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.

English Composition I
This course introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and several media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments.

Survey of United States Constitution and Government
In Survey of United States Constitution and Government, you will examine the structure, institutions and principles of the American political system. The foundation of the United States government is the U.S. Constitution, and this course will introduce the concepts of (a) separation of powers, (b) checks and balances, (c) civil liberties and civil rights, and (d) federalism and republicanism. By completing this course, you will have proven competency in the structures of government, your own role in the policy-making process, and the ways in which the Constitution and government has changed over time.

Elements of Effective Communication
Elements of Effective Communication introduces learners to elements of communication that are valued in college and beyond. Materials are based on five principles: being aware of your communication with yourself and others; using and interpreting verbal messages effectively; using and interpreting nonverbal messages effectively; listening and responding thoughtfully to others, and adapting messages to others appropriately.

Introduction to Humanities
This introductory humanities course allows students to practice essential writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary to engage in civic and professional interactions as mature, informed adults. Whether through studying literature, visual and performing arts, or philosophy, all humanities courses stress the need to form reasoned, analytical, and articulate responses to cultural and creative works. Studying a wide variety of creative works allows students to more effectively enter the global community with a broad and enlightened perspective.

Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
This course introduces students to human development across the lifespan. This will include an introductory survey of cognitive, psychological, and physical growth. Students will gain an understanding in regards to the emergence of personality, identity, gender and sexuality, social relationships, emotion, language, and moral development through life. This will include milestones such as education, achievement, work, dying, and death.

Introduction to Psychology
In this course, students will develop an understanding of psychology and how it helps them better understand others and themselves. Students will learn general theories about psychological development, the structure of the brain, and how psychologists study behavior. They will gain an understanding of both normal and disordered psychological behaviors, as well as general applications of the science of psychology in society (such as personality typing and counseling).

Introduction to Sociology
This course teaches students to think like sociologists, in other words, to see and understand the hidden rules, or norms, by which people live, and how they free or restrain behavior. Students will learn about socializing institutions, such as schools and families, as well as workplace organizations and governments. Participants will also learn how people deviate from the rules by challenging norms, and how such behavior may result in social change, either on a large scale or within small groups.

Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Health Sciences

Anatomy and Physiology I
This course introduces basic concepts of human anatomy and physiology through a survey of the structures and functions of the body’s organ systems. Students will have the opportunity to explore the body through laboratory experience and apply the basic knowledge of the course. For nursing students this is the first of two anatomy and physiology courses within the program of study.

Anatomy and Physiology II
This course introduces advanced concepts of human anatomy and physiology, through the structures and functions of the body’s organ systems. Students will have the opportunity to explore the body through laboratory experience and apply the concepts of the course. For nursing students this is the second of two anatomy and physiology courses within the program of study.

Clinical Microbiology
Clinical Microbiology focuses on microbes--both constructive and destructive--that are among the smallest living entities on earth. Students will examine how they live, reproduce, carry diseases, and develop resistance to antibiotics. This course has a clinical focus.

Chemistry Content

This course covers the structure and function of the four major polymers produced by living organisms, which are nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. There is a heavy focus on application in this course of study. Students will gain an introductory understanding of the chemicals and reactions that sustain life.

Nursing Theory and Practice

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.

Health Assessment
The Health Assessment course builds on prior knowledge students who are RNs already have and helps them to develop a more comprehensive set of skills for physical assessment, patient interviewing and advanced history taking including social and physical environment assessments. Students will master more advanced health assessment competencies through the use of virtual reality experiences as well as by demonstrating competency in all aspects of both physical and 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.

Nutrition for Contemporary Society
This course prepares students to understand the basics of nutrition, as well as how nutrition is impacted by societal factors like misinformation, dietary fads, eating habits, and the emotional connection that humans have to food. The course covers the topics like macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, basic nutrition assessment tools, and how certain diseases can affect digestion and nutrition.

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.

Advanced Professional Roles and Values
This course bridges the undergraduate nurse to higher level knowledge and accountability by examining roles of advanced professional practice. Current issues, professional and personal values, and ethical issues are examined along with scholarship and advanced practice roles.

Nursing Science

Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership
Nurses serve as clinicians, managers, and mentors to shape the future of healthcare and impact patient care outcomes in positive ways. This course will help students to be more confident and better prepared to assume leadership roles regardless of their position in the healthcare delivery system. This advanced leadership course focuses on the concepts of Patient Safety, Improvement science, balancing cost, quality and access through the triple aim, leadership and patient/family centered care. Students will develop mastery of advanced competencies particularly in patient safety in quality improvement 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.

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.

Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience
The Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience course gives students two opportunities to practice the skills of the advanced practice nurse. In this course students will integrate and apply learning in a clinical experience working with a nurse leader in a care environment.

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

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.

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