Shaping the Future of Nursing: A Guide to Pursuing an Online Master’s in Nursing Education

Updated on February 26, 2024

Nurses are at the heart of healthcare, and their responsibilities and contributions often extend beyond bedside care to healthcare policy and research. Continuing education is crucial for nurses to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Enhancing knowledge and skills improves the quality of care provided to patients.

An online Master’s in Nursing degree is a smart option for nurses who want to further their careers and advance the profession’s future. Here’s how to get started.

Identify Your Goals

Nursing professionals are often “Jacks of all trades.” Some nurses prefer to work behind the scenes and help nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals. For nurses interested in teaching, an online masters in nursing education can be helpful. This program offers courses that teach the necessary skills and techniques to become a competent nurse educator in classroom, simulation, and clinical settings.

Regardless of their personal or professional aspirations, nurses must set clear goals about what they expect from the online master’s in nursing education program they choose to enroll in. Setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based) goals can be a great way to ensure that nurses stay on the right track toward their ultimate nursing objectives. For example, while some nurses may dream of earning a Ph.D., focusing on a series of steps leading to this goal, such as getting a bachelor’s degree or passing specific certification exams, would be more effective.

Choose a Program

Before you start looking for programs, it’s a good idea to establish some parameters around what you want in an online nursing program. Creating a requirements checklist can help you narrow down suitable programs and avoid wasted applications.

You should also ensure that the program you’re interested in is accredited. It can be done by checking the school’s accreditation status at institutional and programmatic levels.

It’s also important to consider the program’s length, format, and costs. For example, some programs require in-person practicums. Additionally, some programs offer part-time or full-time enrollment.

Finally, be sure to factor in the cost of tuition and other fees. In some cases, this may be offset by the availability of federal and private education loans or third-party scholarships. Regardless, you’ll want to prepare a budget before you search for an online master’s in nursing education.

Find a School

A master’s in nursing education program can prepare you to advance your career as a nurse educator. It’s essential to find an accredited school that offers this type of degree. It would help if you also looked for programs to combine your degree with a related field, such as public health or management.

The curriculum for a master’s in nursing education online will likely include advanced physical assessments, ethics, healthcare quality and safety, clinical research methods, and pharmacology. These programs have specialized nursing leadership, healthcare management, or information systems coursework.

Some schools require students to attend in-person seminars or lab simulations. It would help if you also asked about clinical assignments and what student support services are offered. Some schools will arrange these assignments for their students, while others leave it up to the students to find clinical sites and preceptors independently. You should also consider if the program requires a specific amount of time per week that you must be online.

Start Studying

In addition to core coursework, specialized concentration classes, and a practicum, nursing education master’s programs may require a thesis or capstone project. Those additional requirements can drive up the total cost of an MSN program, but many universities offer scholarships and financial aid resources that could help defray these costs.

Choosing an accredited program is another essential factor when seeking an online nursing education master’s degree. It ensures that the curriculum meets national quality standards. Students should also review a prospective program’s tuition and fees. Some universities may charge different rates for in-state and out-of-state students. In contrast, others might include technical support, online instruction fees, or malpractice insurance as part of their overall tuition price. Also, some schools charge on a per-term basis instead of a per-credit basis, which can help reduce the cost of an MSN degree.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.