Master of Science in Nursing

Laurel Halloran, PhD, APRN, Graduate Coordinator, 107C Phone:  (203) 837-8566
halloranl@wcsu.edu
Terri-Ann Tilquist, Department Secretary, WH 107 Phone: (203) 837-8556
tilquistt@wcsu.edu
Fax: (203) 837-8550

 

Faculty E. Abate; D. Bennett; C. Berte; D. Brown; S. Burger; L. Dalessio; M. Doherty; P. Geraci; L. Halloran; J. Lupinacci; M. Nielson; J. Ort; B. Padykula; J. Palladino; B. Piscopo; C. Rice; M.A. Riley; M. Sousa; L. Warren; E. Werner-Young.

Program Overview and Mission

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing program prepares nurses for leadership positions in the nursing practice. The program requires completion of 41 credits of specialized professional course work, with courses organized into three components:

  • a foundational core (theory, issues, research, foundations of practice)
  • a role component specific to the selected role
  • a role support component that provides a concentrated practicum experience in the selected role

Students may prepare for either the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner or Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist role. All students complete a sequence of clinical and role component courses, including a minimum of 500 hours of clinical practicum experiences under the guidance of a preceptor, and an evidenced-based research project. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the certification examination for their chosen role.

The program is designed for part-time study, with courses offered in the evening. Part-time study requires approximately four years for completion of the degree, although students are granted up to six years to complete all degree requirements.

The program is accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle NW, Washington, DC 20036 (phone: (202) 887-6791; fax: (202) 887-8476)

Learning Goals and Objectives

Conceptual Framework and Organizational Structure

The program of study leading to the M.S. in Nursing degree prepares nurses for roles as advanced practice nurses, with an option to prepare for certification as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner or Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist. Each role requires completion of a foundational core, representing content common to the advanced study of nursing practice; a role component, representing content specific to the selected role; and a role support component, providing practicum experiences for transition into the selected role. 

The curricular design assumes that education for the advanced practice of nursing requires substantial clinical experiences in aspects of the selected role supervised by professional health care providers who have education and experience in the role, and occurring in a variety of settings. Clinical practicum experiences in the program enable students to develop clinical experiences that meet course objectives as well as their own specific learning needs and interests. The approach to clinical practica allows for flexibility in the time and places in which clinical experiences occur. 

Foundational Core

Preparation for the advanced practice of nursing rests on a foundation of generalized knowledge and practice common to all roles. The M.S. in Nursing program addresses the following content areas as foundational to the advanced study of nursing: the theoretical bases of nursing practice; the contemporary issues encountered by the master’s-prepared practitioner within the nursing profession and the broad health-care field; critical thinking in the application of knowledge and skills to the identification and analysis of patient problems and their resolution through the development of clinical expertise and diagnostic-reasoning ability; and the utilization of research and the appropriate application of the research process to the identification, analysis, and resolution of practice problems. All students are required to complete a clinical research thesis or project. 

The approach to these areas of study is eclectic, offering students alternative conceptualizations of the field as a basis for the analysis and critique of extant practice, theory, and research; the generation of creative alternatives to present approaches to practice; and the formulation of personal conceptual interpretations of nursing as a guide to practice, all within the context of a rapidly changing health care environment. 

Advanced Practice Roles

The advanced practice of nursing may proceed through direct care or blended roles. Direct-care roles involve management of the health care of a caseload of clients, for example, as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. Blended roles combine elements of the direct care and a mediated-role approach, as with the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist. 

Role Support

As students move toward completing the M.S. in Nursing program, they are helped to synthesize and apply curricular content to fulfilling their selected role. All students complete a substantial clinical practicum in which they enact all aspects of the selected role under the guidance of a qualified clinical preceptor. Seminar sessions address common places in each of the roles and promote sharing the experience and perspective of students engaged in these different roles. 

Program Outcomes

Working with individuals and groups, the graduate of the master’s in nursing program will

  1. use evidence-based nursing interventions to generate research for the purpose of expanding nursing science.
  2. demonstrate expertise in the provision of care to individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds across the health spectrum.
  3. function in a variety of roles collaborating with other disciplines in the attainment of improved patient care and outcomes.
  4. continuously evaluate their nursing practice in relation to professional standards and assume accountability for practice.
  5. demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of policy formulation and how it impacts nursing practice and health care delivery.
  6. analyze ethical issues as they affect communities, society, the health professions, and their own practice.

Admission Requirements

Applications for admission to the M.S. in Nursing program are made through the Division of Graduate Studies. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work with the graduate application fee. Admission to the M.S. in Nursing program is selective. Candidates must have earned a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree from a recognized accrediting agency, achieve a satisfactory score on the Miller Analogies Test (required for those applicants with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0); and hold a current RN license. At the time of application, candidates must provide a resume and one letter of recommendation. As part of the admission process, the candidate must meet with the M.S. program coordinator to develop a plan of study.

