A Nursing Informatics Degree that Helps You Impact Patient Outcomes
Information is power. Patient outcomes are better and healthcare organizations thrive when data is at the center of decision-making. This nursing informatics program combines nursing science with data management, analyzation, and communication, leading to data that empowers healthcare administrators to make the best choices. By earning this nursing informatics degree you will learn the skills which enable you to provide insights and influence policies and procedures that will save lives and improve patient outcomes.
This online degree program also includes clinical practice experiences such as analyzing and visually displaying data from a dataset. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to earn the NAHQ (National Association for Healthcare Quality) HQ Principles certificate along with your degree, helping enhance your offering and earning you the respect of employers and peers in the health care industry.
Need to earn your BSN first? No problem! Check out the RN-to-MSN version of this program.
68% of graduates finish within
WGU lets you move more quickly through material you already know and advance when you're ready. The result: You may finish faster.
Tuition per six-month term is
Tuition charged per term—rather than per credit—helps you reduce the ultimate cost of your degree. Finish faster, pay less!
Transfer credit is accepted*
of your coursework (up to 17 competency units) taken at the graduate (master's) level at a nationally or regionally accredited institution can be transferred to this WGU program.
*Courses must have been completed within the past five years with an earned grade of "B" or higher.
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Next Start Date: July 1
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This course addresses the integration of technology to improve and support nursing practice. It provides nurses with a foundational understanding of nursing informatics theory, practice, and applications. Topics include the role of nursing in informatics; use of computer technology for clinical documentation, communication, and workflows; problem identification; project implementation; and best practices.
In Informatics System Analysis and Design, a broad understanding of data systems is covered to build upon the Foundations in Nursing Informatics course. The importance of effective interoperability, functionality, data access, and user satisfaction are addressed. The student will be analyzing reports and integrating federal regulations, research principles, and principles of environmental health in the construction of a real-world systems analysis and design project. This course will be directly applicable to healthcare settings as electronic records management has become compulsory for healthcare providers. All of the information in this course will be directly tied to the delivery of quality patient care and patient safety. Foundations in Nursing Informatics is recommended as a prerequisite.
This course addresses the interdisciplinary and emerging field of data science in healthcare. Candidates learn to combine tools and techniques from statistics, computer science, data visualization, and the social sciences to solve problems using data. Topics include data analysis; database management; inferential and descriptive statistics; statistical inference; and process improvement.
This graduate course is designed to engage the student in planning, analyzing, and designing a relational database management system (DBMS) for use by nurse administrators, clinicians, educators, and informaticists. This experience will provide the knowledge needed to advocate for nursing informatics needs within the field of healthcare.
Nursing Informatics Field Experience requires students to complete clinical/practice experiences while engaging in authentic activities relevant to the role of an informatics nurse. To help students develop competency in this area, this course gives students opportunities to apply methods and solutions to support clinical decisions. They will be prepared to improve health outcomes by analyzing an existing health information system to determine the need for a system optimization that will improve an organization’s ability to measure and report Triple Aim objectives. All MSN Core and Specialty courses, with the exclusion of the Capstone course, are prerequisites to this course and must be completed before taking this course.
Nursing Informatics Capstone requires students to complete clinical/practice experiences (CPE) and finalize their system optimization proposal paper, which addresses the Institute of Health’s Triple Aim initiative. During this course, students will plan the final phase of their system development life cycle (SDLC), which consists of proposing the processes, methods, and tasks for monitoring, maintaining, supporting, and evaluating their system optimization. The knowledge and skills that students acquire during the CPE in this course will prepare them to complete their system optimization proposal paper. This is a culminating course that provides students an opportunity to demonstrate the competencies acquired during this program. All MSN Core and Specialty courses, including the Field Experience course, are prerequisites to this course and must be completed before taking this course.
Professional Presence and Influence is a masters-level course designed to guide students towards an enhanced state of presence, where therapeutic relationships are built between nurse and patient. Students will learn techniques for self-care practices that result in enhanced mental and physical wellbeing and that ensure ethically-generated patient care. Presence is an intrapersonal and interpersonal quality that allows the nurse to relate to others and to be aware of the world around them. The characteristics of presence, which include holism, intimacy, sensitivity and adaptability, create a heightened sense of awareness that fosters therapeutic relationships between the nurse and patient. Developing a mindful, authentic presence is central to health and spiritual practices in several cultures and a major element of leadership. Students will intentionally develop a focused mindfulness practice that will influence patient outcomes and lead to conditions that create joy in the workplace.
Essentials of Advanced Nursing Roles and Interprofessional Practice explores essential characteristics of the advanced professional nurse in the role of leader, educator, practitioner, or informatics specialist. In this course, students will apply evidence-based strategies to facilitate interprofessional collaboration on teams. Students will explore the role of nurses in advocating for change at the bedside, as well as leading teams to advocate for health policy reform. Students will gather and analyze data to identify patients and populations at risk and recommend policy change to improve health outcomes in the community.
