Examine the school listings to see if there’s a concentration that suits your needs. Learn more about the format of online RN to MSN programs in Mississippi. And discover how newly minted APRNs can contribute to changes in Mississippi’s healthcare landscape.
Planning for life after graduation? Don’t miss the section on jobs for Mississippi RN to MSN graduates. We’ve included links to job & wage data, local job boards, salary reports, and a list of MS nursing associations & organizations. Members may be more than happy to act as career mentors or direct you to possible preceptors.
Online RN to MSN Programs in Mississippi
The sole Mississippi university in our school listings is UMMC, which predominantly offers hybrid RN to MSN concentrations. In most cases:
- You’ll be expected to attend campus for some face-to-face meetings & intensives, but the remainder of the coursework will be online.
- Online classes may administered in an asynchronous (i.e. no mandatory log-in times) or synchronous format (e.g. live online meetings).
- Clinical hours can be completed in your home community, but NP clinical experiences must take place in Mississippi.
Having said all that, we recommend you ask the program coordinator about the Nursing and Health Care Administrator track. In the program description, UMMC states that coursework for the MSN is online. You may not need to visit the campus!
Note: Remember, too, that you have the option to look into online programs across the border (e.g. Louisiana or Alabama). This gives you the flexibility to travel to your university—if you need to—for any residency components, tours, or meetings.
Mississippi’s Healthcare Landscape
Mississippi has been down for too long. Local RNs know the figures by heart. High mortality rates in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. The worst obesity rates in the nation. Too many deaths from firearms & homicides. Mothers who are facing low birthweights, high preterm birth rates, and infant mortality. Smoking, children in poverty, failing health system performance, the list goes on and on.
Poverty is a key factor, but so too is Mississippi’s rural character:
- More than 50% of its residents live in one of the state’s 65 rural counties. That means they have to work even harder to get access to physicians and high-quality care (typically centered in cities around universities & hospitals).
- Existing rural facilities may be battling to hold on. In a 2019 report from Navigant, 31 of Mississippi’s rural hospitals were identified as being at high financial risk.
- In the 2018 Rural Health Report Card, Mississippi was ranked last in the nation, with Fs and Ds for almost every factor except Mental Health Access. In that year, the poverty rate in rural Mississippi was 24.3% (and 16.8% in urban areas).
- According to County Health Rankings, Mississippi counties with the worst health outcomes & health factors are typically in the rural northwest, near the border with Arkansas and Louisiana.
On top of this, Mississippi has declined to accept Medicaid expansion (as of 2019). This means families in working households that make too much for traditional Medicaid—but not really enough for ACA coverage—are left without options. Other residents have avoided health insurance due to poor information and poor organization.
Mississippi Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
In short, new APRNs in Mississippi will have their work cut out for them. Tackling the problems will require buy-in from a number of players, including the state government and city hospitals. But changes could occur through:
- Legislation: Advocacy on a state & federal level for investment in new industries, job creation, education, digital access, and the like. Underlying poverty issues have to be addressed.
- Leadership: Flexible & innovating thinking from nurse leaders & executives (e.g. applying for grants, kick-starting community initiatives & nursing recruitment drives, pushing care out to rural areas through telemedicine and travel nursing, etc.).
- Education: Mentoring—and financially supporting—aspiring APRNs who have grown up in Mississippi and wish to serve in their home communities (e.g. university-funded loan forgiveness programs, postgraduate residencies, etc.).
- Partnerships: Coordinated public health initiatives that focus on behavioral change—the Mississippi Public Health Institute (MSPHI) has some useful examples of projects.
Finally, APRNs can lobby for full practice authority to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in HPSAs and rural counties. Mississippi APRNs have some power—they’re recognized as primary care providers and can prescribe after completing an educational program. Nevertheless, as of 2019, collaboration with a supervising physician was still required. Visit the MSBN’s section on the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse for the most up-to-date details on laws & regulations.
Jobs for Mississippi 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. We particularly like the state & regional maps on these pages, since they allow viewers to compare one city with another. Hover over an area to view the data points.
