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MA in Nursing in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN) is a graduate program designed to prepare professional nurses for teaching, managerial and supervisory roles in healthcare institutions.

In its aim to prepare students for managerial and supervisory roles, the MAN program trains students on the essentials of good leadership and managerial responsibilities so that they will be able to effectively and efficiently operate healthcare organizations and hospitals.

For nurses who want to teach nursing in educational institutions, an MAN is essential. The MAN program equips students with the concepts and theories in education and how they can apply these to clinical nursing programs. Colleges and universities offering the program seldom hire nurses who do not have a master’s degree.

An MAN is also important for practicing nurses who are seeking higher positions in hospitals. The length of work/hospital experience together with an MAN, increases the chances of a nurse to be promoted in supervisory roles in hospitals.

There are two types of graduate programs related to the Master of Arts in Nursing degree:
  • Non-thesis Program
    The non-thesis program in nursing aims to develop the competencies of Clinical Instructors in order to make them more effective facilitators of student learning in various nursing subjects. Instead of a thesis paper, graduate nurses are expected to complete a special project.
  • Thesis Program
    The thesis program in nursing prepares holders of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) for leadership roles in nursing administration. It aims to develop students’ competencies in the major fields of nursing such as Community Health Nursing, Medical and Surgical Nursing, Maternal and child Nursing, Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing and other nursing major areas. A thesis paper is required from students to complete this degree.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the Master of Arts in Nursing curriculum are divided into four main categories:
  • Core/Foundation Courses: Theoretical Foundations in Nursing Integrated with Seminar on Problems in Nursing, Theoretical Foundations – Role Development, Societal Factors Related to Wellness, Nursing Research, Advanced Pathophysiology, Statistical Methods in Nursing,
  • Major Courses: Nursing in Community Development, Administration in Health Care Institution, Administration in Nursing Education, Health Human Resource Management, Curriculum Development in Nursing, Theoretical Framework for Nursing Practice, Administrative Process in Nursing, Curriculum and Teaching in Nursing, Legal Problems in Nursing
  • Nursing Electives: Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Health Policy, Issues and Process, Clinical and Classroom Assessment Technique, Curriculum and Development in Higher Education, Nursing Informatics, Nursing in Community Systems, Human Behavior in Health Care System
  • Areas of Specialization with Practicum:
    • Nursing Service Administration
    • Maternal and Child Nursing
    • Medical Surgical Nursing
    • Administration and Supervision Nursing
    • Mental Health & Psychiatric Nursing
    • Nursing Education Administration
The lessons in the MAN program are taught to students through classroom lectures, seminars and trainings.

Students also need to accomplish the following requirements:
  • Practicum
    In the second year of study, a student has to choose a field of specialization and complete the number of hours intended for its practicum. Students are assigned in different hospitals and in a variety of areas depending on their area of specialization. The practicum is done under the supervision of a nurse professor.
  • Thesis (thesis program)
    Special Project (non-thesis program)
    Students who prepare a thesis paper are required to face a panel, where they will be questioned and evaluated.
  • Comprehensive Examination
    The last requirement that a student must pass is the comprehensive examination. This exam sums up all the lessons in the MAN program. The exam type is usually in essay and multiple choice form.

What are the admission requirements for Master of Arts in Nursing?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Hold a BS in Nursing degree: To be admitted in the MAN program, an applicant must have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
  • Be a Registered Nurse (Board Examination Passer): Applicant for the MAN program must be a Registered Nurse in the Philippines. Upon enrolling, a student must bring credentials such as his/her PRC License and Board Examination Result.
  • Hospital Experience: some schools require applicants a minimum length of nursing work experience.
  • Graduate School Entrance Exam: pass the Master in Nursing entrance examination conducted by the college.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college.
  • Certificate of Employment: some schools require their applicants to submit a certificate of employment, in order to determine the length of an applicant’s work experience.
(See sources 1, 2, 3)

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Collaborative skills – the ability to coordinate with different health professionals in the care of patients
  • Service Orientation – being happy with helping and serving other people
  • English skills – when you study masters the method of teaching is self-directed, there will be a lot of reporting and presentations so the ability to proficiently speak and write English and convey information is very important
  • Reading comprehension – most of the time, you will be left alone in the library by your professors to read a lot of materials that you will have to understand on your own. Long chapter exams will also be part of your daily meeting therefore you must have the innate love for reading.
  • Interpersonal skills – in your master’s class you will less likely be working alone because professors love to group students to perform certain activities. You will encounter classmates who come from different age groups and background thus it’s important to be able to maintain good working relationships and adapt to different kinds of attitude.
  • Judgment and Decision making skills – being able to decide and prioritize problems according to importance and urgency
  • Basic Mathematical skills – the ability to compute and use different computational methods to solve medication dosage, consumption etc.
  • Active Listening – while graduate school practices self-directed learning, there will also be times when your professors will give very long lectures for consecutive days, this is to emphasize the most important lessons which cannot be solely studied by students. It is important that you listen carefully and ask questions because your professors will not discuss lessons again.
  • Analytical skills – unlike in the undergraduate level, studying masters is different because you will do most of the things that are supposed to be the job of your professors. From looking for relevant books, reading them and jotting down your thoughts and ideas. Because of this, you have to see the logical connections among concepts and be able to apply them in the practice of your teaching profession.
  • Patience – long lecture hours will wear students down, it’s important to have the patience to withstand long hours of plain listening and taking down notes.

