Feb 02, 2023  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, M.S.N.

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Amy Shay, MS, CNS, RN, MSN Graduate Program Director

Adrianne J. Lane, Ed.D., RN, CNE, Department Chair


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 Advanced Nursing Studies 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. For more information on distance education go to http://nkuonline.nku.edu.

Student Advising

Students, once admitted, are required to meet virtually with the assigned advisor for full program advising prior to beginning courses. This generally occurs close to the start of the first semester. Advising holds will be placed if the student has not had full program advising by the end of the first semester of graduate studies. 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, lockstep fashion. Please give consideration to managing work and family while completing a rigorous academic program.

Application Deadline

Admission to the MSN program is highly competitive. The application process is based on rolling admissions. Students who meet admission requirements will be admitted as space allows. Completed applications with all required accompanying materials are reviewed according to the priority deadlines listed on the College of Health Professions’ website:   http://healthprofessions.nku.edu/departments/advancednursing/programs/ms-nursing/admission.html.


MSN Program Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission to the MSN program, applicants will need:

  1. An application for graduate admission to Northern Kentucky University.
  2. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  3. A letter from your employer indicating a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours of RN practice with satisfactory performance evaluations. Please see form on the MSN website.
  4. An updated resumé which includes committee work, community service, additional languages spoken, leadership positions & professional publications and/or presentations.
  5. A letter of purpose. This is a 1-2 page statement specific to your chosen concentration explaining how you intend to use the degree, how it will apply to your career aspirations, and what specific skills you hope to gain in this program.
  6. Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work.
  7. Proof of current, unencumbered nursing licensure in the state where your practicum/clinical will be completed.
  8. In order for an application to evaluated, applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their BSN undergraduate studies.
  9. Two letters of recommendation; the recommendation form can be found on the MSN website. Suggested sources of letters of reference include supervisors, directors or faculty. At least one reference should come from an individual who has supervised your nursing practice. References from co-workers, friends or family are not appropriate.
  10. Successful completion of a college course in elementary statistics*

* If you have taken an undergraduate statistics course at another college/university you must verify with the Math Department at Northern Kentucky University to ensure that it will be accepted in place of our STA 205. If you are unsure, please use this link to check for course equivalence: http://onlineapps.nku.edu/teds#. If you do not see your course listed you may contact Suzanne Ritchie at ritchies@nku.edu to review the course you have taken and ask for approval.

♦ Indicates prerequisite.


MSN Concentrations

MSN students must successfully complete the core courses listed below before moving into specialty courses for the specific concentration. Required courses for each MSN concentration are listed below.

Nursing Education Concentration

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.

Nurse Executive Leadership Concentration

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

Nursing Informatics Concentration (41 credit hours)

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.

MSN Informatics students complete the MSN core courses and then the specialty courses below:

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.

Advanced Practice Core (Courses to be completed by all MSN and post-MSN NP students at NKU) (10 credit hours):

All NP students are required to participate in NRP 690 , a 1 credit hour On-Campus Clinical Residency. This is an intensive 3-4 day event that will occur on the Northern Kentucky University campus in Highland Heights, KY. The purpose of the On-Campus Residency is to learn hands-on skills, practice through simulation, meet your clinical faculty, and demonstrate your readiness to begin the clinical courses. The On-Campus Residency occurs during the summer. This is MANDATORY.  No exceptions.

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