Quality Outcomes in a Culture of Value-Based Nursing Care incorporates current standards of quality and safety within the context of value-based care. In a value-based healthcare system, the benefits are derived from measuring health outcomes against the cost of delivering the outcomes. These benefits are then extended to patients, providers, payers, suppliers, and society as a whole. This course introduces new healthcare delivery models, which stress a team-oriented approach to patient care and sharing of patient data so that care is coordinated, and outcomes can be measured easily. Emphasis is placed on performance and quality improvement methods that underlie value-based nursing care. The nurse in advanced practice today must exemplify the standards of quality and safety and be prepared to lead the delivery of value-based patient-centered care.
Advanced Pathopharmacological Foundations provides advanced practice nurses foundational knowledge in the many pathologies encountered in practice today. Advancing from the cellular to the body system level, this course examines the pathologies of common conditions seen in healthcare today. Consideration is also given to the human affective response to alterations in health. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Advanced Health Assessment of Patients and Populations builds on prior physical health assessment knowledge and skills acquired during undergraduate studies by focusing on the advanced assessment of biopsychosocial and sociocultural contexts in patients and populations across the life span. This course emphasizes the use of a comprehensive health promotion, disease prevention, and health restoration model to address health concerns in patients and communities. Students will acquire advanced assessment knowledge and skills for clinical interviewing, focused history taking, critical diagnostic reasoning, and clinical decision-making using a problem-focused framework that integrates authentic experiences with practical knowledge of health patterns in patients and communities. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Informatics for Transforming Nursing Care integrates nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice. Students will acquire knowledge and skills to apply informatics concepts, communications, and data that are critical to facilitating interprofessional data-driven decision-making. It is designed to build competence in the use of patient- and population-based applications that inform and support the transformation of nursing care delivery toward a future of value-based quality nursing care that improves health outcomes. This course aligns theoretical concepts with practical applications of informatics and is consistent with the functional areas and responsibilities of informatics nurses as defined by American Nurses Association Scope and Standards for nursing informatics.
Leadership and Management in Complex Healthcare Systems prepares graduate nurses to be thoughtful strategists and informed decision-makers who serve as strong leaders in high-performing healthcare systems. Students develop competencies for managing diverse teams in complex systems, monitoring and measuring organizational performance, allocating financial and human resources, and leading change towards a transformed healthcare system. Additionally, students acquire the knowledge and skills to become full partners with other healthcare professionals by demonstrating nurse contributions toward high-quality care to patients and populations, while working collaboratively with interprofessional teams. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Advancing Evidence-Based Innovation in Nursing Practice introduces students to the dynamic union of healthcare innovation and evidence. Core competencies and behaviors required to be a nurse innovator are discussed. Strategies for measuring innovation at various system levels are presented, as well as techniques for synthesizing and disseminating evidence to advance innovation in healthcare. The skills needed to appraise the quality of diverse sources of evidence are presented within the framework of evidence-based practice. This course focuses on identifying new and emerging sources of evidence that can inform, translate, and scale the complexity of leading innovation in healthcare organizations. Students will experience building communities of practice for collaboratively developing innovative practices and policies designed to improve the health of populations and enhance the patient experience of care.
Program consists of 14 courses
At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff.
Special requirements for this program
While most of your coursework will be completed online, your nursing program includes some requirements—including field experiences—that must be completed in a facility near you.
WGU tuition is charged per six-month term, not per credit. That means if you want to move faster through this nursing informatics program, you'll pay less.
On Your Schedule
You can continue working at your full-time job or maintaining your responsibilities while pursing your BSN to MSN degree. You don't have to log-in to classes and there aren't due dates. You are in charge of your degree.
When you enroll in the nursing informatics program at WGU, you join an impressive network of healthcare professionals. Over 18,000 students earned healthcare degrees from WGU in 2020 alone, and are hard at work, changing the lives of patients and impacting communities.
One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.
Transfer Credits Accepted, No Work Requirement
Now's the time to advance your healthcare career with a master's degree:
- Transfer up to 17 competency units (47%) of your MSN courses taken at the graduate (master's) level at an accredited institution to this WGU degree program. Courses must have been completed at an accredited MSN program within the past five years with an earned grade of "B" or higher.
- There is no RN work requirement. This means you don't need to be currently working as an RN in order to be eligible for admission into our MSN programs.
A Nursing Master's Degree Is Within Reach
There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:
Designed to be Different: An MSN Program Built for a Busy Nurse’s Schedule
Competency-based education puts working nurses in the driver’s seat of their education. As a busy nurse, you need a nursing degree program that's more than simply online—you need an online nursing program that truly reflects the realities of your work life and experience.
At WGU, your progress is driven by your ability to prove what you’ve learned. How—and how quickly—are largely up to you. Once you’ve mastered the defined competencies (knowledge and skills), you prove what you know through tests, papers, projects, or other assessments. Demonstrating mastery is how you pass a course, so learning what it takes to be outstanding in your career is at the heart of WGU’s MSN – Informatics curriculum.
