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The Masters of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN option) degree is a
competency-based program that builds on the foundation of previous
nursing education at the associate degree or diploma levels. The BSN
portion of the degree focuses on contemporary nursing practice in the
developing of skills and competencies using technology-based
learning. It is structured to develop high quality, highly educated BSN
nurses preparing graduates who are equipped to function in new roles
as members of healthcare teams in many settings by expanding nurses
knowledge in areas of research, theory, community concepts,
healthcare policy, therapeutic interventions, and current trends in
health care. Graduates will be eligible for military, U.S. Public Health,
and VA appointments as well as assume roles in school health,
community, occupational, and other nonacute care settings. The
Master of Science portion of the degree further 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.
Advanced Standing for RN License
Professional Leadership and Communication for Healthcare
The Leadership and Communication course is designed to help students prepare for success in the online environment at
Western Governors University and beyond. Student success starts with the social support and self-reflective awareness that
will prepare students to weather the challenges of academic programs. In this course students will participate in group
activities and complete a number of individual assignments. The group activities are aimed at finding support and insight
from other students. The assignments are intended to give the student an opportunity to reflect about where they are and
where they would like to be. The activities in each group meeting are designed to give students several tools they can sue
to achieve success.
This course is designed as a eight-part intensive learning experience. Students will attend eight group meetings during the
term. At each meeting students will engage in activities that help them understand their own educational journey and find
support and inspiration in the journey of others.
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.
The course contains supporting media, articles, and excerpts to support a focus on one of five disciplinary threads
(covering the topics of nursing, business, information technology, teaching, and literature, art, and culture) designed to
engage students and welcome them into discussion about contemporary issues. The course supports peer review activities,
though it may be completed asynchronously as well. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research
documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. This course
includes full access to the MindEdge Writing Pad to support student writing and coaching sessions.
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 policymaking
process, and the ways in which the Constitution and government has changed over time.
Introduction to Communication
This introductory communication course allows students to become familiar with the fundamental communication theories
and practices necessary to engage in healthy professional and personal relationships. Students will survey human
communication on multiple levels and critically apply the theoretical grounding of the course to interpersonal, intercultural,
small group, and public presentational contexts. The course also encourages students to consider the influence of
language, perception, culture, and media on their daily communicative interactions. In addition to theory, students will
engage in the application of effective communication skills through systematically preparing and delivering an oral
presentation. By practicing these fundamental skills in human communication, students become more competent
communicators as they develop more flexible, useful, and discriminatory communicative practices in a variety of contexts.
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
Applied Healthcare Statistics
Applied Healthcare Probability and Statistics is designed to help you develop competence in the fundamental concepts of
basic mathematics, introductory algebra, and statistics and probability. These concepts include: basic arithmetic with
fractions and signed numbers; introductory algebra and graphing; descriptive statistics; regression and correlation; and
probability. Statistical data and probability are now commonplace in the healthcare field. You need to be able to make
informed decisions about which studies and results are valid, which are not, and how those results affect your decisions.
This course will give you background in what constitutes sound research design and how to appropriately model
phenomena using statistical data. Additionally, you will be able to calculate simple probabilities, especially based on
events which occur in the healthcare profession. This course will prepare you for your studies at WGU, as well as in the
Anatomy and Physiology I
Anatomy and Physiology I examines the structures and functions of the human body. The course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology, including the interdependent operational
relationships among them. Students will use a dissection lab to study organ systems of the human body in their healthy
state including the digestive, skeletal, sensory, respiratory, reproductive, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, lymphatic,
integumentary, endocrine and renal systems. By examining these organ systems in a healthy state, healthcare professionals
are more adept to recognize when a something is functioning abnormally, which is a key component to providing effective
care to patients. For nursing students this is the first of two anatomy and physiology courses within the program of study.
This course has no prerequisites.
