Immaculata University’s Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program is designed to prepare professional nurses as leaders in administration and education in a variety of organizations. The competencies acquired through this interdisciplinary program will prepare you to practice in a complex and dynamic professional milieu.
The Master of Science in Nursing is a 39-credit program that you can complete in about three years, available on Immaculata’s campus or at Pottstown Hospital, Lankenau Hospital, or Montgomery County Community College’s campus in Blue Bell, PA. You may choose one of two areas of specialization: nursing administration or nursing education.
The administration track educates practicing nurses who are interested in becoming entry- or middle-level managers in nursing administration or advanced management roles. The curriculum prepares you for the ever-changing arena of health care by providing a sound understanding of how organizations run. Specific strategies will be identified and discussed so that you can transition smoothly from staff nurse to nurse manager. Completion of this track plus two years of full-time employment in a nursing administrative position enables you to submit your credentials for eligibility to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Certified Nurse Executive Exam (formally known as the Nursing Administration).
The nursing education track examines the current and future roles of nursing education in a variety of settings. The curriculum prepares you to teach nursing in a college setting, to provide health care counseling and teaching to a patient population, and to function in a staff development role, educating nurses on new procedures or assisting recent nursing graduates in making the transition from nursing student to registered nurse. Completion of this track plus two years of full-time employment in an academic faculty role enables you to submit your credentials for eligibility to take the National League for Nursing Certified Nurse Educator Exam.
You will complete two practicums in the M.S.N. program. Each practicum experience is paired with theory and a seminar class. The clinical practicum will increase your understanding of health care and current trends in a specialty area (medical-surgical, pediatrics, psychiatric/mental health, maternal and child health, or community/public health).
Your second practicum will be specific to your track within the program to help you meet your professional and educational goals. In the administration practicum, you will focus on professional development, quality outcome management, and legal, regulatory and ethical issues in relation to selected administrative functions of nurse administrators. Each student will develop competencies of a nurse administrator under the guidance of a preceptor, who holds a minimum of a master’s degree in nursing. In the education practicum, you will examine the theory and methods of effective classroom and clinical teaching in nursing, and you will gain experience as a nurse educator.
In your capstone course, action research is presented as a methodology to critically analyze and reflect on practice, selecting a question to critically analyze which is related to nursing practice. You will present your capstone project to a professional audience at course end. Recent projects have covered topics such as educating nurses on the hazards of surgical smoke, increasing retention of new pediatric acute care nurses, and improving oral care compliance in ventilated patients.
For more information on required courses and electives, please see the M.S.N. handbook.
Program Goals and Learning Outcomes
- Prepare students for successful passage of certification examinations
- Provide a foundation for doctoral studies
- Promote a commitment to lifelong learning
- Promote critical analysis of theory, research, policy and organizational systems
- Develop leaders and change agents
- Enhance collaboration skills
- Critically seek, evaluate, and develop an expanding knowledge of nursing
- Use leadership abilities, moral and ethical principles, and professional standards to guide one’s own nursing practice and that of others
- Impact nursing practice through scientific inquiry and the dissemination of research findings
- Integrate concepts, models, and theories from nursing science and related disciplines into advanced nursing practice
In fall 2011, the master’s degree in nursing was granted 10-year re-accreditation by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 887-6791.
In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to a master’s program at Immaculata University, the minimum admission standards for the Division of Nursing include:
- Current R.N. license
- B.S.N. degree from an NLNAC- or CCNE-accredited school *
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4 point scale
- Acceptable scores on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher are not required to submit test scores.
- Goals statement: a one-page essay discussing your professional goals and how graduate study at Immaculata University will enable you to achieve those goals
- A current professional résumé
- Two letters of recommendation appraising your personal and professional qualities as well as capability for graduate study. References must be completed by academic professors or employers and forwarded directly to the College of Graduate Studies.
- A formal interview with the director of the M.S.N. Program
* Registered nurses from an NLNAC- or CCNE-accredited nursing program with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree may be admitted, but must meet B.S.N. equivalent competencies as outlined in the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2008) in nursing leadership, research, and community health.
