M.S. Nursing, Education (RN to MSN Option) Areas of Study

The WGU MSN (RN to MSN Option) program is based on best practices for effective learning and national standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable graduates to expand their knowledge in areas of research, theory, community concepts, health care policy and finance, therapeutic interventions, and current trends.

General Education

Foundations of College Mathematics
This course focuses on basic numeracy and calculation skills, basic algebra skills, basic geometry principles, and basic data and probability skills.

Communication Foundations
This course focuses on the application of grammatical standards and reading skills.

Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology and Human Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory

Survey in U.S. and World History
The content in these courses include major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.

Language and Communication: Essay

Language and Communication: Presentation

Literature, Arts, and the Humanities
These courses focus on content, concepts, terminology, methodology, models, and issues within and across the disciplines of the humanities.

Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Health Science Core

Clinical Microbiology

Behavioral Science


Nursing Science

Care of the Older Adult
Care of the Older Adult adapts the concepts from prior coursework to the care of older adults. An understanding of the effects that policy and legislation have on how healthcare systems treat aging patients sets a foundation for improving their care. Students will apply health assessment skills and evidence-based standards in such a way to account for the specific needs of older adults. Emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining the dignity of older adults by focusing on cultural, religious, spiritual, and communication needs and by collaborating on care with older adults, families, and caregivers.

Nutrition for Contemporary Society
Nutrition for Contemporary Society focuses on basic nutrition, physiology of food digestion, plant derived nutrients, fats: essential for life, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fluid balance, healthy bodily weight, nutrition and physical activity, nutrition through the lifecycle, and nutrition issues: safety and security of food.

Nursing Theory and Practice

Health Assessment

Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
This course will assist students to become familiar with foundational theories and models of health promotion and disease prevention, applicable to the community health nursing environment. Students will develop understanding of how policies and resources influence the health of populations. Students will engage in learning the importance of community assessment to improve or resolve a community health issue. Students will be introduced to the relationships between cultures and communities and the steps necessary to create community collaboration to improve or resolve community health issues in a variety of settings. Students will analyze health systems in the United States, global health issues, quality-of-life issues, and emergency preparedness.

Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing Field Experience
This course will assist students to become familiar with clinical aspects of health promotion and disease prevention, applicable to the community health nursing environment. Students will practice skills based on clinical priorities, methodology, and resources that positively influence the health of populations. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by applying principals of community health nursing in a variety of settings. Students will design, implement and evaluate a project in community health. Students will develop health promotion and disease prevention strategies for population groups.

Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership

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.

MSN Professional Nursing Core

Professional Presence and Influence
Professional Presence and Influence is a core course in the MSN program. This course is designed to help students see themselves as influential leaders in transforming health care. Professional practice includes therapeutic use of self, along with applications from the art and science of nursing. The presence of the nurse manifests the organizational mission and opens up possibilities for a richer patient experience as well as a more rewarding professional career.

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

Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
This course uses an integrated approach to learning by examining five common and important disease processes that represent significant challenges in American healthcare. These disease process were chosen because of their prevalence and impact on the healthcare system and health of the nation. The course includes pathophysiologies, the associated pharmacological treatments, as well as social and environmental impacts.

Contemporary Pharmacotherapeutics
This course provides the opportunity for students 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.

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.

Comprehensive Advanced Nursing Field Experience

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. Students will develop knowledge and competencies in the following areas: leadership theory, systems and complexity theory, advanced communication and building consensus.

Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends
This course explores 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.

Nursing Education Specialization

Foundations of Nursing Education
This course 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
In this course students apply traditional learning theories in contemporary nursing practice, using 21st-century educational paradigms. It addresses the big picture of application of principles of instructional design and instructional innovations. Students will examine and experiment with various educational ideas including: facilitating learning, facilitated learner development and socialization, assessment and evaluation strategies, 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. Changes in the economy, advancements in science, and the explosion of technology have created a paradigm shift in healthcare and healthcare education. The student explores how contemporary and futuristic education delivery methods and diverse student populations often require alternative forms of assessment, case study testing, adaptive learning environments, asynchronous learning, hybrid courses, traditional courses, and online distance learning techniques. In this course students will examine how to prepare and incorporate methods such as e-learning, simulations, and technology, and social media.

Nursing Education Field Experience
While the previous education courses focus on helping students build a deep understanding of theories of nursing education and form a philosophy of nursing education, this course requires the students to apply the competencies learned in a field experience with a preceptor.

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.