Anatomy and Physiology II
Anatomy and Physiology II continues the examination of the human body systems first introduced in Anatomy and
Physiology I. This course invites students to take a deeper look into the terminology, structure, function and
interdependent operational relationships of human body systems. Students will continue their study of the nervous,
muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Additional topics include basic
cell processes, metabolic functioning, the hematologic system, immunity and principles of thermoregulation. Labs allow
the student to explore organ systems and their physiological processes. In addition to these labs, students are also given
the opportunity to complete a hands–on fetal pig dissection. For nursing students this is the second of two anatomy and
physiology courses within the program of study. All students needed to have completed Anatomy and Physiology I in
addition to English Composition I and II as prerequisites to this course.
Clinical Microbiology introduces general concepts, methods, and applications of microbiology from a health sciences
perspective. The course is designed to provide healthcare professionals with a basic understanding of how various diseases
are transmitted and controlled. Students will examine the structure and function of microorganisms, including the roles that
they play in causing major diseases. The course also explores immunological, pathological and epidemiological factors
associated with disease. To assist students in developing an applied, patient-focused understanding of microbiology, this
course is complimented by several lab experiments which allow students to: practice aseptic techniques, grow bacteria
and fungi, identify characteristics of bacteria and yeast based on biochemical and environmental tests, determine antibiotic
susceptibility, discover the microorganisms growing on objects and surfaces, and determine the Gram characteristic of
bacteria. This course has no prerequisites.
Biochemistry covers the structure and function of the four major polymers produced by living organisms. These include
nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
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
The Health Assessment course is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and skills in health promotion, the early
detection of illness and prevention of disease. To that end the course provides relevant content and skills necessary to
perform a comprehensive physical assessment of patients throughout the lifespan. Students are engaged in these
processes through interviewing, history taking and demonstration of an advanced-level physical examination. Dominant
models, theories and perspectives related to evidence-based wellness practices and health education strategies also are
included in this challenging course. Competency is measured through successful completion of one objective assessment
and two performance tasks. It is recommended that students plan to complete C349 in four to six weeks.
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing will assist students in becoming familiar with foundational theories and
models of health promotion applicable to the community health nursing environment. Students will develop an
understanding of how policies and resources influence the health of populations. Focus is concentrated on learning the
importance of a 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 with the goal
to improve or resolve community health issues in a variety of settings. Students will gain a greater understanding of health
systems in the United States, global health issues, quality-of-life issues, cultural influences, community collaboration, and
Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research
The Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research course will help you to learn how to design and conduct
research to answer important questions about improving nursing practice and patient care delivery outcomes. After you are
introduced to the basics of evidence-based practice, you will continue to implement the principles throughout your clinical
experience. This will allow you to graduate with more competence and confidence to become a leader in the healing
Health and Wellness Through Nutritional Science
Nutritional ignorance or misunderstandings are at the root of the health problems that most Americans face today. Nurses
need to be armed with the most current information available about nutrition science including how to understand
nutritional content of food, implications of exercise and activity on food consumption and weight management, and
management of community or population specific nutritional challenges. The Nutrition for Contemporary Society course
should prepare nurses to provide support, guidance and teaching about incorporation of sound nutritional principles into
daily life for health promotion. This course covers the following concepts: nutrition to support wellness; healthy nutritional
choices; nutrition and physical activity; nutrition through the lifecycle; safety and security of food; and nutrition and global
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing Field Experience
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing, Field Experience will introduce and familiarize students with clinical
aspects of health promotion and disease prevention in the community health nursing environment. Students will practice
skills based on clinical priorities, methodology, and resources that positively influence the health of populations by
assessing a primary prevention topic in the community. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by applying
principals of community health nursing in a variety of community settings aligning with the selected primary prevention
topic. Students will describe the completed Field Experience in a written assessment that will also outline
recommendations to improve the community health concern using the nursing process. Students will develop and
recommend health promotion and disease prevention strategies for population groups.
Advanced Professional Roles and Values
The Advanced Professional Roles and Values 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.
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.
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 selfknowledge
will expand nurses’ ability to direct influence in ways that are intended rather than in random or destructive
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:
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:
These processes are relevant to advanced nursing practice because of their prevalence and impact on the healthcare
system and the health of the nation.
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:
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:
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.
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
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
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