If you're a nurse and want to increase your responsibility, clout and paycheck, look into a master’s degree program. Nurses with advanced degrees can dispense treatment at health clinics, administer anesthetics and make decisions for hospitalized ill people in much the same manner as a doctor. Fortunately for Virginia nursing students, multiple master’s degree programs are available in the state.

Central Virginia

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville offers 10 nursing master's degrees, including degrees specializing in gerontology acute care, pediatrics and health systems management. Five of the choices are for nurse practitioner degrees. Nurses complete clinical training in the UVA Medical Center, a 580-bed hospital with a trauma center. Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond has nine master’s degrees for full- or part-time students. Its state-of-the-art learning facility opened in 2007. Clinicals are in the VCU Health System, which includes a cancer center, heart center, neurosurgical center, children’s hospital and hospital trauma center.

Southeastern Virginia

Hampton University offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree in administration or education, or as a family nurse practitioner. The school’s roots trace back to 1891. The master’s program was initiated in 1976 and is the first-ever master’s program in nursing at a historically black college or university. Old Dominion University in Norfolk offers seven different master’s degrees, including programs for nurse anesthetists and family nurse practitioners. Its master’s degree program for nurse midwifery was established in 2004 as a joint program with Shenandoah University. The family nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, nurse educator and nurse administrator master’s programs are offered online.

Western Virginia

Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke offers two master’s degrees: family nurse practitioner and nursing administration. You can get your nursing administration degree in four full-time semesters or six part-time semesters. The nurse practitioner degree takes eight part-time semesters. Lynchburg College has two master’s degrees: clinical nurse leader or nursing education. The school also offers an MSN/MBA dual program. The nursing education program trains you to become a unit-based educator, a staff development educator or a nursing school faculty member.

Northern Virginia

George Mason University in Fairfax has master’s programs with concentrations in nursing administration, nursing education, nurse practitioner and advanced clinical nursing. The school also has an RN-to-MSN pathway program. Many of the courses are presented online, although some are conducted in classrooms. James Madison University in Harrisonburg offers master’s degrees in five concentrations: clinical nurse leader, nurse administrator, nurse midwife, adult-gerontology primary-care nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. The first three of the five were added to the curriculum in 2012.

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