How difficult is the MA in Nursing program?

Master of Arts in Nursing is a slightly difficult graduate course.

Unlike other graduate degrees, the MAN program requires a hospital practicum. Along with the lectures, you must be able to complete the number of hours intended for the practicum which is only conducted during the weekends. Although the number of hours is not very high, it is still challenging because of time constraints.

Another challenging part of the program are the final requirements: for the thesis option, the thesis making and for the non-thesis, a special project.

The thesis paper is especially difficult because nursing is an evidenced based degree. This means that everything that you include in your thesis must be supported by objective and scientific data. It is a complicated form of Case Study Analysis.

The special project is also difficult to make; usually, your professors will be the ones to assign you with a topic for the project.

While completing these requirements, time will be the enemy of many students as they are only given one semester to complete them; this will prove more difficult for those who are currently employed and are balancing work and study.

How long does it take to complete the MAN program in the Philippines?

The MAN program takes 2 years to complete.
Most students who enroll in the MAN program are already employed as nurses or hold other positions. Because of time restraints, the majority of graduates take more than two years to complete the degree.

Areas of Specialization

The most common areas of specialization in the MAN program are:
  • Nursing Service Administration – prepares nursing graduates for clinical specialization and leadership roles in nursing. The program enhances their understanding and skills in the theories of nursing service, administration, community health, education, research and private practice.
  • Maternal and Child Nursing – concentrates on topics regarding maternal & child nursing which covers prenatal care, pregnancy and labor, care of the newborn, complications of pregnancy, and postnatal care.
  • Medical Surgical Nursing – includes topics in different medical and surgical conditions/diseases, its corresponding assessment techniques, diagnosis and nursing interventions and the latest trends in nursing care and research.
  • Mental Health & Psychiatric Nursing – a course of study that includes the assessment and management of mental health problems and psychiatric disorders.
  • Nursing Education Administration – concentrates on preparing nurses to function in leadership and management roles in academic institutions and healthcare organizations

Career Opportunities for MAN graduates

Practically speaking, the purpose of a MAN degree is for career and professional advancement. A student who is a holder of this degree will be able to apply to more advanced positions in nursing administration and management. The following are some of the supervisory positions that students can take:
  • Head nurses – work in any variety of medical facilities such as hospitals, treatment centers or nursing homes. Head nurses carry out the same functions as any other nurse, but they are in a managerial position and often are responsible for whole sections of facilities as well as communication with upper management and doctors.
  • Nurse supervisors – take on many tasks. In addition to overseeing patients, they also direct a staff of nurses. They are in charge of hiring, scheduling and making sure their nursing unit is running smoothly.
  • Nurse Administrators – responsible for overseeing the nursing staff of particular nursing units or entire hospitals.
  • Nursing Educator – an RN who teaches nursing at a university or college
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – licensed registered nurse who has either a master's or doctorate degree in a specialized area of nursing; they can work as nurse researchers, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwives, nurse consultants, senior nurse supervisors etc.
  • Nurse Executives – responsible for the administration and management of patient care services. Nurse executives oversee the planning and development of policies and procedures for healthcare clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and other types of healthcare facilities.
  • Health Service Manager – responsible for the strategic, financial and day-to-day running of hospital, general practitioner (GP) or community health services.
  • Health Promotion Specialists – sometimes called health education specialists, help people to improve their health and increase their control over it.
  • Health Policy Nurses – analyze health and public policies, helping to create a healthier society. Nurses with expertise in this growing role can be leaders in advocacy, research, analysis, policy development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Nurse Practitioner – nurses who create their own clinics and practice autonomously. Just like doctors, nurses are also entitled to do private practice. However, they must stick to the scope of nursing. They can perform basic clinical procedures and offer basic health services such as vital signs taking, patient history taking, blood sugar testing, prenatal care, wound care, umbilical cord care, follow-up care, referral etc. This is rare in the Philippines, but in the US, this is very common.
  • Nurse Researchers – work as analysts for private companies or health policy nonprofits. They publish research studies based on data collected on specific pharmaceutical/medical/nursing product and practices.
  • Chief Medical Officer – takes on supervisory and managerial roles in running healthcare institutions efficiently.

Will a Master’s degree in Nursing increase my chances of working abroad?

The demand for Filipino Nurses abroad is quite low at present (2017). According to reports, Filipino nurses will continue to struggle in entering specific countries until 2020 (see sources 1, 2). Although there are some Filipino Nurses who are able to go abroad through student visas, a master’s degree in nursing is quite irrelevant because foreign employers give more importance to the length of hospital experience of an applicant.

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