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School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing Program of Study
Course Descriptions

Notre Dame’s mission and specifically, the SSND charism of unity through diversity, transformation, and building a better world through education is a good fit for and model for the Master of Science in Nursing, which prepares nurse educators and administrators to excel in their healthcare profession. Graduates of this program are prepared to lead in a healthcare system that is changing dramatically. The program stresses competencies and way of being in administrative and educational praxis, presence, advocacy, scholarship, technology, and self-care. Leadership in nursing is emphasized throughout the curriculum.

Students are admitted to the program as members of a cohort, progressing together in a supportive environment.

The accelerated format is designed to meet the needs of busy working nurses who choose part-time study but want to finish in the same amount of time as a full-time student. Classes are taken sequentially, one class at a time, on the same day of the week and the same four-hour period throughout the program. Regular courses range from four to nine weeks in duration, while the required culminating professional practicum is a 14-week experience. During the final semester, students take two courses concurrently throughout the entire semester as well as completing a 90-hour practicum. These final two courses alternate weeks, so students are still attending class one night a week.

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Program of Study

Students in the program select a concentration in Leadership in Nursing Education or Leadership in Nursing Administration.

The nursing education concentration is planned for the experienced registered nurse who seeks a career as a nurse educator in service or academic settings. Completion of this concentration gives students the knowledge and skills to meet criteria for nurse educator certification. Students will learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate a variety of teaching strategies based on assessment of learner needs, setting, and advanced evidence-based research and curriculum and educational theory. They will learn to use leadership skills and ethical and legal principles to implement policies and procedures related to learners, faculty, and the educational environment.

The curriculum strives to prepare future nurse educators and nurse managers/ administrators for excellence in nursing leadership by grounding them in an academic curriculum that is humanistic, relevant, value-rich, standards/evidence-based, client-centered, theory guided and grounded in reflective practice. The curriculum is designed to offer direction for teaching and learning with a commitment to multiple ways of knowing, supporting creativity, discovery, critical inquiry, and application of relevant practice, administrative, and curriculum theories and nursing models in diverse settings.

The Masters in Science degree program requires the completion of 38 credits. Undergraduate RN-BSN students at NDMU will be considered for provisional early admission to the MSN Program during their final semester. NDMU RN to BSN graduates are able to waive the MSN Leadership course, NUR-510, for the BSN course NUR-432 and the MSN Informatics course, NUR-520, for the BSN course NUR-303.

To qualify for unconditional admission to the Master of Science in Nursing program, students must have an active registered nursing license from Maryland or a compact state; a 3.0 GPA in a BSN program; clinical nursing experience, and a clearly-written essay as outlined on the graduate application.

The nursing graduate programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404-975-5000).

Program Outcomes

Educators and administrators preparing a space for being-with students and staff members that reveals authentic nursing presence—opening possibilities for meaning-making, cultural understanding, and reflective practice in diverse settings.

Engaging in and cultivating excellence in praxis of nursing education and nursing administration through the synthesis of a thoughtful commitment to the watchfulness of safety and quality and an emphasis on building relationships interwoven with an authentic confident professional demeanor and rooted in a framework of theory from nursing and other disciplines.

Responding to the call to be an active voice for students, nursing staff, patients, families, and communities around health policy and social justice, leading professional lives as valued by the Code of Ethics for Nurses, and demonstrating positive partnerships with other disciplines in the spirit of the welfare for all those in our care.

Creating an environment that promotes a lively spirit of critical inquiry, an appreciation for aesthetics and other ways of knowing, which contribute to the body of knowledge in nursing.

Creating a place for healing, growth, and a culture of caring for self and others

Enacting and guiding an interpretation of evidence with lived experiences through the lens of reflection leading to promotion of excellence in nursing practice and advancement of the profession

Program Objectives

Leadership in Nursing Education Concentration
Based on the Scope of Practice for Academic Nurse Educators (NLN, 2005)

    1. Acquire the cognitive and behavioral skills needed to successfully perform in the role of nurse educator in an academic or service setting.
    2. Participate in curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes.
    3. Plan, implement, and evaluate a variety of teaching strategies based on assessment of learner needs, setting, and advanced evidence-based research and educational theory.
    4. Use leadership skills and ethical and legal principles to implement policies and procedures related to learners, faculty, and the educational environment.
    5. Effectively use technology, tools, assessment instruments and other resources to improve educational outcomes.
    6. Contribute to the expansion of knowledge in nursing education through participation in research, scholarly publications and/or presentations.
    7. Engage in professional behaviors that reflect a commitment to service, lifelong learning and excellence in teaching practice.
    Leadership in Nursing Administration Concentration

Based on the Scope and Standards for Nurse Administrators (ANA, 2nd ed.) and the Nurse Manager Competencies (AONE, 2005).

