Master of Science in Nursing Program Page

Master of Science
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Program Overview

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program is for baccalaureate-prepared nurses. In keeping with the standards for graduate education for advanced practice nursing delineated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in the Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nurses, the purpose of the MSN program is to prepare students to assume leadership roles in their particular specialization. Master’s-level nursing education is the appropriate level of education for nursing professionals who are seeking roles that require advanced practice skills in order to function as providers and organizers of the health care delivery process. Students must complete one of the specializations listed in the University catalog.

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at National University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

Course Listing

Option 1 

RN-MSN Pathway Course Requirements

  • 1 course; 6 quarter units 

Course Name

PrerequisiteCompletion of an Associate Degree or Diploma Nursing Program and holding an unencumbered Registered Nurse license.

This course allows demonstration of defined competencies through portfolio assessment in the content areas of quality improvement, community health, and nursing leadership. Successful completion of all three content areas enables the student to transition to the desired Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program of study at National University. A BSN degree is not awarded upon successful completion of the NSG 500 course and MSN Program of study. Grading is S, U, I or In Progress (IP).

OR

OPTION 2 ALL the following six (6) courses

  • 6 courses; 25.5 quarter units

Course Name

CorequisiteNSG 444A

This 8 week course focuses on the analysis of the community nursing role and practice in examining the health status of a selected population to determine community oriented care. Addresses public health ethics, nursing advocacy and healthcare disparities. Topics include the importance of health promotion and the preservation of health across the lifespan, vulnerable populations, and global health considerations. Completion of community health courses can lead to the Public Health Nursing Certification in California.

CorequisiteNSG 444

This 8 week practicum course provides students with the opportunity to use data to target community interventions, define strategies and access the determinants and distribution of health. Emphasis is on the epidemiologic and ecological principles that affect the health of vulnerable populations. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteNSG 442A

This 8 week course provides for the study of leadership and management principles as they apply to the delivery of quality health care and professional nursing practice. Models and concepts will be identified and explored as the nurse learns the importance of leading within the climate of a changing healthcare environment.

CorequisiteNSG 442

This 8 week practicum course focuses on organizational and systems leadership, quality improvement, and safety within a variety of health care settings. Emphasis is on the development of imaginative, innovative and creative strategies to promote a systems change. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteNSG 447A

This course introduces the concepts, techniques, strategies and metrics of quality improvement using the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) framework. Patient care quality and safety in the context of structure, process and outcomes in care delivery are explored. Identification of improvement opportunities, action plan development and outcomes evaluation through project management are addressed.

CorequisiteNSG 447

During this 8 week course students conduct a quality improvement project under the supervision of a mentor or preceptor and the course instructor. Grading is S/U only.

Core Requirements

  • 6 courses; 27 quarter units

Course Name

This course explores the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse within a changing health care environment, focusing on role theory and role development related to advanced practice. Leadership skills are developed for independent practice and collaboration within multidisciplinary professional and organizational frameworks.

This course develops critical thinking skills to support advancement of nursing knowledge through theory development, analysis, and application of advanced nursing practice in diverse settings. Students explore the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of nursing practice and develop skill in analysis of nursing and related theories.

This course explores fundamental concepts and methods of statistics as applied to health related fields. The topics of this course include: introduction to basic concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics as they apply to health research; basic and intermediate concepts for testing, statistical hypotheses, construction and interpretation of confidence intervals; applying selected parametric and nonparametric techniques; regression and multiple regression; analysis of covariance, multivariate ANOVA, and related multivariate analyses. Computer software will be used to illustrate statistical procedures.

Addresses the acquisition of knowledge and skills to promote health, help shape the health delivery system, and advance values through policy processes and advocacy. The intricacies of the organization and financing of healthcare delivery systems and the effect of health policies on healthcare delivery are the foci.

NSG 607 EBP for Advanced NSG Practice (4.50)

Exploration of types and quality of evidence used to support nursing practice. Study of research designs, measurement tools, and other methods for the safe application of evidence to development of improved care and care systems are emphasized. Identification of an evidence-based scholarly question pertinent to advanced practice nursing.

Centers on identifying and developing the skills needed by leaders in today’s healthcare arena. Students will employ the concept of leadership in the four key domains of advanced practice: clinical practice environments, the nursing profession, at the systems level, and in the health policy arena.

Total Specialization Requirements

  • 12 courses; 62 quarter units

Preparation for FNP Specialization

  • 3 courses; 15 quarter units

Course Name

Presents information expanding the student’s knowledge base related to current health patterns across the lifespan. Faculty will facilitate the students’ acquisition of advanced skills in collecting subjective data and performing an adult physical and mental status examination. Students interpret data acquired through assessment and results of diagnostic studies.

This course develops critical thinking skills to support advancement of nursing knowledge through theory development, analysis, and application of advanced nursing practice in diverse settings. Students explore the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of nursing practice and develop skill in analysis of nursing and related theories.

