Master of Science in Nursing
College of Health Sciences and Education
Director of Master of Science in Nursing Program, Pamela Dwyer, DNP, CRNP
Jacklyn DelPrete, Assistant Professor of Nursing, ADN, BSN Pennsylvania State University; MSN Misericordia University
Pamela Dwyer, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN, MSN Misericordia University, DNP Wilkes University
Laura Lunger, Assistant Professor of Nursing, AAS Luzerne County Community College; BSN, MSN, Misericordia University
Brenda Hage, Professor of Nursing, BSN State University of New York at Albany; MSN College Misericordia, PhD Virginia Commonwealth University; DNP Chatham University
Annette Weiss, Associate Professor of Nursing, BSN The Pennsylvania State University, MSN University of Hartford; PhD Duquesne University
Catherine Zurawski, Assistant Professor of Nursing, ADN Luzerne County Community College; BSN, MSN Misericordia University; Post Graduate Drexel University
Consistent with the mission of the university and its goals for graduate education, the nursing faculty believes that master’s education in nursing builds on the skills of a baccalaureate nursing education. Master’s nursing education has as its primary focus the advanced practice clinical role. Advanced practice nurses are educated to practice independently and interdependently in the role of health care providers. The faculty believes that the transition to the role of advance practice nurse occurs throughout the entire master’s program and results in the preparation of a clinician who is able to provide a broad range of health care services that are directed toward the improvement of patient care outcomes in the primary care setting. Finally, faculty believes that master’s education in nursing provides the foundation for future doctoral study in nursing.
The nursing faculty purport that graduate education assists students to acquire higher-order critical thinking and decision making skills. Advanced practice nurses are prepared to analyze, synthesize, and utilize research evidence to provide high quality health care services, initiate change, and improve practice. As beginning clinicians, students must develop an understanding of health care policy, organization, and finance and use this knowledge to make cost-effective clinical decisions, to improve health care delivery, and to enhance outcomes of patient care. Master’s nursing education promotes an understanding of the principles, personal values, and beliefs that provide a framework for the decision making and consultation processes which influence the interventions and care delivered by clinicians. Professional role development provides students with a clear understanding of the nursing profession, advanced practice nursing roles, and the requirements for, and regulation of, these roles. Master’s nursing education exposes students to a broad range of nursing and related theories and facilitates the integration of appropriate theory in the development of comprehensive, coordinated and holistic approaches to care. Advanced practice nursing students understand the wide diversity of sub-cultural influences on human behavior including ethnic, racial, gender, age and class differences and demonstrate this understanding in the delivery of culturally sensitive, accessible care. Clinicians prepared in an advanced practice nursing program develop a strong theoretical foundation in health promotion, illness prevention, disease management, and maintenance of function for individuals, families, and communities across the lifespan. These clinicians generate and use expert teaching and coaching strategies to promote and preserve health and healthy lifestyles.
Advanced practice nursing education requires additional core skills and knowledge to further support the role of clinician. Expert clinicians conduct comprehensive health assessments and physical examinations, using increasingly sophisticated communication and observational skills. They apply knowledge of system-focused, physiologic and pathologic mechanisms of disease as a basis for physical examination, diagnostic reasoning, decision making, and are accountable for the services they provide. Knowledge of advanced pharmacology, including pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacokinetics of broad categories of pharmacologic agents, is essential to the clinician’s selection of appropriate disease management and treatment modalities. Finally, advanced practice nursing students must have the opportunity to master knowledge of health care problems and to apply knowledge and skills in extensive clinical practice.
The MSN program at Misericordia University is designed to assist graduates to:
- Demonstrate competence in advanced practice nursing core competencies and skills used to provide health promotion, illness prevention, and disease management services to diverse individuals, families, groups and/or communities.
- Critically and accurately assess, diagnose, and manage health and illness experiences using evidence-based advanced practice nursing care to improve patient outcomes.
- Articulate and interpret the advanced practice nursing role to policy-makers, consumers, and other health care providers.
- Work in collaborative and interdependent relationships, communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and assume accountability in the context of social, political, ethical, and legal considerations of health care.
- Critically evaluate and apply theories and research findings from nursing and related fields to provide high quality, cost-effective, culturally-sensitive advanced practice nursing care in a variety of settings.
- Demonstrate critical thinking, leadership, and ethical decision making skills in developing a framework for advanced practice.
Admission Criteria for MSN Program
Admission - Applicants are eligible for admission to the graduate nursing program if they have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or greater.
