand, if I do get into the program of my choice, I am most likely not going to work but am going to take as full a credit load as I can so I can graduate sooner and get back into the workforce.)

    I think every nursing program, regardless of what sort of educational preparation it provides, requires commitment but it's really a pain when life circumstances cause someone to have to stop out of the educational process for a while and that person ends up in limbo. The perfect example here is the DEMSN student who, for whatever reasons, might not be able to finish the master's part of the program at that time, is an RN but does not have the academic credentials of either a BSN or an MSN. Obviously someone who would decide that advanced practice nursing was not his/her path would be better off to transfer to a BSN program rather than stopping at the RN part of the DEMSN program. But the person who has to stop for other reasons is stuck in a pretty difficult situation.

    I have a question for the DEMSN students here: do you find that your programs are good at student retention? Do you feel that the faculty is mostly supportive? The reason I ask is because on AN, there are often so many horror stories about students, usually in entry-level programs, who fail out of their programs by half a percentage point, sometimes in their very last semester, or get dropped because of minor transgressions like wearing the "wrong" shoes to clinical or being five minutes late to clinical when policy stated that they had a ten-minute window. When I taught, I knew some instructors who almost seemed proud of the number of students that they failed; they seemed to think the students weren't "tough enough" to become nurses. I certainly understand weeding out those students who have little aptitude for nursing and am sure that there are, in every program including DEMSN, some students who probably should not be there. And obviously, a student who should not be a nurse should not be a nursing student. But sometimes, especially considering how competitive admission to nursing programs can be, I wonder if faculty is doing everyone a disservice by trying to "weed out" students all the way until they finish. For those of you who are DEMSN students or graduates, do you feel that the program you attend (or attended) tried to keep students in the program or have you also had to fight faculty who seemed hell-bent on getting students out of the program rather than helping them to succeed? (I would certainly think that if a student has the intelligence, maturity and commitment to get into a DEMSN program, that student probably is indeed "tough enough" to be a nurse, KWIM? And if you aren't familiar with the "weeding out" process to which I am referring, do please look at some of the student threads to see some examples---that is, if you have the time!) Thanks in advance for your input.
    kanzi monkey and VickyRN like this.
  3. 3
    43 started out in my DE program and only two left-1 for grade issues and 1 for personal reasons. I think the faculty were pretty supportive and certainly did not try to make people fail. They told us they did not accept any student who they did not think would be successful in the program. And it's not like they were begging for applicants-my class had over 500 applications for the 43 spots. We had to maintain at least an 84 average our first year, and there were plenty of resources to help us, if you chose to use them. We didn't have any silly rules about clinical either. If you missed a clinical, you had to make it up, but nothing about stupid things like shoes..lol. That being said, it was a tough program that required a huge commitment, and there wasn't much handholding at all. The one person who did not make the cut because of grades was certainly intelligent, but lacked the commitment and maturity needed to focus. I don't understand why professors/programs would "try" to flunk students. I would think that would be a poor reflection on the school and discourage future students from applying.
    mzaur, kanzi monkey, and VickyRN like this.
  4. 2
    The students in my college's direct entry MSN program are treated professionally. The retention rate is very high in this student-friendly program.

    Moogie, in my very limited experience as faculty, I have found ADN programs to be the least supportive to students and most likely to use the "weeding out" philosophy with draconian expectations of students. The vast majority of ADN programs are supportive of their students; I'm just saying that the "Nurse Ratched's" of the educational world are more likely to be found in these type programs.

    Generally, the higher up the educational "food chain," the more respect is afforded to students. Most BSN or MSN programs try very hard to be student-friendly and retain their students.

    Of course, mean-spirited and abusive individuals in faculty roles may be found anywhere. They just tend not to last very long in institutes of higher learning.
    Last edit by VickyRN on Sep 20, '09
    Moogie and kanzi monkey like this.
  5. 3
    Quote from BCgradnurse
    43 started out in my DE program and only two left-1 for grade issues and 1 for personal reasons. I think the faculty were pretty supportive and certainly did not try to make people fail. They told us they did not accept any student who they did not think would be successful in the program. And it's not like they were begging for applicants-my class had over 500 applications for the 43 spots. We had to maintain at least an 84 average our first year, and there were plenty of resources to help us, if you chose to use them. We didn't have any silly rules about clinical either. If you missed a clinical, you had to make it up, but nothing about stupid things like shoes..lol. That being said, it was a tough program that required a huge commitment, and there wasn't much handholding at all. The one person who did not make the cut because of grades was certainly intelligent, but lacked the commitment and maturity needed to focus. I don't understand why professors/programs would "try" to flunk students. I would think that would be a poor reflection on the school and discourage future students from applying.
    Huge to your school! It's only LOGICAL to accept students who are most likely to be successful and, once those students are in the program, to facilitate their learning, not set up a series of hoops through which they must jump in order to get to the next educational level. It also sounds like your school understood what it means to be an adult learner. I think the programs in which students are in constant fear of flunking out are stuck in an outdated, paternalistic educational mode, the old mindset of "nurses' training" of the heyday of the pre-feminist, hospital-based (as opposed to college-based) programs in the 1950s and 1960s that promoted the notion of the physician as captain of the ship and nurse as handmaiden rather than autonomous professional.

