How hard is it to get accepted into an MSN program with no nursing experience?

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    I just graduated with my BSN and would like to apply to Fall 2014 MSN programs. How hard is it to be accepted to MSN programs without any nursing experience at the time of the application? I will have almost a year of experience by the start of the programs, but the applications are due in Dec/Jan so I won't have much experience at that point and I'm not sure it would be appropriate to ask work supervisors for recs. Any advice or recommendations on applying would be appreciated!!!
    priorities2 likes this.
  2. 5 Comments so far...

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    Hi, jcr777.

    You can apply to Medical University of South Carolina, or The University of Arizona without any professional nursing experience. These are both online programs. There are other schools that accept applicants without experience, but these are two that quickly come to mind. Also you can apply to University of South Alabama without experience initially but by the time clinicals start (which is about one year after the program begins) they want you to have two years of experience. I hope this helps!
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    I'm assuming since you posted this here you are thinking of a MSN in NP of some type. There are several programs that you can apply to that will take people without nursing experience, but there are a few questions you should probably answer first.

    1) What type of NP program do you wish to apply to? This relates to the question of what type of NP do you want to be? Inpatient/Outpatient/Emergency/ICU/Pediatric/Geriatric/Family/Behavioral/Womens. Yes, you can move between inpatient/outpatient with some/all of the NP certificates, but some are more oriented towards one or the other. So, it would be good for you to research the specifics of these degrees and at least determine what population you wish to work with. Also, to have an idea of what part of the healthcare system you wish to work in will help you to identify both the population you like working with and what program is directed towards your interests. In many of my classmates cases, their work as a RN helped them get a better understanding of what their "calling" was, as someone without RN experience hopefully you have some experience in other medical fields and in the medical world to help you to understand what you would like to do and why.

    2) Do you feel you understand the environment you will be working in enough to be directing it? I'm not saying in the least that you will not gain any experience or understanding in that environment when you are doing clinicals in your program, but I am saying that I and many of my classmates used our experience as RNs to gain knowledge of how the system works, so that we could have a better understanding of that to build upon while in NP school. We also were able to utilize that base knowledge to build upon when we were in class and in clinical situations. As long as you feel comfortable that you have the base you need to understand and grasp those concepts, then you have the amount of RN experience necessary to be successful in NP school. That may be 20 years, or it may be 0 days, it varies based on the person, the program, etc.

    Good Luck finding the program that is right for you, there are many and it takes alot of work and diligence to find the program that is the best fit for your situation.
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    I only had 5 months of nursing experience when I applied for school and had no trouble getting in. The Dean of MUSC is a big supporter of nurses advancing their education without having to have worked as an RN first. So I agree that it would be a good school to apply to. It seems generally that it's just the acute care programs that require experience, so it does depend on what type of NP work you want to do. I'm still on orientation at work, but there is no way I could do this job as an NP without my RN experience.
    priorities2 likes this.
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    It depends on the program. Some programs are open to accepting nurses without experience while others are not. I would go ahead and apply- what do you have to lose! Applying to a few programs can increased your chances of getting into at least one school.
    Last edit by DidiRN on Oct 2, '13
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    I am a new rn graduate desperately trying to gain experience but managers and nursing homes today are really only looking for people with experience. they will throw you an interview but yet once they see your resume lacks that 1 year experience they get very hesitant to train unless they desperately need someone. I am looking into MSN program without that experience as an RN b.c I want to expand my education. I say if the program is willing to accept you and you have no other job offers or things pending why not take the opportunity. everything in life is a struggle and comes with risks but going back to school is never a bad option.


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