Use the school listings and the section on online RN to MSN programs in Louisiana to decide if Louisiana’s offerings match your career goals. Our overview of Louisiana’s healthcare landscape outlines why the skills of LA APRNs are needed now more than ever.
Or explore job opportunities for Louisiana RN to MSN graduates—we’ve included links to job & wage data, salary reports, local job boards, and hospital rankings. You should also be able to find mentors and preceptors through LA nursing associations & organizations.
Online RN to MSN Programs in Louisiana
We found one university in Louisiana that was willing to offer an online RN to MSN program. Fortunately, it’s a pretty good one! We’ve given LOYNO full coverage in the school listings—here’s what you need to know about the online aspects.
- Loyola University-New Orleans: Nurses with an associate degree or diploma in nursing can go down the online RN to BSN to MSN pathway and choose an MSN concentration in leadership or education (i.e. non-NP specialties). RNs who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can opt for the accelerated BLEND program and are allowed to pick the FNP as well. Non-NP specialties are delivered in a 100% online MSN format. However, the online MSN-FNP has a residency component—you’ll visit the campus once a year for a spring conference. Before you apply, check the page on Accreditation & State Authorization. The School of Nursing is not authorized to offer the program or practicum experiences in a few states.
If you’d like more choice, have a look at our page on Online RN to MSN Programs. It contains a full listing of distance learning programs in every state.
Louisiana’s Healthcare Landscape
Louisiana’s healthcare challenges are well-known (especially to RNs). The state has terrible death rates from heart disease, cancer, stroke, septicemia, and kidney disease. Residents suffer from severe obesity, a high prevalence of mental distress, drug overdose deaths, and high rates of firearm mortality & homicides. Too many babies are born preterm and with low birthweights. And the infant mortality rate is well-above the national average.
Rural counties have it particularly hard. In the 2018 U.S. Rural Health Report Card, Louisiana received an overall grade of “F,” with failing grades for all factors. If you look at the BCBS Health Index Map and County Health Rankings, you’ll see that rural areas along the Mississippi border tend to have the worst rankings in health outcomes & health factors. The age-adjusted mortality rate in rural Louisiana can be 15% higher than the rate in urban counties.
It’s doubtful that any of this is going to improve drastically until the state can find a way to beat back poverty. For years, the poverty rate has hovered around 20%. In urban areas it’s still 17% and in rural areas it can be as high as 23%. Childhood poverty is a perpetual crisis. Louisiana agreed to Medicaid expansion, which has improved healthcare access and primary healthcare for low income residents. But even that move has a downside—it has driven up taxpayer costs.
Louisiana Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
In response, newly-minted APRNs can fight, especially on the legislative front. Louisiana families deserve state and federal dollars, as well as private investments and grants. Education, access to quality food, secure housing—these are critical components of public health. In a government meeting, LA nurse leaders can be a powerful voice for the people. When communities & incomes rise, so do healthcare services.
The need is just as great on the ground. Targeted primary & mental healthcare in rural counties, parish-led health improvement projects, traveling maternal health programs—NPs & CNMs are in an ideal position to kick these off. In fact, other states with a shortage of primary care physicians have found success by giving NPs full practice authority and allowing them to serve in rural and underserved areas.
As of 2019, Louisiana NPs were recognized as primary care providers, but they were still required to have a collaborative practice agreement in place with a physician. The Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners (LANP) has been fighting for greater autonomy. See the LSBN’s section on the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse for the most up-to-date details on laws & regulations.
Jobs for Louisiana RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a close eye on job & wage data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. Better yet, these pages contain regional maps that allow you to compare the field in cities and states. Hover over an area to view the actual data points.
As you might expect, wages for Louisiana NPs aren’t spectacular, but they’re not terrible. Central Louisiana might even pay quite well. The New Orleans-Metairie area employs around a third of the state’s nurse practitioners, but there are significant populations in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Monroe, and Shreveport-Bossier City.
Hospital Jobs: You can begin your shortlist by consulting this list of hospitals in Louisiana (organized by parish)
- The Best Hospitals in Louisiana and Magnet Facilities tend to be the big names (e.g. Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and OLOL Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge), but they may also come with higher pressure environments.
- Keep in mind that Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport and Lafayette General Medical Center made the “Best” list, and the Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge is a magnet facility.