    Adult learners do not need their hands held or to be spoon-fed what they need to know. They are expected to take ownership of their education and the instructor does not fill their head with information; he/she facilitates the learning process.

    I must admit to an ulterior motive for asking this question. I was not real happy teaching in an environment in which faculty seemed more willing to flunk out students rather than try to retain them and help them to learn. The school at which I taught was very competitive and admitted only a fraction of the applicants---indeed the school's reputation did suffer but because it's hard to get into any nursing program these days, there were never too few applicants to fill the open spots. It just seems to me to be a waste of everyone's resources, then, to keep trying to weed out students (other than those who are obviously in the wrong place) rather than to try to help them learn to the best of their abilities. When I finally do finish my neverending degree, I might want to teach in a DEMSN program. It sounds like it could be very satisfying, not only for students but also for faculty. Again, thank you for your input!
    kanzi monkey, BCgradnurse, and VickyRN like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from Moogie
    Huge to your school! It's only LOGICAL to accept students who are most likely to be successful and, once those students are in the program, to facilitate their learning, not set up a series of hoops through which they must jump in order to get to the next educational level. It also sounds like your school understood what it means to be an adult learner. I think the programs in which students are in constant fear of flunking out are stuck in an outdated, paternalistic educational mode, the old mindset of "nurses' training" of the heyday of the pre-feminist, hospital-based (as opposed to college-based) programs in the 1950s and 1960s that promoted the notion of the physician as captain of the ship and nurse as handmaiden rather than autonomous professional.

    Adult learners do not need their hands held or to be spoon-fed what they need to know. They are expected to take ownership of their education and the instructor does not fill their head with information; he/she facilitates the learning process.

    I must admit to an ulterior motive for asking this question. I was not real happy teaching in an environment in which faculty seemed more willing to flunk out students rather than try to retain them and help them to learn. The school at which I taught was very competitive and admitted only a fraction of the applicants---indeed the school's reputation did suffer but because it's hard to get into any nursing program these days, there were never too few applicants to fill the open spots. It just seems to me to be a waste of everyone's resources, then, to keep trying to weed out students (other than those who are obviously in the wrong place) rather than to try to help them learn to the best of their abilities. When I finally do finish my neverending degree, I might want to teach in a DEMSN program. It sounds like it could be very satisfying, not only for students but also for faculty. Again, thank you for your input!
    My program lost a third of the class the first and second semesters and a couple people thereafter each of the next semesters. There was constant fear of flunking out eve when you knew the material well for reasons
    I wont even get into here. I dont need to go into more but you get the idea. I learned a lot and faculty was excellent but yes I felt like I was 12 and it was 1950. It kinda scared me off to the whole profession to be honest. I am not interested in being a martyr/handmaiden. Maybe this has been much of my problem deciding what to do now, maybe it was just the program I was in making me feel lik I was not an adult or a professional.
  7. 1
    Quote from VickyRN
    There may be only a few direct entry Masters programs that offer a gerontological advance practice degree, but such programs do exist. Information about the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner advance practice role:

    Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

    Gerontological Advance Practice Nurses Association

    Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Programs (in US)

    Direct entry Masters programs offering a gerontological advance practice degree:

    University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
    Seattle University College of Nursing
    Marquette University College of Nursing

    There are also Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist programs. Here is some more information on the Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist role. An example of such a program is here and here.

    Marquette University College of Nursing offers a direct entry route to gerontological clinical nurse specialist.

    Hope this helps and best wishes to you!



    Vicky , thank you so much !!!!! You are quite an excellent resource !!! You must be a terrific instructor !
    VickyRN likes this.
  8. 0
    Quote from VickyRN
    The students in my college's direct entry MSN program are treated professionally. The retention rate is very high in this student-friendly program.

    Moogie, in my very limited experience as faculty, I have found ADN programs to be the least supportive to students and most likely to use the "weeding out" philosophy with draconian expectations of students. The vast majority of ADN programs are supportive of their students; I'm just saying that the "Nurse Ratched's" of the educational world are more likely to be found in these type programs.

    Generally, the higher up the educational "food chain," the more respect is afforded to students. Most BSN or MSN programs try very hard to be student-friendly and retain their students.

    Of course, mean-spirited and abusive individuals in faculty roles may be found anywhere. They just tend not to last very long in institutes of higher learning.


