Jul 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, M.S.N.

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Kim Dinsey-Read, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN, School of Nursing Director

Anne Sahingoz, DNP, MSN.Ed., BSN, AND, 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.

All MSN classes are offered in an accelerated online format of 7-week terms. Each accelerated course contains the same content found in typical 16-week semester courses.  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 School 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.

MSN Philosophy

The MSN program is guided by the missions of Northern Kentucky University and College of Health & Human Services. The MSN curriculum is grounded in the Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education, QSEN, and the Future of Nursing report. The MSN program prepares graduates to be stewards of the discipline. Masters education originates from the student’s practice experiences, advances through individualized, student-centered and transformational opportunities, and culminates in the graduate assuming the nursing expert role. Masters learning includes opportunities for the improvement of health outcomes across diverse populations utilizing the best evidence and clinical judgement. Students and faculty promote academic excellence, professionalism, integrity, and inclusiveness within the advanced nursing community through shared responsibility, interprofessional collaboration, communication, teamwork, and mentoring relationships. This individualized student-centered learning takes place in a scholarly community grounded in standards for rigor, the nursing imperative of caring, and recognition of a plurality of voices.

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.

MSN Program Core Concepts

Clinical Judgement; Communication; Evidence-based Practice; Advocacy; Professionalism; Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; 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 students must achieve a “C” or better in non-nursing courses (specifically BIO 669  and PSY 550 ) and a “B” or better in all MSN nursing courses in the MSN graduate program (including MSN/CHP/DNP). The “B-” is not considered a passing grade in a MSN graduate nursing course. If a grade of “B-” or less is earned the student is required to retake the course.

MSN Program Admission Requirements

Admission to the MSN program is highly competitive. Completed applications with all required accompanying materials are reviewed according to the posted deadline for each session.

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 (Graduate and Undergraduate).
  3. Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a regionally accredited and an ACEN, CCNE or CNEA accredited program of nursing. Students who have earned a BSN degree from a non-US institution will be considered for an exception to the requirement that the BSN come from ACEN, CCNE or CNEA accredited program of nursing, where applicable.
  4. In order for an application to be evaluated, applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their 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, http://www.nku.edu/admissions/graduate/admission-process/additional-forms.html.  
  7. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Program requires 2000 hours of RN clinical experience in a psychiatric setting. Download the Employment Verification Form on the Office of Graduate Education website, http://www.nku.edu/admissions/graduate/admission-process/additional-forms.html
  8. 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, http://www.nku.edu/admissions/graduate/admission-process/additional-forms.html.  
  9. Verification of your unencumbered RN license with expiration date in the state(s) you are licensed and practice.
  10. A criminal background check (state and federal) is required for admission to the program. Applicants are required to use PreCheck StudentCheck to purchase the background check. Costs associated with background check are the responsibility of the applicant. Follow the link to complete the background check on the Office of Graduate Education website, http://www.nku.edu/admissions/graduate/admission-process/additional-forms.html

Courses transferred into Northern Kentucky University may or may not be accepted for board certification requirements with ANCC or AANP.   Faculty review transfer credit courses as outlined by the ANCC and AANP guidelines.  ANCC and AANP determine eligibility of course work for board certification and this is not determined by Northern Kentucky University. Courses accepted by Northern Kentucky University for transfer credit from another University are not a guarantee to be accepted by ANCC or AANP. 

MSN Concentrations

To ensure a quality learning experience and maximize the likelihood of success on the certification exam, students should take no more than two didactic classes or one didactic and one clinical per seven-week session. Students should direct any questions to their academic advisor.

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 School of Nursing with courses from the Department of Psychological Sciences to prepare nurses for leadership at the executive level of healthcare operations.

Total Nurse Executive Leader Credit Hours: 33

Nurse Practitioner Concentrations

The curriculum focuses 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 a care provider, educator, counselor, 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 Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Credit Hours: 46

Total Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Credit Hours: 46

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