Online RN to MSN Programs in Oregon
We’re happy to report that both of the Oregon RN to MSN programs in our school listings are offered online. We go into more detail about each one in the program profiles, but here are some major points to consider:
- Northwest Christian University: NCU’s 100% online program can be completed in an RN to MSN track (i.e. you earn a BSN as well as an MSN) and a Bridge track for those who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree (i.e. no BSN). Courses are offered in an asynchronous format and project-based practice experiences are completed in your local community. But be sure to check the State Authorization section on NCU’s program pages before you apply. NCU is authorized in most Western states, but it can’t offer the program in Washington and it’s still seeking permission for a number of other states.
- Oregon Health & Science University: OHSU has two different pathways for the online RNBS to Master’s. 1) Non-OCNE community college graduates must study online and must begin in the winter term. 2) OCNE graduates can choose to study online or at the Portland campus and they complete fewer credits during the undergraduate portion. However, all candidates must have an Oregon RN license by the end of the first term. Whatever path you take, check with the program coordinator to see if you’ll be required to visit the campus. For example, the Leadership concentration looks to be 100% online, but the Education concentration includes some face-to-face intensives. OHSU also states that students complete clinical experiences in an appropriate site in their geographical area (within Oregon and border counties in Washington).
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Oregon
This ranking of the most affordable Oregon RN to MSN programs is based on per credit graduate tuition rates. Still, we’ll admit that it’s unfair to compare them. The actual cost will depend on the total number of credits, any additional fees, undergraduate rates for BSN coursework, and your transfer possibilities. So take these numbers with a grain of salt.
OHSU is a public university, which means per credit tuition rates for Oregon residents are around $300 lower than out-of-state rates. However, residents of border counties may be eligible to apply for in-state tuition.
Oregon’s Healthcare Landscape
In most respects, Oregon is a healthy state. It tends to do well in America’s Health Rankings and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) rankings. It often gets good marks from the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. And it has a strong base of high-quality medical centers in the Portland area.
But it’s not perfect. One of the worrying factors that crops up repeatedly is a high prevalence of frequent mental distress. Suicide rates in Oregon are high and many rural patients lack access to care. In 2018, Oregon received a D- for Mental Health on the U.S. Rural Health Report Card—its lowest grade by far.
Oregon healthcare providers are aware of the problem, but they’re also exasperated by a lack of support from the state government. Due to a decrease in state hospital beds for mentally ill patients, emergency rooms have become the de facto holding ground for psychiatric cases. The Unity Center for Behavioral Health was a step in the right direction, but it was plagued by patient safety issues in the first year of operation and it cannot meet the heavy demand for crisis centers and community health services.
Oregon Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
On top of this, Oregon has been facing shortage of mental healthcare professionals. A 2018 Merritt Hawkins report pointed out that Oregon had less than 10 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. Because of insurance reimbursement rates, many of them (e.g. 50%) can’t afford to offer services to patients with Medicare or Medicaid. Rural patients who live far away from Portland may have no alternatives.
Oregon PMHNPs and primary care providers could make a real difference to patients, but they will need an infrastructure in place (e.g. hospital funding for mental healthcare, more community health clinics, more nurse-run practices, etc.) in order to do so. If you want the latest updates on Oregon’s current healthcare issues, visit the OAHHS section on Policy & Advocacy and the ONA’s section on Government Relations.
Jobs for Oregon 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 on an annual basis. If you’re trying to compare Oregon with Washington and California, the regional maps can be very helpful!
The other resource we’d recommend is the Oregon Center for Nursing. It publishes state-specific Workforce Reports on a regular basis, including data on job projections and trends in Oregon’s nursing workforce (e.g. “The Demand for Nursing Professionals in Oregon”).
As you might expect, the Portland area is a prime hotspot for APRN and nursing & instructor jobs in Oregon:
- This is due—in a large part—to the presence of OHSU, Legacy, Kaiser, and Providence health systems, which have a number of hospitals in the city and the suburbs.
- In fact, you’ll usually find OHSU and Providence (Portland and St. Vincent) in the U.S. News & World’s reports rankings of the Best Hospitals in Oregon and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities in Oregon.
- You could also investigate the VA Portland Healthcare System for veterans work and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital or Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel for pediatric care.
The cost of living is rising in Portland, and housing is at a premium, so don’t despair if you can’t find something immediately. For example, if you’re losing out in job applications to well-connected graduates from OHSU or UP, you could consider working across the river in Vancouver, WA or heading further afield.
In 2019, the U.S. News rankings also included names like the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, and the St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. Salem Hospital also has a good reputation as a magnet facility. Use OAHHS’s Oregon Hospital Map to view your options.
- Hoping to run your own NP practice? In Oregon, NPs are recognized as primary care providers; they have full independent practice authority and full independent prescriptive authority. The OSBN’s section on Advanced Practice has full details, including rules for APRN specialties (e.g. CRNA, CNS, etc.).
- Interested in rural care? The Oregon Office of Rural Health (OORH) provides career services for rural healthcare providers and runs a number of incentive programs, including the Rural Practitioner Tax Credit, the Oregon Health Care Provider Loan Repayment, the Primary Care Loan Forgiveness Program, and more!