Prior to enrollment in NUR 575, Advanced Health Assessment, students will be required to either present evidence that they have completed a basic physical assessment course within the past five years or demonstrate successful performance on an examination designed to evaluate baseline assessment knowledge and skills.

Because of the nature of the clinical experiences and regulations of various clinical agencies utilized in the nursing program, all nursing students are required to adhere to departmental policies in addition to the immunizations required of all university students. This information may be obtained directly from the department.

In addition to the above-stated health requirements, students must meet any additional requirements identified by a clinical-affiliating agency, including a criminal background check. Clinical agencies reserve the right to refuse clinical placement to students who do not pass the background check.

All students must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a health-care provider prior to entering clinical course and must maintain current certification to be eligible to attend clinical experience. In addition, students are required to carry an advanced practice student malpractice insurance policy while in clinical courses.

Bridge Option: Registered nurses who have an earned nonnursing baccalaureate degree and are interested in pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing without completing a second bachelor’s degree may consider “bridging” into the M.S. program. The bridge is designed to fill the gaps in the nursing educational experiences that would ordinarily be addressed in a B.S. in Nursing program. The bridge involves completion of the following undergraduate courses: Physical Assessment, Undergraduate Nursing Research, Undergraduate Statistics, Principles of Community Health, and Transition to Professional Nursing Practice. Interested applicants first must make a formal application to the M.S. program and meet requirements for the M.S. program as detailed above. Upon receipt of a completed application, applicants will be contacted by the graduate coordinator for further evaluation. Admission to the Bridge courses is competitive, by approval of the graduate coordinator, and on a space-available basis only.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete the requisite course work, the clinical component, and an evidence-based research project within six years in order to be eligible for graduation.

Master of Science in Nursing

Curriculum Structure Foundational Core Components

These courses are required of all M.S. in Nursing students and are intended to serve as prerequisites for remaining program requirements.

NUR 501 Theoretical Basis of Nursing Practice 3 SH
NUR 502 Contemporary Issues in Health Care Delivery 2 SH
NUR 504 Nursing Research (Prereq: NUR 501) 3 SH
NUR 511 Foundations of Clinical Nursing Practice 3 SH

Advanced Practice: Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner:

NUR 515 Advanced Pathophysiology  3 SH
NUR 570 Advanced Clinical Pharmacology 3 SH
NUR 575 Advanced Health Assessment 3 SH
NUR 580 The Advanced Nursing Management of the Acutely Ill Adult-Gerontology Populations 2 SH
NUR 585 The Advanced Nursing Management of the Chronically Ill Adult-Gerontology Populations 2 SH

Clinical Practice: Nurse Practitioner

NUR 582 The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Management of the Acutely Ill Adult Populations (180 clinical practicum hours) 5 SH
NUR 588 The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Management of the Chronically Ill Adult Populations (180 clinical practicum hours) 5 SH

Or

Clinical Practice: Clinical Nurse Specialist

NUR 583 The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists Management of the Acutely Ill Adult Populations (180 clinical hours) 5 SH
NUR 587 The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists Management of the Chronically Ill Adult Populations (180 clinical hours) 5 SH

Capstone course for all students

NUR 590 Professional Role Enactment (180 clinical hours) 7 SH

Total Semester Hours:  41 SH

Required of all students

All M.S. in Nursing students must complete an evidence-based research project. This work occurs in NUR 504.  

Post-Master’s Study: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

The Department of Nursing also offers post-master’s course work that prepares nurses with a master’s degree to be eligible to take the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certificate Exam. Admission to the program is on a space-available basis and requires the following:

  • M.S. in Nursing with a significant clinical component
  • NUR 570, Advanced Clinical Pharmacology, or equivalent; completed within the last five years. (This also may be taken at WCSU within the program.)
  • Basic skills in health assessment, as evidenced by completion of a formal or continuing-education program in the past five years or via paper-and-pencil testing prior to entry into the program

Students are required to take the following courses:

NUR 575 Advanced Health Assessment 3 SH
NUR 580 The Advanced Nursing Management of the Acutely Ill Adult-Gerontology Populations 2 SH
NUR 582 The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Management of the Acutely Ill Adult Populations (180 clinical practicum hours) 5 SH
NUR 585 The Advanced Nursing Management of the Chronically Ill Adult-Gerontology Populations 2 SH
NUR 588 The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Management of the Chronically Ill Adult Populations (180 clinical practicum hours) 5 SH
NUR 590 Professional Role Enactment (180 clinical hours)    7 SH

Grading criteria:

Graduate nursing students must maintain a B average in order to graduate from the program. Should a student achieve a grade below a B- in a course, that course must be repeated and the student must achieve a grade of  B- or above to progress in the program.  

Department of nursing grades are assigned as follows:

A  =  92 – 100 B-  =  80-82 D+  =  68-70
A- =  89  –  91 C+ =  77-79 D    =  64-67
B+= 86-    88 C   =  74-76 D-  =   63-60
B  =  83-    85 C-  =  71-73 F    =   Below 60

 

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