Dec 02, 2023  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, M.S.N.

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Gannon Tagher, Ed.D, RN, APRN, Interim Department Chair

Teresa Huber, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, Graduate Program Director


Graduate education at the master’s level builds on the foundation of baccalaureate nursing education. Critical thinking, specialized knowledge, professional accountability, leadership, advanced communication skills and caring behaviors are expectations of the masters prepared nurse and are an integral part of the program. The graduate is able to synthesize theoretical information and research, applying findings to advanced practice. The MSN graduate serves as a change agent using cultural sensitivity, leadership principles, resource management and application of best practice to enhance nursing in the community. Lifelong learning is emphasized in the program; the graduate has the foundation needed for doctoral education. The program prepares the graduate as a health care leader, educator, primary care, or acute care nurse practitioner.

While we appreciate that most students work full time and have family responsibilities the student must acknowledge that these responsibilities may have an impact on successful completion of the program. We cannot alter academic standards/expectations of the program due to these responsibilities. The rigor of the Department of Nursing and successful progression requires one’s full attention. We highly recommend that students consider the number of hours required for study relative to these responsibilities.

Program Outcomes

  1. Critically analyze data for practice by integrating knowledge from arts and sciences within the context of nursing’s philosophical framework and scientific foundation.
  2. Demonstrate effective communication in order to facilitate nursing practice at an advanced level.
  3. Add to the body of knowledge, as it relates to nursing, by demonstrating advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability, as evidenced by identifying or generating evidence and implementing and evaluating change to improve healthcare outcomes.
  4. Integrate nursing science, educational frameworks, health policy, and principles of business to implement initiatives that facilitate the highest level of advanced nursing practice.
  5. Integrate professional values, accountability, and responsibility into advanced levels of nursing practice.
  6. Demonstrate sensitivity to diverse cultures and populations including patients and providers (to facilitate practice at an advanced level).
  7. Analyze one’s own behaviors and institutional practices and policies for coherence with principles of caring.

Program Options

MSN classes are offered in an online format.  Hybrid classes, which allow for both online and face to face learning, are occasionally offered. This is course and instructor dependent and is not a guaranteed option. Register for the type of section that best suits your individual learning needs, while allowing for flexibility if enrollment criteria are not met.

Student Advising

Students are expected to maintain close contact with their advisor throughout the program of study.  Prior consent of the advisor must be obtained before any deviation is made from full program advising.  Students are cautioned not to rely on the advice of other students regarding applicability of courses.

The MSN program reserves the right to determine the applicability of graduate transfer credit.  A maximum of 40% of your program may consist of transfer work that can be applied toward the program of study.

The MSN program is a year round program (including summers) designed to be completed in a particular sequence, and may be lockstep fashion and in part-time progression.  Please give consideration to managing work and family while completing a rigorous academic program.

MSN Program Admission Requirements

Admission to the MSN program is highly competitive. Completed applications with all required accompanying materials are reviewed according to the priority deadlines listed on the Graduate Education website,  

In order to be considered for admission to the MSN program, the university requires all applicants to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Submit a complete application for graduate admission to Northern Kentucky University.
  2. Submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  3. Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an ACEN, CCNE or CNEA accredited program of nursing. 
  4. In order for an application to evaluated, applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their BSN undergraduate studies.
  5. Successful completion (C or better) of an undergraduate statistics course.
  6. Proof of 1,000 clinical hours of practice as a Registered Nurse.  Download the Employment Verification Form on the Office of Graduate Education website,  
  7. The Adult Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner applicants must have 1-year experience in critical care.  Download the Critical Care Verification Form on the Office of Graduate Education website,  
  8. A copy of your current, unencumbered RN license with expiration date in the state(s) you are licensed and practice.

RNs with Non-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree 

RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree may apply to the MSN by meeting all of the above criteria except a BSN.  Additionally, they must successfully complete the following courses prior to beginning the MSN courses:

  • NRP 471 - Concepts of Professional Nursing
  • NRP 472 - Nursing Research or an equivalent undergraduate research course.

♦ Indicates prerequisite.

MSN Concentrations

Nursing Education (NED) Concentration (21 credit hours)

The nursing education concentration prepares nurses to teach in schools of nursing, hospital education settings and patient education programs. The curriculum emphasizes the development of expertise in teaching clinical nursing, didactic, online simulation and research based teaching. Through a variety of experiences in the classroom and in practica, students have an opportunity to apply theories of instruction and to teach content to nursing students, to practicing nurses and to patients.

Total Nursing Education Credit Hours: 33

Nurse Executive Leadership (NEL) Concentration (21 credit hours)

The curriculum combines courses offered through the Department of Nursing with courses from the departments of Psychological Sciences and Accounting and Finance to prepare nurses for leadership at the executive level of healthcare operations.

Total Nurse Executive Leader Credit Hours: 33

Nursing Informatics Concentration (22 credit hours)

*Please note the Nursing Informatics concentration is not currently accepting new applications for admission at this time.

The Nursing Informatics curriculum is designed to help students learn both the theory and practical aspects of this important new field. Graduates will bring nursing and clinical knowledge into the technology arena in an effort to improve health care delivery systems and ultimately improve patient care.  The Nursing Informatics concentration is currently offered to sponsored student cohorts only.

Total Nursing Informatics Credit Hours: 34

Nurse Practitioner Concentrations

The curriculum will focus on the theoretical concepts and care standards that support the delivery of healthcare in clinical practice and explore the evolving issues faced by the health care system today. As a nurse practitioner, students will act as an educator and counselor, care provider, make referrals and serve as an advocate for patients.

Graduates of the Nurse Practitioner Concentrations will be eligible to take the appropriate national certification examination for their specialty.

Total Family Nurse Practitioner Credit Hours: 47

Total Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner Credit Hours: 43

Total Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Credit Hours: 46

Total Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Credit Hours: 46

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