Other universities' online M.S. programs may give you the convenience of distance learning; WGU's competency-based online programs take that flexibility further—many steps further!
Impart Excellence—Drive Decisions Grounded in Sound Data
Nurse informatics is a profession focused on delivering the best quality data, enhancing patient outcomes, and contributing to a better healthcare experience. This degree program uniquely qualifies you for this exciting profession centered on giving back to others. Join thousands of WGU graduates who are hard at work, making a difference and improving health outcomes.
Once you have earned a CCNE-accredited M.S. Nursing – Informatics degree, you will have the knowledge and skills it takes to be an outstanding informatics nurse.
And as an informatics nurse, you’ll play a crucial role in elevating the level of care in your facility and in today’s healthcare industry. You’ll empower your colleagues to make decisions, implement policies, and perfect practices that are proven to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
Return on Your Investment
A High-Demand, Fulfilling Career: An MSN – Informatics Degree Prepares You for Real Results
First things first: What is nursing informatics? Simply put, it’s the juncture of information technology, medical practice, and medical research. It uses data, statistics, and research to make smart decisions that improve healthcare. In a survey of 576 healthcare professionals, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society found that respondents overwhelmingly felt informatics nurses had a significant impact on the quality of care patients receive, especially on implementation, optimization, workflow, and patient safety.
- Chief Nursing Informatics Officer
- Informatics Director
- Nursing Informatics Specialist
- Informatics Analyst
- Hospitals and Healthcare Clinics
- Healthcare Systems and Vendors
- Insurance Companies
- Long-term Care Facilities
- Local, State, or Federal Government
- Colleges and Universities
- Healthcare Corp. of America
- Atrium Health
WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers
Hospitals and clinics around the country know the benefit of a master's degree from WGU, so your nursing degree is valuable.
Admissions Requirements Unique to This Nursing Degree
To be considered for this master's in nursing education program, you must:
- Possess a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN).
- Possess an active, unencumbered RN license (though you are not required to be working as an RN at the time of enrollment):
1. In your state of residence, or
2. In your state of employment.
Prior to your clinical placement, you must submit to a criminal background check through American Databank and provide proof of current immunizations. Additional fees apply.
NOTE: RN licensure in your state of residence or employment is required to successfully complete clinical experiences. You must be licensed in the state in which you will complete the project or clinical experience. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. For more information about compact licenses.
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Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.
More About the BSN-to-MSN Nursing Informatics Program
- General Program Questions
- Financial Aid Questions
Yes. You may talk to an Enrollment Counselor without paying the $65 application fee, but the fee must be paid or waived with a unique code before you can be admitted. The application fee helps defray our costs associated with admissions, transcript collection, enrolling students, etc. Note: It is against federal regulations to use financial aid for an application fee.
Transcripts must be received by the 1st of the month before your intended start date. WGU requires that ALL official transcripts of previous academic work completed at other colleges and universities be submitted for evaluation.
Admissions requirements vary widely from program to program and from school to school. Nurse practitioner programs—including Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and post-MSN NP certificate programs—can be among the most competitive. One factor commonly considered for enrollment in post-graduate nursing programs is grade-point average (GPA) from previous college work. The nature of WGU’s competency-based model means WGU graduates do not have a GPA when they earn their degree.
However, other factors beyond GPA are considered by many programs across the country. WGU provides opportunities for students to demonstrate excellence beyond a GPA, including participation in nationally recognized honors programs, real-world projects that you complete as part of your program that you can showcase in your post-graduate applications, and letters of recommendation.
For any aspiring graduate student, it is important to maximize your own qualities as well as do the research to understand the schools that offer the programs you seek to join.
You can start your research by reviewing this list of post-graduate programs that have admitted WGU alumni in the past. Look on LinkedIn for WGU nursing alumni who have gone on to become nurse practitioners, and check their profiles to see which schools they attended for the MSN or DNP program. Contact the school to ask whether they enroll students from competency-based programs like WGU’s. And talk to your WGU Enrollment Counselor. WGU can provide alumni with a letter they can share with graduate schools, explaining our competency-based model. This letter has helped WGU alumni be accepted into a variety of graduate programs in a number of fields and disciplines.
It depends on the type of program you choose for your MSN. Traditional programs typically take 2 years, but you may be able to find a competency-based program like WGU that allows you to finish faster.
Typical BSN to MSN programs can cost upwards of $25,000. It's important to do your research when looking for an BSN to MSN program to find one that is accredited but also affordable. For example, WGU's BSN to MSN program costs less than $4,500 per six-month term. And if you finish faster at WGU, you pay less.
Depending on what you want to do with your career, an MSN can be extremely helpful. While nurses don't technically need a BSN or MSN, many hospitals are wanting BSN trained nurses to help their hospital reach magnet status. And if you are wanting to pursue other career options, such as nurse education, nurse management, becoming a nurse practitioner, etc. you will absolutely need an MSN.
Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:
- How to apply
- Eligibility requirements
- Examples of scholarships
- What happens after you apply
- Other financial aid options
WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at other schools.
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