Provides pathophysiological principles and concepts essential for performing advanced clinical assessments, differential diagnoses, and therapeutic decision-making. Describes disordered physiology and clinical consequences of common disease processes. Analyses of the biophysical rationale are used during seminar, problem-solving exercises and case studies to recognize the pathophysiologic bases of clinical findings.

*Students have the option of taking the preparation for FNP specialization concurrently with the 6 MSN core courses.

Specialization Requirements

  • 9 courses; 47 quarter units

Students must pass all Preparation for FNP Specialization courses before beginning any specialization courses

Course Name

Provides a knowledge base for applying, analyzing and evaluating the culturally competent provision of patient-centered care. Diversity in the global healthcare delivery systems is addressed. Allows the graduate nursing students to explore various models and theories which guide the development of culturally competent nursing practice.

Second course of a two course series. Within each class of therapeutic drugs, the course examines clinical application, drug actions, interactions, reactions, and contraindications. The course will also include principles of prescribing and patient compliance.

CorequisiteFNP 683C

Development of clinical decision-making skills. Focus is the delivery of comprehensive health care, including health promotion, health maintenance, and the diagnosis and treatment of common acute and chronic illnesses. Assigned readings, lectures, class discussion, and case studies are used as well as supervised practicum in multicultural practice settings. FNP 683A and FNP 683C must be taken concurrently and both completed satisfactorily to progress.

CorequisiteFNP 683A

Application of theoretical knowledge in supervised clinical settings in the practice of caring for the adult and aged. The role of the family nurse practitioner in health promotion and disease prevention is emphasized. Required 180 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. FNP 683A and FNP 683C must be taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteFNP 684C

Focus on methods of health promotion/disease prevention, and assessment and management of common health problems in infants, toddlers, school age children, adolescents, and women from menarche through to the climacteric. FNP 684A and FNP 684C must be taken concurrently and both completed satisfactorily to progress.

CorequisiteFNP 684A

Application of theoretical knowledge in supervised clinical settings in the practice of caring for women and children. The role of the Family Nurse Practitioner in health promotion and disease prevention is emphasized. Required 180 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. FNP 684A and FNP 684C must be taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteFNP 685C

Prepare students to perform the advanced practice roles of manager, clinician, educator, researcher and consultant in the provision of primary care services across the lifespan to under-served populations. FNP 685A and FNP 685C must be taken concurrently and both completed satisfactorily to progress.

CorequisiteFNP 685A

Concentrated residency experience in which the student will critically and accurately assess, plan intervene and evaluate nursing experiences related to the care of individuals, aggregates, and nursing systems. Required 240 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. FNP 685A and FNP 685C must be taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

Students demonstrate integration of knowledge from the core, core clinical, and clinical coursework in the MSN-FNP Program. The compilation and interpretation of information from previous courses is demonstrated in a scholarly paper and successfully passing an exam which mirrors the national board certification examination for Family Nurse Practitioners.

Specialization in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Lifespan

Academic Program Director: Susan Drummond; [email protected]

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse practitioner- Lifespan (PMHNP) is registered nurse prepared at the master’s degree level and specializes in primary mental health care for individuals, groups and populations across the lifespan. The PMHNP Program is designed for nurses who hold a nursing diploma, or an associate nursing degree, or a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing (BSN), who wish to advance their knowledge, education and skills to practice in an advanced practice role as a PMHNP. This advanced practice nurse maintains a critical role in the health care team and ensures collaboration and the provision of safe, effective, coordinated care. As an independent member of the health care team, and in partnership with patients, the PMHNP provides a variety of evidence-based services and therapies. The PMHNP assesses, makes diagnoses and plans care for complex psychiatric and concomitant medical issues, including the prescription and management of psychoparmacologic agents. The PMHNP advocates for patients and their families within a recovery and trauma-informed paradigm. The PMHNP ensures that patients and their families are engaged and actively participate in their behavioral health (mental health and substance use) care as they respond to the illness experience. The PMHNP continuously enhances their care through quality improvement and safety efforts and influences policy at the local, regional and national levels. The PMHNP melds the art and science of professional nursing and skillfully manages the acute and enduring issues posed by people with behavioral health issues across the lifespan. Graduates of this PMHNP Program are eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Lifespan competency-based examination.

Admission Requirements
Students applying for the PMHNP area of specialization must be accepted to the MSN program.

NOTE: Additional course fees apply. Course fees can be referenced in the general information section of this catalog.

Total Specialization Requirements

  • 12 courses; 60 quarter units

Preparation for PMHNP Specialization Courses

  • 3 courses; 15 quarter units

Course Name

This course develops critical thinking skills to support advancement of nursing knowledge through theory development, analysis, and application of advanced nursing practice in diverse settings. Students explore the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of nursing practice and develop skill in analysis of nursing and related theories.