These B.S.N. equivalent competencies may be met through the following two options after admission:
- Demonstrate exemplary knowledge in nursing leadership, research, and community health by successfully completing a professional portfolio (NURS 500 Professional Portfolio). The portfolio will include: 1) Documents that provide evidence of R.N. learning, progress, & achievements over time (such as CEUs, publications, honors/awards, letters from patients, families or supervisors); and 2) Responses to essay questions related to the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2008).
- Demonstrate content mastery in nursing leadership, research, or community health by successful completion of an undergraduate collegiate course from an accredited institution in the relevant subject.
General Education Requirements
NURS 500 Professional Portfolio (3 credits)
This course validates B.S.N. equivalent competencies in nursing leadership, research and community health as outlined in the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (2008). In this course, the R.N. students (who do not have a B.S.N. degree) present a completed professional portfolio to demonstrate knowledge foundational for M.S.N. study. (Prerequisite: R.N. with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree).
Required Courses – 9 credits
Based on students’ academic background, practice, and area of specialization, advisers will assist students in choosing either GEN 501, GEN 505, or a cross-disciplinary elective
GEN 501 Human Development * (3 credits)
This course provides opportunities for students to understand and appreciate the developmental experiences of all people across the lifespan. This course includes: development theories related to the human growth process, and salient biological and environmental factors which affect the process of human growth and development.
GEN 502 Methods of Research (3 credits)
This course is designed to examine comprehensive methodological approaches to qualitative and quantitative research. Rudiments of basic research process, skills in evaluating the research outcomes as valid, reliable and useful and application of this knowledge and skill in the creation of a simulated study are included. (Prerequisite: statistics course). Students who receive a grade of B- or below in Methods of Research at the master’s level will be required to repeat the course.
GEN 503 Interpersonal Relationships (3 credits)
This course is a study of the meaning of interpersonal relationships, focusing on key concepts; raising the level of one’s self-awareness, and developing a basic framework for understanding person-to-person and group interactions.
GEN 505 Adult Human Development * (3 credits)
This course focuses on human development as a lifelong process of interaction between the individual and the environment within particular contexts with objectives to study and appreciate one’s own and others’ adult developmental process. Seminal adult development scholars and their theories are presented and discussed. Cognition, emotions, and values are seen as influencing behavior and the role people play in their own development. * M.S.N. students may choose a cross-disciplinary course in lieu of Human Development or Adult Human Development. Students may choose one cross-disciplinary course, with the assistance of an advisor, based on students’ academic background, practice, and area of specialization.
Nursing Concentration Courses
NURS 621 Role Development for Advanced Nursing Practice (3 credits)
Advanced nursing roles will be analyzed in terms of their major components (consultant, change agent, clinician, educator, mentor, researcher, leader and manager) within the context of changing educational institutions and the health care delivery system. The process of socialization into the advanced nursing role is explored, and strategies for effective role implementation and evaluation are discussed. Practical strategies for role transition and development will be reviewed.
NURS 625 Health Care Policy & Politics (3 credits)
Focuses on the social, political, and economic factors that influence health policy decisions. Students will examine the legal, ethical, financial, and political foundations of the health care delivery system and its function as a social institution. The role of the nurse in advanced practice in influencing policy decisions and in addressing the needs of vulnerable and culturally diverse populations will be emphasized.
NURS 640 Advanced Health Assessment (3 credits)
Provides the advanced knowledge and skills for holistic health assessment within the context of advanced nursing practice. This course emphasizes the collection, interpretation, and synthesis of relevant historical, genetic, biological, cultural, psychosocial, and physical data for the development of a comprehensive and holistic health assessment. Evidence-based practice concepts related to health promotion/disease prevention are addressed.
NURS 655 Nursing Research (3 credits)
Expanding on the research competencies developed in GEN 502, this course focuses on the nursing research process and evidence-based practice. The historical, scientific, and theoretical context of nursing research is examined and current issues are analyzed. The use of scientific evidence to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes is emphasized. Ethical issues involved in the conduction of research are also explored. (Prerequisite: GEN 502)
NURS 690 MSN Capstone (2 credits theory; 1 credit guided field work)
Action research is presented as a methodology to critically analyze and reflect on practice. In a field experience, students develop and implement an action research project utilizing knowledge and skills acquired from all graduate courses. Students present their capstone project to a professional audience at course end. (Prerequisites: Successful completion of all required courses)
Specialized Core Courses
NURS 645 Advanced Pathopharmacology (3 credits)
Focuses on the concepts of pathophysiologic disease processes and pharmacologic agents. Students will apply evidence-based practice, current pharmacologic treatments, preventive measures and integrative therapies to advanced nursing practice. Environmental, sociocultural, legal/political, ethical and developmental issues of pathopharmacology will be considered.