    Hi Vicky , I was trying to save those links that you gave us before....but I can not locate it anymore.
    Maybe you can nudge me to a direction....I am 63, UR , CM and medical review for Medicare and private insurance, was also a staff ,and at times charge nurse for a lock up psych unit. I would like to be taking some certification towards gerontology. My change of direction is toward geriatrics , preferably in a LTC with rehab ( this way I can re learn and apply some clinical nursing skills again). I was told to get AANAC, maybe some MDS certification ? Long time ago I started taking required undergraduates subjects to get into Domiguez Hills Masters program. I stopped because I was not clear w/ my purpose for the Masters......I really did not have a solid reason why I was taking it, except to compete w/ other VA nurses that carried all sorts of Masters and even PHD's---- I do not want to be an administrator , ( unless I own the place ) . I would like skilss that I could take to another state, since I plan to move my family out of california to Washington State or Oregon ( things are greener and hopefully not as crowded and expensive as California is getting to be.
    By the way I am a healthy 63, so my age should not be the reason of not finding work. I like to go to Gerontology , geriatrics to be specific. I do like old people, but I also want to be good professionally at what I do ...so can I go to a geriatrics specialist study? I had RN training in an excellent community college , but I finished Bachelor of Journalism in another country, but to study here, I have to have an international eval company looked at my transcripts. You know the rule for an out of the country degrees are to minus 30 units, then they go through your courses for the US equivalents. After - 30 units, they granted me with an equivalent of Bacheor of Science, so I am good. I stopped taking courses because the place that I worked for before (Veterans Administration , Los Angeles) did not give me any education reimbursement ( as part of the benefits) . It seems like everytime I inquire for the $2,000.00/ year education reimbursement --- they are already "out of funds". Anyhow , not to get distracted , I stopped because Phoenix U. It was costing me a lot of money from student loan --------------I still have a balance of $4,600.00 plus student loan approximately , from the 3 subjects I took via this school ! Are there any other avenues to get educated without going broke for the rest of your life? I know that you can work for a government office for 2 years , and they will forgive your loan, but then getting one, ( I worked in a federal office) , and this was not accounted for ??????? something was not right , but now I am thinking if those loans should be forgiven considering I worked in the VA ???
    I am willing to hear your wisdome and advice on this......no you can make it public so others may get something from it too.
  9. 0
    Quote from misplaced1
    My program lost a third of the class the first and second semesters and a couple people thereafter each of the next semesters. There was constant fear of flunking out eve when you knew the material well for reasons
    I wont even get into here. I dont need to go into more but you get the idea. I learned a lot and faculty was excellent but yes I felt like I was 12 and it was 1950. It kinda scared me off to the whole profession to be honest. I am not interested in being a martyr/handmaiden. Maybe this has been much of my problem deciding what to do now, maybe it was just the program I was in making me feel lik I was not an adult or a professional.
    Oh my word. Misplaced, was this in a DEMSN program, a BSN program, ADN, LPN? I hope you don't mind but I took a look at the thread on which you'd posted about abusive clinical instructors and am so sad that you---and your classmates---have been through this sort of hell.

    A third of the class flunked out? And I'm sure the admission standards were very high. If standards were low and it was easy to get into any nursing program, I could understand the need to weed out people who might be in the wrong place. But when standards are high, it seems so utterly ridiculous and a waste of everyone's time and energy.

    Obviously, students who can successfully get through the prerequisites of ANY nursing program show motivation and some degree of critical thinking. To flunk people out on a whim or because of a power trip is simply wrong.

    Please feel free to PM me if you'd like. I've had an instructor be unfair to me as well and I decided I would be d****d if I ever did that to any student when I was teaching.
  10. 0
    Quote from VickyRN
    The students in my college's direct entry MSN program are treated professionally. The retention rate is very high in this student-friendly program.

    Moogie, in my very limited experience as faculty, I have found ADN programs to be the least supportive to students and most likely to use the "weeding out" philosophy with draconian expectations of students. The vast majority of ADN programs are supportive of their students; I'm just saying that the "Nurse Ratched's" of the educational world are more likely to be found in these type programs.

    Generally, the higher up the educational "food chain," the more respect is afforded to students. Most BSN or MSN programs try very hard to be student-friendly and retain their students.

    Of course, mean-spirited and abusive individuals in faculty roles may be found anywhere. They just tend not to last very long in institutes of higher learning.

    Hi Vicky ! I never understood the PA program. I heard this is a 4 year program........but is this program clinically involved during the training? I know that they sort of equate Physicians assistant (PA) to nurse practitioner (NP) in some places , but nurse practitioner are way much educated ( have to have Masters now , before you can go NP training for 9 months?) What is the difference of the curriculum between these two? What are the limitations in practice of the NP? Not to put down the PA , I jsut need to understand as to why they equate their functions to a nurse practitioner?


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