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Pitt Becomes 11th Institution in U.S. to Offer MSN in School Nursing

Pitt Nursing is offering a new specialty area for students wishing to pursue their Master of Science in Nursing.

The School Nursing online program will prepare licensed registered nurses to work in the specialty practice of school nursing, which requires advanced skills to address the complex health needs of students within a school community setting. In the 1960s, 2% of children had a chronic health condition. That number skyrocketed in 2019, now 25-32% of children have a chronic health condition, and when they reach adolescence that number jumps to 41.8%.

“We are very excited to build upon our certificate program in school nursing to offer an MSN,” said Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing. “As the Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity report, released in 2021 indicated, school nurses play a vital role in advancing health equity, and Pitt Nursing is enthusiastic about offering advanced preparation for this significant public health role.” 

The innovative, online program is a continuation of Pitt Nursing’s online 15-credit School Nurse PK-12 Certificate. The online MSN in School Nursing will offer an additional 18 credits for a total of 33 credits in the program. Students will have three options to complete the program:

  1. Full-time over one year without a prior School Nurse PK-12 Certificate (33 credits).
  2. Part-time over one year after completion of the School Nurse PK-12 Certificate (18 credits).
  3. Part-time over two years without prior School Nurse PK-12 certificate (33 credits).

School nurses are leaving the workforce in record numbers. In 2018, a study by the National Association of School Nurses found that almost half of all school nurses in the United States are over the age of 50 and close to retirement. Pitt Nursing will help fill the need for school nurses, as only 10 colleges and universities offer an MSN in School Nursing in the United States. The MSN in School Nursing will also provide collegiate credits and specialized education hours required for active certifications, since school nurses who practice in Pennsylvania are required to be certified. Pitt Nursing’s new MSN in School Nursing program will allow nurses in Pennsylvania with a Level 1 Certificate, which is only good for six years, to obtain a Level 2 Certificate and keep their Certificate active (school nurses must have 24 credits after their initial BSN and practice for three years as a school nurse).

Pitt Nursing expects to enroll students in the MSN School Nurse program in the fall 2022.

For more information on the program and to apply: https://www.nursing.pitt.edu/degree-programs/master-science-nursing/school-nursing-online