For example, you’ll notice that Mississippi employs around the same number of nurse practitioners & nursing instructors as Louisiana, but it often has the highest concentration of NPs in the country (a statistic that takes into account population size). Major hotspots include Jackson, Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, and Hattiesburg. Wages can be particularly strong in Hattiesburg.
If you’re looking for a hospital job, you may wish to consult U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the Best Hospitals in Mississippi and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities. There’s usually only one Magnet in the state—the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson. Here are some of the big names in each area:
- Jackson Area: Baptist Medical Center, St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Merit Health centers. UMMC and its hospitals and Belhaven University.
- Tupelo: North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo (often in the “Best” list).
- Hattiesburg; Forrest General Hospital and Merit Health Wesley. University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and William Carey University.
- Gulf Area: Memorial Hospital at Gulfport (often in the “Best” list), Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport, Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Merit Health Biloxi, Keesler Medical Center (AFB), and the Ochsner Health Center – Hancock in Bay Saint Louis.
Run through this list of Hospitals in Mississippi to evaluate all your options.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Mississippi Nursing Job Boards
Mississippi APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Mississippi Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Mississippi Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Mississippi Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Mississippi Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners (MANP)
- Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA)
- Mississippi Nurses Association (MNA)
Mississippi Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Mississippi Affiliate (Mississippi ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Mississippi Chapter (APNA Mississippi)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Mississippi (AWHONN Mississippi)
- MHA Organization of Nurse Executives (MONE)
- Mississippi Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA)
- Mississippi Emergency Nurses Association (Mississippi ENA)
- Mississippi Organization of Associate Degree Nurses (M-OADN)
- Mississippi School Nurse Association (MSNA)
- Mississippi Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (MSPAN)
Nursing School Overview
Based in Jackson, UMMC is the health sciences campus of the University of Mississippi. That means the School of Nursing (SON) is ideally situated near 4 major UMMC hospitals, including Batson Children's Hospital, with access to a Level 1 trauma center, Level IV NICU, and organ transplant program. The school is affiliated with 200+ hospitals, community centers, and mental health facilities, and it operates its own nurse-managed clinics (e.g. UNACARE Family Health Clinic in Jackson, Delta & Jackson school-based clinics, and the UNACARE Mobile Clinic). We also like the fact that nursing faculty are engaged in relevant research projects (e.g. racial disparities in health care) and projects like the Jackson Heart Study. You'll find up-to-date data on the nursing programs in the Mississippi Public Universities Annual Report for Mississippi Nursing Degree Programs. Overall, UMMC accepts around 125-200 students to the MSN each year - primarily in the FNP - and MSN students have an excellent completion rate (e.g. 95% over four years). NP certification pass rates are also high (e.g. 100% for the FNP). The best news is that Mississippi residents qualify for a relatively low per credit graduate tuition rate - especially when you consider the caliber of the school. If you need extra funding, the SON also offers nursing scholarships.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
UMMC's hybrid RN to MSN pathway is open to RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing from an ACNE- or CCNE-accredited program. Candidates should have a current & unrestricted RN license (with eligibility for Mississippi licensure), a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, satisfactory GRE scores (students holding a graduate degree do not need to provide scores), certain undergraduate prerequisites (see the prerequisite checklist on the admissions page), and at least 1 year of clinical RN experience if they are applying to NP tracks. For the AGACNP track, this experience must be in a critical care/ED setting. The total RN to MSN program - including BSN-level coursework - will be between 53-66 credits. Non-NP specialties are the shortest RN to MSN programs (e.g. 53-54 credits); NP specialties are 61-66 credits. You'll be expected to take 16 credits of undergraduate level courses, which are woven into the first years of the program. The remaining credits will be devoted to MSN coursework, including clinical hours. Online components vary between concentrations, so it's best to check each program page. For example, the Nursing and Health Care Administrator track is primarily online, with a full-time equivalent residency in an appropriate setting. But other concentrations include face-to-face meetings and intensives. Sample timelines are listed on each concentration page. NP clinical hours must be completed in the state of Mississippi.