Planning your future? Check out the sections on North Dakota’s healthcare landscape and jobs for North Dakota RN to MSN graduates. We’ve included links to healthcare reports, job & wage data, job boards, hospital rankings, and ND nursing associations & organizations.
Online RN to MSN Programs in North Dakota
Our school listings contain one North Dakota university with an online RN to MSN program—the private (but extremely affordable) University of Mary. We provide full details in the program profile. Here’s a summary of the online aspects:
- University of Mary: UMary’s ADN to MSN program is 100% online. Some work will be asynchronous (i.e. no mandatory log-in times); some work could involve synchronous (i.e. live) meetings. Discussion boards, weekly assignments, online lectures & webinars, and instructor interactions may all be part of the mix. UMary belongs to NC SARA, so out-of-state applications for a leadership concentration should be straightforward. But it’s always best to check with the program coordinator.
Looking for more choice? Our page on Online RN to MSN Programs has a full listing of distance learning programs in every state.
North Dakota’s Healthcare Landscape
North Dakota’s oil boom brought a lot of money into the area, and the subsequent wealth has helped to sustain rural towns and widen the taxpayer base. That’s good news for healthcare funding. The state doesn’t do too badly in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance and it often gets an “A” in the U.S. Rural Health Report Card.
But it has its problems. Smoking and a high prevalence of excessive drinking are perennial areas of concern, as are the adult obesity rate and the state’s high rate of suicide. These problems are often more pronounced among men in rural counties. Alcohol deaths can be one of the bottom ranked indicators in the Commonwealth Fund’s scorecard.
The other area of concern is access. In UND’s Fifth Biennial Report on Health Issues for the State of North Dakota, the authors noted that there has been a chronic shortage of primary care providers in rural and western parts of North Dakota for years. The state’s only mediocre grades in the 2018 U.S. Rural Health Report Card were for primary care access (D+) and mental health access (C+).
North Dakota Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
North Dakota is aware of the issue. For instance, UND has worked with the North Dakota Legislature on a Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) that’s helping to drive healthcare graduates back into North Dakota practices.
The state has also given NPs full independent practice authority (see NDBONS’s Advanced Practice FAQs for details). When you evaluate all of North Dakota’s rural designated areas, hard-working NPs are often to be found in the most isolated parts (e.g. FNPs).
However, the authors of UND’s 2019 Biennial Report were seeing a potential need for:
- North Dakota NPs in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs): In recent years, vacancy rates for NPs at CAHs have exceeded 10%. CAHs located in rural areas have problems recruiting for all positions except for Nurse Managers/Clinical Directors.
- Nurse Midwives: There are very few CNMs in North Dakota (e.g. 20) and few universities in northern states with CNM programs. If obstetricians and family practice physicians aren’t prepared to work in rural areas, CNMs may be required to step in.
- Adult Gerontology Experts & PMHNPs: An aging population and more attention on North Dakota’s behavorial health challenges (see the suicide and alcohol statistics above) could create demand for NPs with specialized skills.
Jobs for North Dakota RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
You can get a bird’s-eye-view of the career territory in the north by examining the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s pages on Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. The job & wage maps are a great way to compare regions.
As any RN will already know, the three major job centers in North Dakota are Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks. These cities are where you’ll find the Best Hospitals in North Dakota and Magnet Facilities.
Bismarck: The two big names in this city with a “small town feel” are CHI St. Alexius-Health and Sanford Bismarck (a Magnet facility). St. Alexius tends to get glowing reviews on nursing message boards, especially for the teaching environment—the University of Mary runs a BSN program that feeds many of its students into the hospital.
Fargo: Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota, and it employs around 38% of the state’s NPs. A number of them work at the well-respected Sanford Medical Center Fargo, which opened a brand-new facility in 2017. You could also consider Essentia Health, which has a good patient experience rating, or educator positions at North Dakota State University.
Grand Forks: Options include the Altru Health System in Grand Forks, or suburban choices such as Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Sanford Mayville Medical Center, and Sanford Hillsboro Medical Center. The University of North Dakota, which runs one of the largest nursing programs in the state, is also based here.
The NDHA’s directory of Member Hospitals has links to each hospital website—you can search the job section from there. If you’re willing to serve in a CAH, UND’s Center for Rural Health has a list of Critical Access Hospitals and Indian Health Service Units.
Finally, keep in mind that APRNs in North Dakota are eligible to apply for the Health Care Professional Student Loan Repayment Program (HCPS). Providers who agree to work full-time in an underserved area (e.g. outside of a city) for up to 5 years can receive a fairly sizeable loan repayment.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
North Dakota Nursing Job Boards
- NDNA Career Center: Jobs for North Dakota nurses, including APRNs, nurse educators, and nurse leaders
- NDCFN Career Center: Job listings for North Dakota nurses
- NDNPA Career Center: Job listings for North Dakota NPs
- NDHA Job Openings: Listings for healthcare professionals in North Dakota hospitals
North Dakota APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for North Dakota Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for North Dakota Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
North Dakota Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
North Dakota Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- North Dakota Center for Nursing (NDCFN)
- North Dakota Hospital Association (NDHA)
- North Dakota Nurses Association (NDNA)
- North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association (NDNPA)
North Dakota Nursing Specialty Organizations
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – North Dakota (AWHONN North Dakota)
- Minnesota-Dakota Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (MNDAKSPAN)
- North Dakota Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NDANA)
- North Dakota Organization of Nurse Executives (NDONE)
- North Dakota School Nurses Organization (NDSNO)
- North Dakota State Council of Emergency Nurses Association (ND ENA)
- Nursing Students’ Association of North Dakota (NSAND)
Nursing School Overview
UMary is a private Benedictine university in Bismarck. It's the largest degree-granting institution in that city, but it's also known for personalized attention, small class sizes, and a strong Catholic atmosphere. One of UMary's key selling points is price. Online nursing graduate nursing programs are offered through the School of Health Sciences and University of Mary Online, and they're extremely affordable for a private school. In the NDBON Education Annual Reports, you'll notice that UMary enrolls more graduate nursing students than North Dakota State University. It has superb first-time NCLEX pass rates (e.g. 94%+) and FNP pass rates (e.g. 100%) - some of the best in the nation. In addition, BSN graduates often go on to work in CHI St. Alexius-Health. You'll find a few independent reviews of UMary's nursing programs on the web (mostly for the BSN). They're uniformly positive. Alumni say the instructors are excellent, communication is great, and classes are engaging.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
This accelerated 100% online program in leadership is open to RNs with an ADN or diploma in nursing. Candidates should have a current & unencumbered RN license and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75. UMary will also want to see a professional goals statement, resume, and 2 references. Once accepted, you can transfer or take certain undergraduate prerequisites (e.g. statistics, anatomy, psychology, etc.) to fulfill graduation requirements. You must also complete the 43-credit ADN to MSN pathway. This consists of 2 BSN-level bridge courses (Community as Partner and The Professional Nurse) and 41 credits of graduate work, including core courses and specialty subjects (e.g. management, HR, economics & finance, etc.). The program finishes with a service project (500 experiential hours). During this time, students partner with a healthcare organization to plan, implement, and measure outcomes on a relevant project. The entire ADN to MSN program might take 2 academic years/5 semesters to complete.