Professional Profile of Karla Wilson, Part 2: MSN Degree Programs

Karla Wilson, MSN

This is the second part of a three-part interview series with practicing nurse practitioner, Karla Wilson. In her previous interviews, you can read about her path to becoming a NP and career advice. In this installment, Karla discusses the following:

  • Factors prospective MSN degree holders should consider before enrolling
  • Common MSN specialties and coursers
  • Challenges faced by nursing educators

Karla Wilson, RN, MSN, FNP-C, CPON currently serves as a nurse practitioner for the Department of Population Sciences and Epidemiology in the Center for Cancer Survivorship in California.

  1. What factors should a prospective MSN student look for when selecting a school?
  2. What qualities make someone a good candidate for a MSN degree?
  3. About how long does it take someone to complete coursework to earn their MSN degree?
  4. What are the most popular specialties for a MSN student to choose to study?
  5. What are some of the most common courses a MSN student will have to take?
  6. When is the best time to enter into a MSN program in your opinion?
  7. What do you think are the challenges that nursing educators face?
  8. Online, blended nursing programs such as MSN’s, bridge programs and dual degrees are becoming more popular. What do you know about these programs? Can you see any benefits from receiving part of your nursing education online?

1. What factors should a prospective MSN student look for when selecting a school?

What is the focus of the curriculum and does it match your interests and goals? Are there professors that will be good mentors for you.

2. What qualities make someone a good candidate for a MSN degree?

Wanting to broaden their horizons and have an open mind about alternative health care practices that you will encounter. Being able to think outside the box and be flexible; understanding that there are many ways to do the same thing correctly.

3. About how long does it take someone to complete coursework to earn their MSN degree?

18-24 months usually.

4. What are the most popular specialties for a MSN student to choose to study?

The folks I know are in pediatrics, oncology, pain management, and palliative care.

5. What are some of the most common courses a MSN student will have to take?

I think that would depend on the subspecialty.

6. When is the best time to enter into a MSN program in your opinion?

After 2-5 years of bedside nursing. That provides the foundation of nursing care and knowledge and will strengthen your ability to practice as a well-rounded NP.

7. What do you think are the challenges that nursing educators face?

Preparing students to cope with the problems with health care access.

8. Online, blended nursing programs such as MSN’s, bridge programs and dual degrees are becoming more popular. What do you know about these programs? Can you see any benefits from receiving part of your nursing education online?

I’ve instructed students form those programs and worked with graduates from them as well. Many are woefully inadequate, although some are excellent. I think basic personality and motivation are important factors.

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