M.S. Nursing, Education Areas of Study

The Master of Science degree is a competency-based program that prepares graduates to be educators in diverse settings: hospitals, community agencies, schools, industry and businesses, and nursing programs. They provide education and training to nurses, nursing students, school children, community groups, workers, patients, and consumers. The WGU Master of Science in Nursing Program Education content is evidence based on national standards and research related to effective teaching, learning, and role development. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable educators to teach effectively in diverse learning environments. The Master of Science in Nursing for Nurse Educators content and processes are consistent with the National League for Nursing (NLN) Nurse Educator Competencies. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified educators. The hallmarks of our program include: (a) research-based course preparation and (b) all work in this degree program is online. This program consists of developing core knowledge related to complexities of healthcare, access, quality, and costs for diverse populations. New nursing knowledge includes research, theory, technology applied to nursing practice, evidence based practice, ethics, and new roles for master's prepared nurses. The nurse educator focuses on learning styles, the development and socialization of learners, and strategies to facilitate learning. Educators also need to organize their activities around learning theories. Developing curriculum, objectives, and learning modules are part of an educator role. The process for assessment, measurement, evaluation, and use of outcome data for improvement is presented.

MSN Professional Nursing Core

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 self-knowledge will expand nurses’ ability to direct influence in ways that are intended rather than in random or destructive ways.

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:

  • leadership theory
  • systems and complexity theory
  • advanced communication
  • building consensus

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:

  • asthma
  • heart failure
  • obesity
  • traumatic brain injury
  • depression

These processes are relevant to advanced nursing practice because of their prevalence and impact on the healthcare system and the health of the nation.

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:

  • Advanced health assessment focusing on abnormal findings for common disease.
  • Integrating health assessment findings into a population, considering such issue as culture, spirituality, and continuum.
  • Functionality of clients based upon the problems and populations.

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:

  • lead change to improve quality health in populations
  • advance a culture of excellence through lifelong learning
  • build and lead collaborative interprofessional care teams
  • navigate and integrate care services across the healthcare system
  • design innovative nursing practices
  • translate evidence into practice

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.

Nursing 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.

Nursing Education

Evolving Roles of Nurse Educators in Diverse Environments
Evolving Roles of Nurse Educators examines the multidimensional roles of a contemporary academic nurse educator. This course explores the roles and responsibilities of the nurse educator as a teacher, leader, change agent, and curriculum innovator. Students will also examine the importance of personal and professional development by developing strategies that promote academic integrity, cultural sensitivity, social justice, and ethical/legal values in diverse environments. The course emphasizes the responsibility of nurse educators to utilize communication, collaboration, and leadership in mitigating challenges in academic nursing education.

Facilitation of Context-Based Student-Centered Learning
Facilitation of Context-Based Student-Centered Learning explores how the nurse educator will incorporate authentic experiences into the creation of course plans that facilitate scholarly inquiry, collaboration, and knowledge acquisition in varied educational environments. Emphasis is placed on innovative, transformational, and experiential teaching and learning strategies to facilitate student development of professional context-based nursing principles, knowledge, skills, and behavior. Evolving Roles of Nurse Educators in Diverse Environments is a prerequisite to this course.

Contemporary Curriculum Design and Development in Nursing Education
Contemporary Curriculum Design and Development in Nursing Education analyzes the concepts of creating curriculum based on national nursing accreditation standards and instructional design best practices. Nurse educator students will create course content that supports learning in diverse, real-world environments where nurse educators facilitate learning. Instructional design strategies for delivering course content will reflect the mission of academic institution programs, contemporary trends in nursing education, and the needs of key stakeholders in nursing education and practice. Facilitation of Context-Based Student-Centered Learning is a prerequisite to this course.

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies for Measuring Student Learning
Assessment and Evaluation Strategies for Measuring Student Learning addresses the academic nurse educator’s role in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of student achievement outcomes in nursing education programs. This course requires students to integrate best practices from nursing theory and theories of learning to assess student learning in diverse educational settings. Topics include validity, reliability, and practicality of assessments, interpreting item difficulty and discrimination test results, and analyzing student achievement and learning outcomes data. This course has no prerequisites.

Emerging Trends and Challenges in 21st Century Nursing Education
Emerging Trends and Challenges in 21st Century Nursing Education analyzes the emerging trends, technologies, and challenges that academic nurse educators encounter when facilitating learning in diverse healthcare settings. Students will focus on the necessity of interprofessional collaboration, and the barriers and facilitators to overcoming the challenges associated with teaching and learning in nursing. Topics include the impact of emerging technology, challenges in nursing practice, and the role of the academic nurse educator as a scholar and a nursing education policy advocate. This course has no prerequisites.

Nursing Education Field Experience
The Nursing Education Field Experience provides the academic nurse educator student an opportunity to work collaboratively with academic mentors and interprofessional stakeholders to analyze the need-gap for a curriculum change, innovation, or improvement. Based on the identified need-gap, the graduate student will design and develop a course that reflects evidence-based instructional design and assessment principles and practices. This course prepares students for the role of an Academic Nurse Educator, as an agent for change and quality improvement in nursing education.

Nurse Educator Capstone
The Nursing Education Capstone course provides the Academic Nurse Educator student an opportunity to apply previous course work towards the completion of an evidence-based curriculum proposal project. During this course students will build on previous work during their Nursing Education Field Experience course by planning the implementation and evaluation phases of their proposed curriculum change, innovation or improvement. The capstone proposal project represents a synthesis of competencies across the Masters Science of Nursing—Nursing Education degree program, which prepares them to lead, manage, and transform nursing education in diverse and complex academic settings.

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