2021-2022 University Catalog 
    May 21, 2024  
2021-2022 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

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Normal Program Length: Dependent on specialization

This program is offered online

This program is not currently eligible for Title IV for new enrollments.

There are eight different specializations within the Master of Science in Nursing program. Click on the links below to learn more about each specialization:

  • Nursing Education Specialization    - Develops experienced nurses into educators within clinical environments or within traditional and nontraditional schools, offering nursing training and degree programs.
  • Case Management Specialization    - Prepares students to assume managerial positions in healthcare systems, insurance and health maintenance organizations and case management agencies.
  • Informatics Specialization    - Develops nurses' expertise in clinical and administrative systems, data management and data mining to improve patient care delivery and information systems project management.
  • Infection, Prevention and Control Specialization     - Prepares experienced nurses to create programs and monitor critical infection control indicators in healthcare delivery systems.
  • Management and Organizational Leadership Specialization    - Prepares staff nurses to assume a broader executive role in nursing management within a healthcare organization's administration.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization    - Prepares nurses to assume the Advanced Practice RN (APRN) role in a primary care setting. Develops advanced practice clinical knowledge of family/individuals across the life span.
  • Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Specialization    - Prepares nurses to assume the Advanced Practice RN (APRN) role in a primary care setting. Develops advanced practice clinical knowledge of young adults, adults, elderly, and frail elderly.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialization    - Prepares nurses to assume the Advanced Practice RN (APRN) role to assess, diagnose, and prescribe medications to patients with mental health disorders in a primary care setting. Develops advanced practice clinical knowledge of children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

As today's healthcare landscape evolves, there is a growing recognition that nurses need more education to be fully functioning members of a healthcare team so they can contribute to the improvement of patient care outcomes. Increasingly, nurses are expected to advance their education to meet current healthcare reform initiatives and strengthen the nursing workforce. Many nurse leaders consider the baccalaureate degree the minimum entry for nursing practice and feel that the minimum entry for nursing leaders is the graduate degree with a specialization focus. Clearly there is a need for graduate-level educated nurses who will assist, guide, mentor and encourage other nurses to strengthen the profession. The MSN is designed for Registered Nurses with bachelor's degrees in nursing who wish to obtain high-quality MSN degrees in a timely manner.

The curriculum of the MSN is based on concepts of leadership, contemporary issues in healthcare and application of learning to the student's current or future nursing practice. Students study how to improve healthcare, create quality patient outcomes, and foster strategic change in the healthcare delivery system. Embedded in the nursing curriculum is an emphasis on quality of care and the provision of safe patient care, as guided by nursing- sensitive indicators and QSEN concepts including patient-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, nursing informatics and safety. The MSN also embeds the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) The Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing throughout the curriculum. The Essentials address recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and other key stakeholders to assimilate the core knowledge required of all healthcare professionals. 

Concepts from the Essentials that are emphasized in the American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences MSN curriculum include science and the humanities, leadership, quality and safety improvements, scholarship, informatics, health policy, collaboration, population health concerns and preventative healthcare. The Essentials describe the outcomes expected of graduates from a nursing master's program. The Essentials include leading change to improve quality outcomes, advancing a culture of excellence, leading collaborative interprofessional care teams, integrate care services across the healthcare system, design innovative nursing practices, and translate evidence into practice.

Assignments are designed so that students may apply new knowledge to their current or future nursing practice, thereby enhancing the link between theory and practice.  In the term based modality, each week of course work has specific topics, learning outcomes, readings, practicum experiences, and other activities.  Often, there is a weekly assignment in addition to robust online class discussions.  The more students participate in the discussions, the richer the learning experience.  In the competency based modality, each course has deliverables through which the student demonstrates mastery of the course learning outcomes.  Students will choose from a variety of submission options such as written papers, PowerPoint presentations, and video/audio works, to support mastery of the course competencies.  Participation in a weekly call with faculty allows the student to interact with instructors and peers to enrich the learning experience.

Master of Science in Nursing Program Learning Outcomes

  • Integrate roles as leaders and collaborators in various healthcare settings. 
  • Use theoretical knowledge to guide advanced nursing practice. 
  • Analyze models that expand the role of nurses in a global society. 
  • Evaluate legislation, policies and economics as applied to the current healthcare environment. 
  • Appraise research to enhance professional nursing practice. 

Core Curriculum

Many courses in the MSN program require the completion of Practice Experience (PE) hours. These hours are out-of-classroom activities replacing traditional schoolwork that students complete during their courses.

Learn more about Practice Experience hours on our additional nursing requirements  page.

In the MSN program, students complete 36 - 51 graduate credits in nursing. Please visit the individual pages to learn about the courses required with each specialization.

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