Online RN to MSN Programs in Delaware
As of 2019, we didn’t find any Delaware universities that were willing to offer 100% online RN to MSN programs. However, keep in mind that Wesley College’s program is hybrid—evening classes meet once weekly, for the same day during the entire program. If you live in the Dover area and are interested in adult gerontology, it’s worth a look.
You could also consider hybrid & online RN to MSN programs in Pennsylvania (there are tons!). Choosing a strong PA program will give you: a) a respected degree and b) the flexibility to travel to the campus for tours, graduation, and any on-campus components.
Delaware’s Healthcare Landscape
Despite its petite size, Delaware has a complicated healthcare story:
- If you examine data from United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, you’ll see a state with good rates of health insurance, but a high prevalence of physical inactivity, soaring rates of drug overdose deaths, and troubling statistics in infant mortality & low birthweights.
- The state tends to score well in Prevention & Treatment measures in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance (it agreed to Medicaid expansion), but it falls down in the category of Healthy Lives.
- In the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Delaware can usually be found near the bottom.
The opioid epidemic has hit Delaware particularly hard. From 2016-2017, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased by 20.2%. And deaths continued to rise in 2018, with more than two-thirds of those deaths occurring in New Castle County (which includes the city of Wilmington). The University of Delaware’s Delaware Opioid Metric Intelligence Project (DOMIP) and the DPH Drug Overdose Mortality Surveillance Report provide nuanced views of the problem.
Healthcare providers are also trying to determine how to address the multi-factor challenge of improving infant mortality (see the DHS’s Infant Mortality Program for reports & data). This is a major issue for black residents. In Delaware, black infants can be 2.5 times more likely than white infants to die before their first birthday. Wilmington death rates are even higher. Racial discrimination, underlying medical conditions, access to healthcare, social parameters—these are just some of the issues contributing to the crisis.
All of this comes at a time when Delaware is seeking to reduce healthcare spending costs—in 2018, only Massachusetts and Alaska spent more. The governor has established benchmarks for growth, but it remains to be seen whether they’re followed. Providers are also looking at an aging population (some with poor heath habits) who may start demanding expensive healthcare services and pharmaceuticals.
Delaware Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
What does this mean for Delaware APRNs? In a word—work.
- In Delaware hospitals, nurse leaders & executives have the chance to employ data-driven methods to reduce unnecessary spending and procedures, target areas of concern (e.g. re-admissions), and improve hospital safety.
- Nurse midwifes, NNPs, and Women’s Health NPs should be able to make a giant contribution to solving the infant mortality issue.
- PMHNPs can employ successful models from other states to implement targeted mental health programs, especially for drug users in urban areas.
- Primary care & public health nurses can push for more state funding—for healthy eating in schools, for change in lifestyle incentives, for better access to primary care & nurse-run clinics, etc.
Jobs for Delaware RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
You can get a broad view of the APRN territory by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s pages on Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. Take a look at the job & wage maps—they’ll allow you to compare Delaware with neighboring regions in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
- Overall, Delaware has a high concentration of NPs and nursing instructors. Wilmington and Dover account for some of these numbers, as do the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.
- Having said that, there aren’t that many major hospitals. This has led to a booming commuting world, with nurses in New Castle County traveling to the Philadelphia area for work.
For hospital jobs, start with the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the Best Hospitals in Delaware and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities in Delaware. Christiana Care and AI duPont Hospital for Children are often praised on nursing message boards, but you could also consider Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, Bayhealth in Dover, and state & federal possibilities (e.g. Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill and the Wilmington VA Medical Center). Many of them are DEHA members.
We should also point out that Delaware has taken a moderately flexible stance on autonomy. You must have a collaborative agreement in place with a physician only if you have practiced as an APRN less than two years or have fewer than 4,000 hours. After two years of practice, you will have full practice authority. See the Board of Nursing’s section on APRN Licensure for more details. Want even more control? The Board also has instructions on how Delaware APRNs can apply for Independent Practice.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Delaware Nursing Job Boards
- DNA Job Board: Job listings for Delaware nurses, including APRNs, nurse educators, and nurse leaders
- DNCP Career Center: Job listings for Delaware NPs
- DEHA Delaware Healthcare Jobs & Scholarships: Links to Delaware hospital job sites and nursing scholarship programs
Delaware APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Delaware Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Delaware Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Delaware Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Delaware Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- Delaware Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (DCNP)
- Delaware Healthcare Association (DEHA)
- Delaware Nurses Association (DNA)
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Delaware Chapter
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Delaware Chapters
Delaware Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Delaware Affiliate (Delaware ACNM)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Delaware (AWHONN Delaware)
- Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists (DANA)
- Delaware Association of Occupational Health Nurses (DAOHN)
- Delaware Emergency Nurses Association (DENA)
- Delaware Organization of Nurse Leaders (DONL)
- Delaware School Nurse Association (DSNA)
- Delaware Student Nurses’ Association (DSNA)
- Diamond State Chapter of AACN (DSAACN)
Nursing School Overview
Wesley is a small liberal arts college in Dover - it's the oldest private college in Delaware, with a nursing program that began 1967. Because of this, the Department of Nursing has an intimate feel, with manageable class sizes, small groups, and one-on-one time with qualified faculty. We particularly like the fact that the department publishes NCLEX pass rates (they're often above 95%) and MSN achievement data on its website. You'll see from the statistics that MSN classes are very small (e.g. 3-11 students). But most students succeed in earning the degree, passing the certification exam, and finding employment in a relevant position. Independent reviewers say the school has a good reputation for nursing, the workload is challenging, and professors are approachable.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
Wesley's hybrid RN to MSN program is designed to help RNs earn a BSN and a master's degree. If you have a non-nursing bachelor's degree, check with the program coordinator - there may be an option to enter the program during Bridge coursework. All RN to MSN candidates must have a hospital school diploma or associate degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (Wesley will consider lower for conditional admission), a current & unencumbered RN license, a professional resume, and 1 letter of reference. The entire RN to MSN is 66 credits. Upon acceptance, you'll be required to complete 12 credits of undergraduate core requirements, including statistics, and 15 credits of 500-level nursing courses (e.g. Health Policy). After that, you can tackle the MSN portion, which is 39 credits. The MSN includes a thesis/project advisement as the final course. Classes are offered in a 7-week hybrid format; evening classes meet once a week. And graduates are eligible to sit for board certification exams (e.g. AACN's ACCNS-AG and ANCC's AGCNS-BC).