- What’s more, the Louisiana Children’s Medical Center (LCMC) owns 5 different hospitals, including CHNOLA, Touro Infirmary, WJ Medical Center, NOEH, and UMC New Orleans.
Nursing Education Jobs: You may be in demand! The Louisiana Center for Nursing (LCN) publishes Nursing Education Capacity and Nursing Supply in Louisiana Snapshots on an annual basis. One of the primary reasons why applicants are not admitted into RN programs is because there aren’t enough qualified faculty to teach them. And many current instructors are nearing retirement age. Use the LSBN’s list of Approved Schools of Nursing as a starting point.
Rural Jobs: The Bureau of Primary Care & Rural Health has maps of HPSAs in Louisiana (primary care and mental health) and a list of LA rural hospitals. Don’t forget that the Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program is open to primary care providers—including NPs and CNMs—who agree to serve in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). You may also want to attend the annual Louisiana Rural Health Care Conference.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Louisiana Nursing Job Boards
- LSNA Career Center: Job listings for Louisiana nurses, including nurse educators & leaders
- LANP Career Center: Job listings for Louisiana NPs
Louisiana APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Louisiana Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Louisiana Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Louisiana Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Louisiana Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners (LANP)
- Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA)
- Louisiana State Nurses Association (LSNA)
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Louisiana Chapters
Louisiana Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Louisiana Chapter (Louisiana ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Louisiana Chapter (APNA Louisiana)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Louisiana (AWHONN Louisiana)
- Louisiana Association of Nurse Anesthetists (LANA)
- Louisiana Association of Occupational Health Nurses (LAOHN)
- Louisiana Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (LAPAN)
- Louisiana Association of Student Nurses (LASN)
- Louisiana Emergency Nurses Association (Louisiana ENA)
- Louisiana League for Nursing (LLN)
- Louisiana Organization for Nursing Leadership (LONL)
- Louisiana School Nurse Organization (LSNO)
Nursing School Overview
LOYNO is a private Jesuit university in New Orleans. It is regarded as a strong regional player and the College of Nursing and Health has been around for 30+ years. Perhaps more importantly, you'll often find the online MSN in the top 50 of U.S. News & Rankings for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. According to those data, the program has a competitive admissions policy (e.g. 52% acceptance rate), switched-on students (e.g. average undergraduate GPA of 3.4), and experienced faculty. Class sizes are reasonable (e.g. 14 students), minority students are welcome (e.g. 32%), and most folks take ~2 years to finish the degree. We didn't find many independent reviews that specifically mention the MSN, but we did find opinions of the online nursing programs. They're good - nursing students say the quality of education is high, the curriculum is organized, and professors are readily available to answer questions. The only main "con" was cost. Debt rates for online MSN graduates can be high, so it's worth talking to your employer about tuition reimbursement.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
LOYNO has developed 2 online pathways to the master's degree. RNs without a bachelor's degree can apply to the RN to BSN & MSN (Combined Degree) in non-NP specialties. RNs with a diploma or associate degree in nursing and a non-nursing baccalaureate can enter the RN to MSN Bridge (BLEND) program. All candidates should have a current & unencumbered RN license. In addition, BLEND candidates are expected to have a cumulative GPA of 3.o or higher and 1 year of recent nursing experience (FNP applicants must have direct patient care experience) The application should also include 3 letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose; a formal interview may be required for FNP applicants. The RN to BSN & MSN is much like the RN to BSN, except that you can shorten the time by taking 2 graduate-level courses (6 credits) during undergraduate work. Upper division nursing courses are taught online and there is a generous transfer credit policy - up to 90 credits, including 64 credits from your associate or diploma in nursing. After that, you'll receive the BSN and can finish the online MSN in HSAL or Nurse Educator. The BLEND track begins with 6 credits of BSN courses and then proceeds to the master's; no BSN is awarded. Overall, the FNP track is 48 credits (720 clinical hours) and might take 3 years to complete (e.g. 2 courses per semester). The HSAL track is 36 credits (180-hour practicum) and might take 2 years. And the Nurse Educator track is 39 credits (180-hour practicum) and might take 2 years (2-3 courses per semester). Almost all of the concentrations are 100% online; FNP students visit the campus for an annual conference.