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Oregon Nursing Job Boards
- ONA Career Center: Job openings for Oregon nurses, including APRNs, nurse leaders, and nurse educators
- NWone Career Center: Job openings for nurse executives & leaders in the Northwest Pacific area
- OCN Find a Job: The Oregon Center for Nursing’s advice section on nursing careers, with links to healthcare job boards and employment-related websites
Oregon APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Oregon Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Oregon Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Oregon Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Oregon Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Oregon Chapter
- Nurse Practitioners of Oregon (NPO)
- Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS)
- Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN)
- Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)
Oregon Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Oregon Affiliate (Oregon ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Oregon Chapter (APNA Oregon)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Oregon (AWHONN Oregon)
- Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives (NWone)
- Northwest PeriAnesthesia Nurses Association (NPANA)
- Oregon Association of Nurse Anesthetists (ORANA)
- Oregon Council of Clinical Nurse Specialists (OCCNS)
- Oregon Emergency Nurses Association (Oregon ENA)
- Oregon School Nurses Association (OSNA)
- Oregon State Association of Occupational Health Nurses (OSAOHN)
- Oregon Student Nurses’ Association (OSNA)
- Pacific Northwest Association of Neonatal Nurses (PNANN)
Nursing School Overview
Bushnell is a small private Christian liberal arts university in Eugene that started as a divinity school. So you'll see that it emphasizes learning within a Christ-centered environment. The university doesn't offer a conventional BSN (and therefore doesn't publish NCLEX pass rates). Instead, its CCNE-accredited nursing programs are designed to help RNs finish off their education. For example, Bushnell has a large number of articulation agreements with Oregon community colleges that allow holders of an associate degree in nursing to easily transfer their credits. It also works with a number of local-area businesses (e.g. PeaceHealth, CHI-Mercy Medical Center, Oregon Medical Group, etc.) to offer small scholarships to RNs who want to continue their education. Independent reviews of NCU's nursing programs can be tricky to find on the web. To get a better sense of the program, see if you can "test drive" an online course, chat to recent alumni, and ask for pass rates on the relevant exam (e.g. NLN).
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
Bushnell has two 100% online pathways. The RN to MSN track is designed for RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing who want to earn a BSN along the way. The Bridge track is for RNs who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university - a BSN is not awarded in this program. Regardless of the track, all candidates should have an active RN license and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (Bushnell will consider lower GPAs on a case-by-case basis). The university will also accept up to 94 transfer credits. Once accepted, RN to MSN students must complete 9 bachelor-level courses (27 credits) before enrolling in the MSN. These courses include typical BSN subjects (e.g. leadership, population health, etc.), a nursing capstone, and a lifelong learning course that tackles subjects such as nursing as a ministry and Jesus as a healer. Bridge students only have to take 5 bachelor-level courses (15 credits) and don't take the course in lifelong learning. Once you're enrolled in the graduate program, the online MSN in Nurse Leadership is 30 credits and takes around 18 months to complete. Specialty courses & clinicals cover areas such as leadership, data management, and healthcare finances. The online MSN in Nursing Education is 36 credits and takes 24 months to complete. This concentration includes a final 135-hour teaching practicum.
Nursing School Overview
OHSU is an extremely well-respected public university in Portland. The main campus includes two major hospitals, and OHSU graduates are often considered second-to-none in Oregon. You'll see this reflected in U.S. News & World Report rankings for the School of Nursing. OHSU is frequently in the top 25 of Best Nursing Schools, the top 5 of Nurse Midwifery programs, and the top 20 of Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Faculty are involved in a number of research projects and interprofessional initiatives, and the school runs its own Hartford Center of Gerontological Excellence. If you make it into the online MSN, you'll typically find small class sizes (e.g. 9 students), experienced teachers (e.g. 100% of faculty with a Ph.D. or terminal degree), and smart peers (e.g. average undergraduate GPA of 3.4). Retention rates for the MSN are consistently greater than 90% and the majority of students complete their program of study in 2 years. Nursing scholarships are available. In particular, OHSU offers a modest Michaelson Gerontological Nursing Scholarship to students who are enrolled in the MSN in Nursing Education. You'll find plenty of positive reviews about OHSU's clinical nursing programs on the web (e.g. nurse midwifery, CRNA, etc.). But don't be afraid to ask graduates of the leadership & education tracks for their opinions as well.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
OHSU's online program is tailor-made for RNs who want to earn a BS and an MSN. There are different admissions requirements for graduates of OCNE partner community colleges and non-OCNE graduates. OCNE applicants must complete required non-nursing courses and have an Oregon RN license by the end of the first term. Non-OCNE candidates must hold - or be in the process of completing - an AAS in Nursing from a regionally accredited community college, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, have an Oregon RN license by the end of the first term, and fulfill certain prerequisites. In addition, non-OCNE students can only begin the RNBS program in winter. Once admitted, OCNE graduates must complete 33 upper division nursing credits (e.g. 9 months of full-time study or 1.5 years of part-time study) to earn the BS. In contrast, Non-OCNE graduates must tackle 39 upper division nursing credits (e.g. 1 year of full-time study or 2 years of part-time study). See the Sample Programs of Study section for more info. Completion of either MSN might take 18 months (7 terms). In particular, students in the Nursing Education concentration have the option to sub-specialize in a clinical population area (e.g. adult gerontology). Almost all courses are online, but some face-to-face intensives may be required for Nursing Education. Students also have mentored clinical experiences in an appropriate site in their geographical area (within Oregon and border counties in Washington).