NURS 660 Seminar for Nurse Educators I (3 credits)
Introduces the student to contemporary nursing education. Students will focus on curriculum development, program outcomes, students as learners, evaluation of learning and program development and improvement. Teaching strategies are explored. Philosophical, social, political, economic, and professional issues are examined. Ethical and legal considerations of nursing education are considered.
NURS 661 Seminar for Nurse Educators II (3 credits)
Continues with contemporary nursing education and introduces the concepts and theories of measurement and evaluation. Techniques for constructing and analyzing appropriate testing measures are explored. Learning theories and teaching strategies will be explored. Ethical, social, cultural, and legal issues related to evaluation are discussed. (Pre-requisite: NURS 660)
NURS 670 Nursing Administration (3 credits)
Using professional standards and competencies as a framework, examines the roles, functions and responsibilities of a nurse administrator. Content focuses on principles of leadership and management, health care organizations and systems, and human resource management. Research related to administrative practice and contemporary issues that affect practice and roles of nurse administrators are examined.
NURS 672 Financial Management of Health Care Organizations (3 credits)
Examines the financial management of health care organizations. Issues related to budgeting, accounting, reimbursement, information systems, and other supportive functions are explored. Fiscal responsibility and accountability for nurse administrators are addressed.
NURS 681 Clinical Practicum (1 credit theory; 2 credits practicum)
The role, scope and function of an advanced practice nurse are explored during a clinical practicum. In consultation with the faculty, students select a specialty area of nursing practice for the clinical component. In conjunction with role exploration, students also examine current research, trends in practice and emerging technology related to their selected area. (Prerequisites: NURS 620/621 & 640)
NURS 683 Education Practicum (2 credits theory; 1 credit practicum)
Focuses on the role of the nurse as an educator in the classroom and clinical setting. The course examines the theory and methods of effective classroom and clinical teaching in nursing. Students will experience the role of the nurse educator during the education practicum. (Pre-requisites: NURS 674, 675, 676, & 681; OR NURS 660, 661, & 681)
NURS 684 Administration Practicum (2 credits theory; 1 credit practicum)
Focuses on concepts and theories related to the management of financial resources, quality outcome management, and legal and ethical issues in relation to selected administrative functions of the nurse administrator. Contemporary trends and issues affecting the role and function of the nurse administrators are also discussed. During the practicum experience, under the guidance of a master’s prepared nurse administrator, students develop competencies in the nurse administrator role. (Pre-requisites: NURS 670, 681 and ORGL 610)
In consultation with the director of the M.S.N. Program, students will select a cross-disciplinary elective that will enhance their area of specialization. The following list provides a sample of the courses that may be taken as the cross-disciplinary elective:
- CLD 503 Issues in Contemporary Culture of the United States
- CLD 546 Multicultural/Multilingual Issues in Education
- EDL 615 Contemporary Professional Ethics
- EDL 635 Psychology of Learning
- EDL 636 The Art and Science of Grant Writing
- NED 601 Introduction to Medical Nutrition Therapy
- NED 644 Nutrition in the Life Cycle
- NED 653 Health Counseling
- ORGL 600 Leadership and Ethics
- ORGL 601 Strategic Management
- ORGL 602 Foundations of Finance and Economics
- ORGL 615 Utilizing Conflict and Negotiation
- ORGL 620 Leading Through Technologies
- OREF 611 Interpersonal and Group Relations
- PSYC 604 Group Process
- PSYC 606 Family Counseling
- PSYC 607 Treatment of Children and Adolescents
- PSYC 608 Psychopathology
- PSYC 614 Substance Abuse Education and Counseling
- PSYC 640 Diversity Counseling