Policy for application to the MSN program for applicants with a GPA of less than 3.0 - The required minimum GPA for consideration for admission to the MSN program is a 3.0. However, applicants with a GPA between 2.85 an 2.99 may make themselves eligible for consideration for admission to the MSN program with successful completion of NSG 511 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology for Primary Care (3 credits-fall semester) and NSG 519 Concepts and Theories in Nursing Science (2 credits-spring semester) with a grade of B or better in each course. Each course may be taken only once and must be taken in the consecutive semesters the are offered over one academic year. Successful completion of these courses is not a guarantee of admission, but it will make the student eligible for inclusion in the applicant pool. Admission to the MSN program is a competitive process. Applicants with a GPA of less than 2.85 are not eligible to apply to the MSN program.
Applicants to the MSN program must submit the following documentation in addition to that required by the university:
- official transcripts demonstrating graduation from an NLN- or CCNE-accredited baccalaureate nursing program;
- a statement of the applicant’s professional goals for graduate education;
- a copy of the applicant’s current professional nursing license;
- transcript documentation of an undergraduate physical assessment course or equivalent
- evidence, an undergraduate statistics course; and an undergraduate nursing research course;
- two letters of recommendation (one letter must be from a current employer).
In addition to the information listed above, applicants to the post-master’s certificate program must submit:
- official transcripts demonstrating completion of a master’s degree in nursing; and,
- transcript or equivalent evidence of graduate level pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, physical examination, and advanced practice nursing role development courses.
Matriculating MSN students may transfer up to nine credits of graduate course work provided the courses were completed with a grade of “B” or better, and the credit was earned at an institution that is legally authorized to grant graduate degrees and is accredited by the NLN or CCNE. Decisions regarding transfer courses will be made by the Director of MSN Program following an individualized review of student transcripts and course syllabi. In order to be considered for transfer, courses may not be more than five years old.
Computer literacy is an expectation for all graduate nursing courses. E-mail accounts and Internet access are provided by the university.
The MSN curriculum consists of courses in three areas: the graduate nursing core, the advanced practice core, and the clinical and/or functional specialization.
The graduate nursing core courses provide support for clinical and functional role development and focus on such areas as research; policy, organization and financing of health care; ethics; theoretical foundations of nursing practice; and human diversity and social issues. The graduate nursing core culminates in a capstone course in which all candidates for the master of science degree in nursing demonstrate the ability to integrate theory, research, and clinical and/or functional practice. The advanced practice nursing core courses build on knowledge acquired from the graduate nursing core and provide students with foundational understanding of professional role development, advanced assessment, pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology.
Advanced practice clinical specialization courses reflect the changing trends in health care that require application of advanced clinical skills and development of collaborative roles. All clinical management courses provide for precepted clinical practice that concentrates on health restoration, health maintenance and health promotion. Clinical practice courses incorporate recommendations from ANA’s Standards and Scope of Nursing Practice; Healthy People 2020; AACN’s Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing 2011; and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies 2011. All graduate nursing students must have the following documents on file before beginning clinical experiences: current copy of professional license, CPR certification, health clearance, professional liability insurance, and FBI fingerprinting, Pennsylvania criminal record and child abuse check.
The curricular options currently offered by the nursing department include:
Family Nurse Practitioner: The Family Nurse Practitioner option prepares students to function as principal providers of primary health care to families and individuals across the life span. The focus of this 45-credit program of study is the primary care management of acute episodic and chronic health problems of individuals and families. Students complete the graduate nursing core, the advanced practice core, and clinical specialization courses along with a minimum of 630 hours of direct clinical practice under the supervision of qualified nurse practitioner and physician preceptors. Graduates are eligible to take national family nurse practitioner certification examinations offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Corporation and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
The Post-master’s Certificate Option:
Family Nurse Practitioner
The family nurse practitioner certificate option provides the opportunity for nurses who already have an earned master’s degree in nursing in another clinical specialization to complete requirements to qualify for certification as a family nurse practitioner. The certificate program consists of courses from the advanced practice nursing core, graduate core, and the clinical specialization area. Additional credits in pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and advanced health assessment/diagnostic reasoning may be required based on evaluation of previous university and professional experiences. A review of official transcripts will determine the student’s course of study. Post-master’s certificate program students must complete the requisite number of clinical hours necessary for licensure eligibility by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (PASBON).
All master’s level nursing options are available in a part-time format. Selected courses may be offered in an online or accelerated format. All MSN-FNP courses are scheduled for Thursdays.