    1. Acquire the cognitive and behavioral skills needed to successfully perform as a manager or administrator in a variety of health-related organizations.
    2. Think critically and strategically to influence and participate in policy and operational  decision making in their organizations.
    3. Communicate effectively within the organization, community and national forums.
    4. Implement evidence-based clinical and administrative practices.
    5. Use research findings, collaboration, leadership and negotiation skills to influence professional issues and healthcare policy.
    Engage in behaviors that reflect a commitment to professional values and practice.

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Curriculum (38 Credits)

Core Courses (13 Credits)
NUR-501 Theoretical Foundations of Nursing (3)
NUR-507 Nursing Research II: Proposal (3)
NUR-510 Contemporary Leadership in Nursing (2)
NUR-520 Nursing Informatics (2)
NUR-543 Nursing Research I: Synthesis of the Literature (3)

Concentration in Leadership in Nursing Education (25 Credits)
NUR-512 Issues and Trends in Nursing Education (3)
NUR-513 Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Nursing (4)
NUR-537 Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacology for Nurse Educators (3)
NUR 535 Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Educators (2)
NUR 511 Portfolio Development for Advanced Nursing Practice (1)
NUR-605 Teaching in Nursing Education Practicum (6)
EDU-544 Educational Assessment (3)
EDU-556 Technology for Instruction and Management (3)

Concentration in Leadership in Nursing Administration (25 Credits)
NUR-515 Issues and Trends in Nursing Administration (3)
NUR-516 Nursing Administrative Theory and Practice (4)
NUR-518 Health Policy (3)
NUR-620 Leadership and Administration in Nursing Seminar and Practicum (6)
BUS-521 Healthcare Economics (3)
BUS-522 Essentials of Healthcare Finance (3)
BUS-523 The Business of Healthcare (3)

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Course Descriptions

Course descriptions for business courses that are part of the MSN program can be found in the Leadership and Management section of this catalog.

Course descriptions for education courses that are part of the MSN program can be found in the Education section of the catalog.

Focuses on the exploration of nursing knowledge development to include philosophy, theories, and conceptual models designed to guide patient care, inform healthcare delivery system decision making, educational programming and nursing administration. A first course in the program, grounding learners in nursing science. [3 credits] (1:9, 28 hours).

Guides the learner in using the literature review developed in NUR-543 to build a strong research study proposal that has potential for funding. The final course product will reflect a clear understanding of all stages and steps of the research process and the content of a credible and convincing research proposal. Prerequisite: NUR-543. [3 credits] [1:8, 2 4-hour seminars plus individual faculty/student meetings]

Critically examines multiple leadership theories, styles and approaches in nursing with emphasis on the interrelationships among leaders, followers and the entire multidisciplinary team. In addition, excellence in nursing leadership will be explored along with the implications and responsibilities of the nurse leader for shaping today's changing educational and healthcare environments. [2 credits] [1:8, 16 hours]

This course will guide the student in creating a professional portfolio that can be used to collect and reflect on lifelong achievement, while providing institutions with evidence of student success. Portfolios reflect the critical processes of knowledge development in which the student is involved with, various professional activities, and personal reflection of the experiences associated with these diverse activities. [1 credit] [1:7, 7 hours]

Uses a case-study and seminar format to help students explore contemporary issues and trends in nursing education. Students will be introduced to fundamental legal and ethical principles which influence the quality of public and private education. They will become acquainted with the American legal process, basic legal terminology, selected precedents, and landmark cases in nursing education. Students will also have the opportunity to self-select trends in education for in-depth exploration and construct strategies to meet common challenges within diverse practice settings. [3 credits] [1:8, 24 hours]

This course introduces students, who have or will have a responsibility for nursing curriculum theory, development, and evaluation in various educational settings, to philosophical paradigms that ground and guide curriculum thinking and pedagogical practice. A major focus of the course is to offer students opportunities for critical analysis of curriculum work, including evaluation, and to transform visions for nursing education. Throughout the course, epistemological and ontological questions raised through technical, practical/interpretive, and critical perspectives are pursued during guided readings and classroom conversation. Students will envision and plan thoughtful curriculum work for enactment in their teaching practica settings. . [4 credits] [1:9, 36 hours]

