M.S. Nursing, Education Areas of Study

The Master of Science degree is a competency-based program that prepares graduates to be educators in diverse settings: hospitals, community agencies, schools, industry and businesses, and nursing programs. They provide education and training to nurses, nursing students, school children, community groups, workers, patients, and consumers. The WGU Master of Science in Nursing Program Education content is evidence based on national standards and research related to effective teaching, learning, and role development. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable educators to teach effectively in diverse learning environments. The Master of Science in Nursing for Nurse Educators content and processes are consistent with the National League for Nursing (NLN) Nurse Educator Competencies. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified educators. The hallmarks of our program include: (a) research-based course preparation and (b) all work in this degree program is online. This program consists of developing core knowledge related to complexities of healthcare, access, quality, and costs for diverse populations. New nursing knowledge includes research, theory, technology applied to nursing practice, evidence based practice, ethics, and new roles for master's prepared nurses. The nurse educator focuses on learning styles, the development and socialization of learners, and strategies to facilitate learning. Educators also need to organize their activities around learning theories. Developing curriculum, objectives, and learning modules are part of an educator role. The process for assessment, measurement, evaluation, and use of outcome data for improvement is presented.

MSN Professional Nursing Core

Professional Presence and Influence
Who we are and how we behave affects others. Our professional presence in therapeutic settings can support or inhibit well-being not only in patients, but also in the rest of the health care team, in the family and support system of the patients, and in the health care organization as a whole.

This course will help registered nurses manage this impact by recognizing situations and practices that support a positive environment and cultivating actions and responses to achieve and maintain this environment. The growth of self-knowledge will expand nurses’ ability to direct influence in ways that are intended rather than in random or destructive ways.

Translational Research for Practice and Populations
This graduate-level course builds on your baccalaureate-level statistical knowledge to help you develop skills in analyzing, interpreting, and translating research into nursing practice using principles of patient-centered care and applications to individuals and populations.

Organizational Leadership and Interprofessional Team Development
This graduate-level course builds on baccalaureate-level leadership knowledge to develop application skills in complex healthcare environments with diverse teams. Graduates will develop knowledge and competencies in the following areas:

  • leadership theory
  • systems and complexity theory
  • advanced communication
  • building consensus

Knowledge, skills, and abilities related to creating cultures of safety and leading quality improvement are key parts of this course and of contemporary leadership. Most importantly, students will develop and establish deep understanding of leadership roles within organizations, a central theme in the course.

Upon successful completion of this course, Students will demonstrate: critical decision making, critical analysis, and visionary thinking to lead and affect positive healthcare environments; the ability to build consensus and communicate a compelling vision that facilitates teamwork.

Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
In Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice, students will gain application skills by examining syndromes rather than looking at body systems independently. The course includes pathophysiologies, the associated pharmacological treatments, and social and environmental impacts. Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice is an integrated examination of five common and important disease processes:

  • asthma
  • heart failure
  • obesity
  • traumatic brain injury
  • depression

These processes are relevant to advanced nursing practice because of their prevalence and impact on the healthcare system and the health of the nation.

Contemporary Pharmacotherapeutics
This course provides the opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge and skills in the therapeutic use of pharmacologic agents, herbals, and supplements. Students will explore the pharmacologic treatment of major health problems and examine the principles of pharmacogenomics. The effects of culture, ethnicity, age, pregnancy, gender, healthcare setting, and funding of pharmacologic therapy will be emphasized. Legal aspects of prescribing will be fully addressed. Case studies will be utilized to present some of these concepts.

Comprehensive Health Assessment for Patients and Populations
In this course, students will learn about the principles of health assessment from the individual to the global level. Students will learn to perform a comprehensive functional health assessment that includes social structures, family history, and environmental situations, from the individual patient to the population.

This course builds on prior knowledge gained in previous courses and in nursing practice, in areas such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, and epidemiology, and focus on applying this knowledge in various populations with common disorders. This course is roughly divided into three parts:

  • Advanced health assessment focusing on abnormal findings for common disease.
  • Integrating health assessment findings into a population, considering such issue as culture, spirituality, and continuum.
  • Functionality of clients based upon the problems and populations.

Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience
The Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience course gives you an opportunity to apply leadership knowledge to evaluate a healthcare facility and then recommend an organizational change to improve population health. In this course you will integrate and apply your learning in a clinical experience working with a nurse leader. You will demonstrate and document the following skills:

  • lead change to improve quality health in populations
  • advance a culture of excellence through lifelong learning
  • build and lead collaborative interprofessional care teams
  • navigate and integrate care services across the healthcare system
  • design innovative nursing practices
  • translate evidence into practice

Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends
Social, political, and economic factors influence policies that impact health outcomes in acute care settings in communities, nationally and globally. Nurse leaders need to understand the determinants of health as well as how legal and regulatory processes, healthcare finances, research, the role of professional organizations, and special interest groups/lobbyists impact health outcomes.This course provides a framework for understanding the organization of healthcare delivery and financing systems in the U.S. and other nations. It addresses how policies are made and factors that influence policies at local, national, and global levels that impact health/wellness and the nursing profession. The roles of values, ethical theories, stakeholder interests, research, and recent legislation related to health policy and health outcomes will be explored. The nurse leader will gain expertise in effecting change through active participation in influencing or developing policies that impact health.

Nursing Science

Advanced Information Management and the Application of Technology
In this course you will examine the complementary roles of the master’s level-prepared nursing information technology professionals, including informaticists and quality officers. You will analyze current and emerging technologies, data management, ethical, legal and regulatory, best-practice evidence, and bio-health informatics using decision-making support systems at the point of care.

Nursing Education

Foundations of Nursing Education
This graduate-level course in the education specialty core examines the contemporary issues of nursing education. While traditional contexts for learning are included, students will also focus on modern technology and trends in nursing education. Students will explore curriculum development, educational philosophy, theories and models, instruction and evaluation, as well as e-learning, simulations, and current technology in nursing education.

Facilitating Learning in the 21st Century
This course applies traditional learning theories in contemporary nursing practice, using 21st-century educational paradigms. Students will examine and experiment with various educational ideas including: nursing curricula development, facilitated learner development and diversity, assessment and evaluation strategies of learners, and evaluation of course and program outcomes.

Future Directions in Contemporary Learning and Education
This course builds on previously developed concepts acquired in Foundations of Nursing Education and Facilitating Learning in the 21st Century. This course will explore how changes in the economy, advancements in science, and the explosion of technology have created a paradigm shift in nursing education. Graduates will further explore the role of the educator and the application of innovative education strategies.

Nursing Education Field Experience
Nurse educators teach the next generation of nurses, in academic and clinical settings. They must be licensed to practice nursing and have considerable hands-on nursing experience, as well as advanced training and education. The Nursing Education Field Experience provides the graduate student with an opportunity to work collaboratively within the organization where he/she is employed to address an identified nursing problem, need, or gap in current practices. Students then works to promote a practice change, quality improvement, or innovation that is based on the existing evidence and best practices.

Nurse Educator Capstone
The capstone is a scholarly project that addresses an issue, need, gap or opportunity resulting from an identified in nursing education or healthcare need. The capstone project provides the opportunity for the graduate nursing student to demonstrate competency through design, application and evaluation of advanced nursing knowledge and higher level leadership skills for ultimately improving health outcomes.

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