Presents information expanding the student’s knowledge base related to current health patterns across the lifespan. Faculty will facilitate the students’ acquisition of advanced skills in collecting subjective data and performing an adult physical and mental status examination. Students interpret data acquired through assessment and results of diagnostic studies.

Provides pathophysiological principles and concepts essential for performing advanced clinical assessments, differential diagnoses, and therapeutic decision-making. Describes disordered physiology and clinical consequences of common disease processes. Analyses of the biophysical rationale are used during seminar, problem-solving exercises and case studies to recognize the pathophysiologic bases of clinical findings.

*Students have the option of taking the preparation for MNP specialization concurrently with the 6 MSN core courses.

Specialization Requirements 

  • 9 courses; 45 quarter units

Students must pass all Preparation for PMHNP Specialization courses before beginning any specialization courses.

Course Name

Provides a knowledge base for applying, analyzing and evaluating the culturally competent provision of patient-centered care. Diversity in the global healthcare delivery systems is addressed. Allows the graduate nursing students to explore various models and theories which guide the development of culturally competent nursing practice.

Advanced concepts in pharmacogenomics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics for targeted symptoms in the management of various psychiatric disorders. Management of symptoms for various populations and risk-mitigation strategies are presented for clinical problems in primary mental health settings. Use of psychopharmacologic agents with medical comorbidities. Patient adherence strategies examined

CorequisiteMNP 694C

Evidence-based assessment, diagnosis and treatment/management approaches to various psychiatric symptoms and disorders are explored. Analyze concepts of neurophysiology and neuropathophysiology of adult/aging adults with psychiatric disorders. Examine the professional, policy and practice issues influencing the nurse practitioner’s role as a mental health provider for adult/aging adults with psychiatric disorders.

CorequisiteMNP 694

Facilitate practicum experience of the PMHNP student with adults/aging adults in mental health care settings. Accurately assess, plan, intervene, and evaluate the care of adults/aging adults with mental illness. Perform the advance practice role of manager, clinician, educator, researcher, and consultant in the provision of mental health services. Required 240 preceptored/field experience clinical hours Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteMNP 687C

Evidence-based biopsychosocial assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with mental illness and/or developmental disorders are explored. Facilitate the knowledge of professional, policy and practice issues influencing the nurse practitioner’s role as mental health provider of children and adolescents with mental illness and/or developmental disorders.

CorequisiteMNP 687

Facilitate Practicum experience of the PMHNP student with children/adolescents in mental health care settings. Accurately assess, plan, intervene, and evaluate the care of children/adolescents with developmental, behavioral or psychiatric disorder. Perform the advance practice role of manager, clinician, educator, researcher, and consultant in the provision of mental health services. Required 180 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteMNP 688C

Provides a comprehensive review of psychotherapy principles and treatment approaches commonly used in primary mental health care services. Explores ways of developing effective therapeutic relationships with an emphasis on therapeutic communication. Individual, group and family psychotherapy across the lifespan are analyzed. MNP688A and MNP688C are taken concurrently.

CorequisiteMNP 688A

Learner applies theories and principles of psychotherapy learned in MNP688A. Assesses motivation and readiness for treatment. Applies various theories of behavior patterns, belief systems, therapeutic relationship strategies based on evidence to reduce emotional stress, facilitate cognitive and behavior change, and foster growth. Required 120 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. MNP688A and MNP688C are taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

Students demonstrate integration of knowledge from the core, core clinical and clinical coursework in the MSN-PMHNP Program. The compilation and interpretation of information from previous courses is demonstrated in a scholarly paper and successfully passing an exam which mirrors the national board certification examination for PMHNPs

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Master of Science in Nursing degree, students must complete 87-89 quarter units of graduate credit. A maximum 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be transferred to meet program requirements. Refer to the General Catalog section on graduate admission requirements for specific information regarding admission and evaluation. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and must maintain a B (84%) in all core and specialization courses. 

  • Monthly online meetings
  • Minimal on-campus requirements
  • Degree can be completed in as little as 12-18 months
  • 12-week courses
  • Specializations include Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Board certification review course for nurse practitioner specialties
  • Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificates available to students who already hold an MSN

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Implement appropriate theories, models, frameworks, and concepts from nursing and non-nursing disciplines when designing interventions that influence healthcare outcomes for diverse populations in a variety of settings.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, to evaluate fiscally appropriate healthcare delivery systems that integrate research and clinical expertise to provide evidence-based, patient-centered care.
  • Evaluate economic, policy, environmental, and social forces that impact nursing practice, health care delivery and quality of health care.
  • Participate in the analysis, implementation and evaluation of strategies for improving nursing practice through the implementation of health information systems and technologies.
  • Demonstrate a professional commitment to creating an environment of lifelong learning for patients, families, communities, and other healthcare practitioners.

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Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

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