Examines ethical and legal issues in nursing administration and applies relevant principles to increasingly complex practice problems. Through this seminar course learners become acquainted with the American legal process, basic legal and ethical terminology, and a variety of legal and ethical issues that affect nurse administrators. [3 credits] [1:8, 24 hours]

Uses administrative theory and management principles and processes to examine roles in management/administration in health-related organizations. Additionally, a framework for strategic planning is used to consider assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of strategic initiatives applicable to nursing leadership. Consideration will be given to the perspectives of various stakeholders involved in operational and strategic decision making and strategies for communication. [4 credits] [1:9, 36 hours]

Examines historical and current health policy issues related to sociopolitical environment, economics of healthcare, advocacy, legislative and regulatory influences, and how these apply to the practice of the nurse leader. Considers the various stakeholders involved in health policy and their perspectives and strategies. [3 credits] [1:8, 24 hours]

Prepares learners to explore and evaluate current technologies to deliver and coordinate care across multiple settings, analyze point of care outcomes, and communicate with individuals and groups, including the media, policymakers, other healthcare professionals, and the public. In addition, the course will foster an attitude of openness to innovation and continual learning and a deep understanding of the ethical implications of rapidly growing healthcare data management systems. Learners will be able to educate key stakeholders using current technologies and understand the principles related to the safe and effective use of care and information technologies. [2 credits] [1:8, 16 hours]

Provides a study abroad option for MSN students who are designing practicum experiences or learning about health policy. Opportunities for practicum experiences in advanced clinical practice, nursing education, and nursing administration are available. Experiencing another culture allows learners a chance to grow personally, learn about other health systems and public health environments, and broaden their education and knowledge of the world. This global experience promotes compassion in the delivery of nursing care to the culturally diverse populations that we currently serve and contributes to global citizenship. Students may use this experience for in lieu of NUR-518, or as partial fulfillment of NUR-605, or NUR-620. Variable credits.

The course expands on undergraduate skills in systematic health assessment across the life span. The student will learn advanced health assessment skills in specialty advanced nursing practice. Integration of skills and techniques in collecting health assessment data towards appropriate decision-making, clinical assessments in select populations is emphasized in this didactic course. Particular attention will be paid to teaching strategies for health assessment. [2 credits] [1 theory, 1:7; 1 lab, 1:14, 21 hours]

This course introduces and integrates general principles of pharmacology with pathophysiological phenomena. It is designed to provide future nurse educators with a holistic and advanced understanding of disease as disordered normal body physiology. As such, students will have an enhanced ability to teach the disease process and related potential sequelae. This course will explore the mechanism(s) related to the production of signs, symptoms, complications, treatments, and interventions of different disease states and specific health problems. Innovative teaching strategies for selected alterations in health are used with emphasis on pathophysiological concepts and pharmacological interventions. Nurse educator students will experience being the learner using a variety of teaching learning methods. This course does not meet requirements for prescriptive authority. [3 credits] [1:9, 28 hours]

Designed to provide students with advanced skills and abilities to critically analyze, interpret, and evaluate nursing research related to a specific nursing problem. The focus of the course will be of a critical, comprehensive review of literature that will provide a strong foundation for writing a beginning nursing research proposal in Nursing Research II (NUR 507). [3 credits] [1:9, 28 hours]

Through seminar meetings and a teaching nursing internship, this course provides opportunities for master’s students in the leadership in education concentration to deepen understanding of nursing curriculum through thoughtful enactment of pedagogical practice in a variety of settings. Reflection on the lived experience of being‐with students as a teacher and critical readings in pedagogy and practice allows for celebration of education as transformation. Pre‐requisite: Permission of department chair. . [6 credits] [2 theory, 1:12; 4 clinical 1:24.]

Focuses on the exploration of theory through participation, research, and observation of organizational functioning and nursing leadership. Learners co-design practicum objectives for placement with a nursing administrator preceptor in an appropriate setting. Emphasis begins with organizational and departmental structure and includes responsibility for a program or project agreed upon by the learner, preceptor, and faculty. To the extent feasible, learners practice autonomously, with the preceptor and faculty as resources. Five seminars focus on an array of issues surrounding the role of the nursing administrator. Six seminar meetings and 90 practicum hours. Prerequisite: Permission of the MSN Coordinator [6 credits] [2 theory, 1:12; 4 clinical 1:24]

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