M.S. Nursing, Leadership Areas of Study

The Master of Science, Nursing-Leadership and Management is a competency-based program that prepares graduates to be leaders and managers in diverse settings: hospitals, long term care facilities, community service agencies, governmental agencies and facilities, and corporations. They use their organizational, analytic, strategic planning, financial, human resources, and evaluation skills to services in diverse nursing and healthcare settings. The WGU Master of Science in Nursing, Leadership and Management program content is evidence based on national standards and research related to creating work environments that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, and promote effective functioning in complex nursing and healthcare environments. The Master of Science in Nursing- Leadership/Management content and processes are consistent with the American Nurses Association (ANA) Standards for Nurse Administrators and the AONE competencies for nursing managers and executives. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified nurse administrators (nurse managers and nurse executives). 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 leadership/management focuses on organizational and leadership theories, strategic planning, regulatory standards, risk management, principles of financial management, and concepts of human resource management. A case study approach is used to examine organizational, financial, and personnel issues and their resolution. 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

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 Leadership

Principles of Organizational Performance Management
This is the first specialization course in the nursing leadership and management track. Building on core coursework in the master’s program, future nurse leaders examine the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of managers in maximizing productivity and performance in healthcare organizations. They will explore leadership issues, including how to build and motivate a team, organize staff development (including legal and ethical issues), and budget resources and time. This course encourages future nurse leaders to examine administration from a systems perspective, relying on evidence to inform their practice.

Principles of Healthcare Business and Financial Management
Business and financial healthcare practices have a significant impact on organizational outcomes. In this course, future nurse leaders examine scarce resources, financial principles, and tools for financial and business management. They will also use financial budgeting and management practices and analyze the impact of regulations on the current healthcare environment.

Strategic Leadership and Future Delivery Models
This graduate-level course emphasizes strategic leadership in healthcare, focusing on the trends and directions in the industry and the future of healthcare delivery. Future nurse leaders will have the opportunity to explore how the strategic planning processes incorporates healthcare trends and the evolution of healthcare systems, methods and concepts in strategic leadership, and the ever-changing technology in healthcare.

Nursing Leadership and Management Field Experience
Today’s rapidly changing healthcare delivery environment requires nurse executives to effectively lead change to achieve organization goals and improvements. Registered nurses needs to hold an active nursing license and have considerable clinical experience and education to become a nurse leader or manager. The Nursing Leadership and Management 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.

Nursing Leadership and Management Capstone
The Nursing Leadership and Management capstone course provides the student with an opportunity to engage in a project that is actionable, relevant, highly collaborative, and based on real world experience. The capstone involves development of a scholarly project that addresses a problem, need, or gap in current practices. The capstone project provides an opportunity for the graduate nursing student to demonstrate competency through design, application, and evaluation of a planned practice change, quality improvement, or innovation that is based on the existing evidence and best practices.

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