Online RN to MSN Programs in Washington, D.C.
As of 2019, no Washington D.C. universities had developed 100% online RN to MSN programs. Having said that, Trinity Washington University’s program is hybrid, with a mixture of online coursework and face-to-face sessions. You only have to attend classes on one day of the week.
Other regional options include Virginia (e.g. James Madison University), Maryland (e.g. UMB and Stevenson), and all kinds of online RN to MSN pathways in Pennsylvania. In addition, the page on Online RN to MSN Programs has a complete listing of programs in every state.
Washington, D.C.’s Healthcare Landscape
Washington D.C. is grappling with a number of healthcare issues, familiar to any RN who has worked in the district.
- High cardiovascular death rates, a high percentage of children in poverty, a disproportionate number of maternal deaths, and low birthweights & pre-term births are blighting the lives of residents.
- Homicides and drug overdose deaths are commonplace.
- And hospitals are failing their patients. One of the bottom ranked indicators for D.C. in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance is often hospitals with lower-than-average patient experience ratings. In the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, D.C. is usually last.
Maternal Health: Between 2014 and 2016, nearly 75% of D.C. women who died of complications from pregnancy, labor, and childbirth were African American. According to the CDC, chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease are contributing to maternal mortality increases across the country. In response, D.C. established a Maternal Mortality Review Committee in 2018 and councilors have been working on legislation that would increase prenatal and postpartum care & well-child visits, improve access to maternal health centers, and train healthcare professionals in the treatment of black women. CNMs and WHNPs who are willing to work in D.C.’s underserved areas will be very welcome.
Opioid Epidemic: Washington D.C. does not have a good track record in the drug crisis. Between 2014 and 2017, the city’s rate of fatal drug overdoses rose by 209.9%. Numbers dropped a little in 2018, but the death rate continued to exceed 200. Many of the victims were older black men with long-standing heroin addictions. APRNs have a key role to play in fighting back. Nurse leaders can advocate for better governance from city officials, primary care nurses can work with stakeholders (e.g. police, community leaders, doctors, etc.) on a coordinated approach, nurse executives can help to shape new hospital policies (e.g. immediate referrals for ER admissions), PMHNPs and FNPs can push for mental health services—the list goes on.
Community Health: This is the big one. Until D.C. residents feel safe and protected, with simple access to basic resources and high-quality healthcare, not much is going to change. APRNs in D.C. neighborhoods have the chance to serve as early interventionists, working on community-led initiatives that promote healthy living, affordable housing, youth employment & training, better patient treatment in hospitals, public health in schools, and the like. From the-ground-up strategies can be just as effective as top-down directives. DC Health Matters has some useful resources & data in this area.
Jobs for Washington, D.C. RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks job & wage data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. You can use the maps to compare D.C. with options in surrounding states (e.g. Maryland, Virginia, etc.). Hover over a city or region to view the data points.
- Overall, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metropolitan area has one of the highest employment levels of NPs and nursing instructors in the country.
- D.C. universities with big medical schools & hospitals (e.g. Georgetown, George Washington University & Howard University) help to drive the healthcare economy.
If you’re looking for a hospital-affiliated job, start with the directory of DCHA Member Hospitals. You can compare this to U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of Best Hospitals in Washington, D.C. and the ANCC’s list of D.C. Magnet Facilities.
- MedStar Washington Hospital Center is high performing in a number of procedures/conditions and adult specialties (e.g. cardiology & heart surgery). It’s the largest private hospital in D.C. and has a Level 1 Trauma Center.
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit teaching hospital and Magnet Facility. Nurses have a lot of praise for the environment (e.g. emphasis on best practices). It’s also home to the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Children’s National Hospital is a Magnet Facility and nationally ranked in a number of children’s specialties
- George Washington University Hospital has a Level 1 Trauma Center, Cardiovascular Center, and a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Want more autonomy? Washington D.C. NPs have full independent practice authority and may independently prescribe prescription drugs and Schedules II-IV controlled substances (see the DOH’s section on Nursing Regulations for full details).
Keep in mind, too, that the District’s Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) is open to healthcare professionals—including APRNs—who practice full-time at HPLRP-certified sites in HPSAs and MUAs in D.C.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Washington, D.C. Nursing Job Boards
- DCJobs.com: General job listings in the D.C. area—search by APRN title
- NPADC Career Center: Job listings for NPs in the D.C. area
- MedStar Health Jobs: Openings in MedStar Health hospitals & clinics
Washington, D.C. APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Washington, D.C. Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Washington, D.C. Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Washington, D.C. Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Washington, D.C. Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA)
- District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA)
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): DC Metropolitan Chapter
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): BNA of Greater Washington, DC Area
- Nurse Practitioner Association of the District of Columbia (NPADC)
Washington, D.C. Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – DC Affiliate (DC ACNM)
- American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)
- District of Columbia Association of Nurse Anesthetists (DCANA)
- District of Columbia School Nurses Association (DCSNA)
- Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)
- Metropolitan Washington Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MWAOHN)
- National League for Nursing (NLN)
Nursing School Overview
TWU is a private Catholic university on Michigan Avenue, right near the Washington DC VA Medical Center, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Children's National. The undergraduate College of Arts & Science is a women's college, but the other colleges and graduate school are co-educational. It's also known for its diversity - the student body is 95% African-American or Hispanic. The School of Nursing and Health Professions is usually unranked by U.S. News & World Report and does not have stellar NCLEX pass rates, but it has made a commitment to serving disadvantaged students from low-income neighborhoods. It also has a relatively new $38 million health sciences building called the Payden Academic Center, with nursing skills labs, simulations, and counseling suites. Independent reviews of TWU's nursing programs are decidedly mixed, so we recommend you take a tour, talk to recent MSN alumni, and ask about clinical practicum placements.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
This accelerated RN to BSN to MSN program is open to RNs with a diploma or certificate from a hospital-based program or an associate degree in nursing. Candidates should have a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 and a current & unencumbered RN license. The application should also include a resume, 2 letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Successful applicants begin by earning a BSN. RNs can receive credit for previous general education courses and up to 32 transfer credits for previous nursing courses, but a minimum of 32 credits must be taken at TWU. To accelerate the program, 9 credits of the undergraduate portion will be applied to core courses in the MSN curriculum. The BSN component can be finished in 1 year and an overall GPA of 3.0 is required in order to continue to the master's degree. The MSN can be tackled on a full-time or part-time schedule and might take 6 semesters to complete (e.g. 27-30 remaining graduate credits). Classes are offered in a hybrid format, with online courses and Friday face-to-face sessions. Each concentration includes a 6-credit practicum.