Master of Science in Nursing
College of Health Sciences and Education
Chair of Graduate Nursing, Melissa Weidner, MSN, CRNP
Jacklyn DelPrete, Assistant Professor of Nursing, ADN, BSN Pennsylvania State University; MSN Misericordia University
Darlene Kuchinski-Donnelly, Assistant Professor, BSN, MSN, and Post-Master’s Certificate Misericordia University; Ph.D. Widener University
Laura Lunger, Assistant Professor of Nursing, AAS Luzerne County Community College; BSN, MSN, Misericordia University
Melissa Weidner, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN Misericordia, MSN and Post Masters Certificate Thomas Jefferson University
Annette Weiss, Associate Professor of Nursing, BSN The Pennsylvania State University, MSN University of Hartford; PhD Duquesne University
Mission/Vision of the Nursing Department
In preparing Baccalaureate, Masters, and Doctoral prepared educated nurses, the Nursing Department of the College of Health Sciences and Education shares the mission of Misericordia University and embraces the values and attitudes of justice, mercy, service and hospitality. Specifically, the values and beliefs of nursing as a humanistic service continuing to embody the role of the professional nurse as a future leader. The nurse as a leader utilizes evidence-based decision making while adapting to change in a multicultural society. The professional nurse is envisioned as one who assumes an active and vital role as a member of the multidisciplinary health care team in the planning, provision, and evaluation of ethical, safe and humanistic care in a rapidly expanding health care technological system.
Consistent with the mission of the university and its goals for graduate education, the nursing faculty believes that the doctor of nursing practice education builds on the framework developed in the master’s education in nursing (MSN). Baccalaureate nursing education provides a beginning foundation for graduate level study.
The nursing faculty believes that a master’s nursing education has as its primary focus, the direct advanced practice clinical role. Advanced practice nurses are educated to practice independently and interdependently in the role of health care providers to their population foci. 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 services that are directed toward the improvement of patient outcomes. Finally, the graduate faculty believes that master’s education in nursing provides the foundation for future doctoral study in nursing. Doctor of nursing practice education prepares advanced practice clinicians with the skill set necessary to effectively lead and create change within health care systems and organizations.
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 process which influence the interventions and care delivered by clinicians and interprofessional team members. Professional role development provides students with a clear understanding of the nursing profession, advance 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 development of comprehensive, coordinated and holistic approaches to care. Advanced practice nursing students understand the wide diversity of cultural influences on human behavior including ethnic, racial, gender, and class differences and demonstrate this understanding in the delivery of culturally, sensitive, accessible care. Clinicians prepared in an advanced practice nursing programs develop a strong theoretical foundation in health promotion, illness prevention, disease management, and maintenance of function for individuals, families, and communities across the lifespan. As clinicians, the advanced practice nurses generate and use expert teaching and coaching strategies to promote and preserve health and healthy lifestyles.
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 in a variety of settings for diverse individuals, families, and communities (Concepts: Majority of health care needs, context of family).
- Critically and accurately assess, diagnose, and manage health problems in outpatient and inpatient settings, using integrated evidence-based advanced practice nursing care healthcare services in a variety of settings to improve outcomes for individuals, families and communities (Concept: Integration).
- Articulate and interpret the certified nurse practitioner role to policy-makers, third-party payers, consumers, and other health care providers (Concept: Clinical)..
- Work in collaborative and interprofessional relationships, communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and assume accountability in the context of social, political, and legal considerations of health care (Concept: Accountability).
- Critically evaluate and apply theories and research from nursing and related fields to provide high quality, cost-effective, culturally-sensitive, accessible advanced practice nursing care in a variety of health care settings (Concept: Accessibility).
- Demonstrate critical thinking, information management, leadership and ethical decision making in the care of individuals, families, and population in a variety of health care settings (Concepts: Majority of health care needs, context of family and lifespan).
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.
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 and solely used by administration, faculty, and staff when communicating with students.
English language proficiency - if English is not your first language, or if English is not the primary language spoken in your home, you must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The following are the minimum score requirements: Internet based TOEFL exam (iBT): The Internet based TOEFL exam has four subsections, with a grading scale for each section from 1 to 30 (30 being the highest score). Misericordia University will look closely at the score for each section rather than the total score. Applicants must attain the minimum scores for ALL sections in order to be considered for admission to the DNP program. The minimum scores for each section are as follows:
Students should indicate on the registration form that they wish their test results be sent directly to Misericordia University. The TOEFL code for Misericordia University is 2087
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/Individual Across the Lifespan: 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 50-credit Masters of Science 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. All students are required to attend two On Campus Intensives.
Graduates are eligible to take national family nurse practitioner certification examinations offered by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Adult-Gerontologic Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (Begins in Spring 2020 semester):
The Adult-Gerontologic Primary Care Nurse Practitioner option prepares students to function as principal providers of primary health care to adults and older adults. The focus of this 45-credit Masters of Science program of study is the primary care management of acute episodic and chronic health problems of adults and older adults. Students complete the graduate nursing core, the advanced practice core, and clinical specialization courses along with a minimum of 540 hours of direct clinical practice under the supervision of qualified nurse practitioner and physician preceptors. All students are required to attend two On Campus Intensives.
Graduates are eligible to take national Adult-Gerontologic Primary Care nurse practitioner certification examinations offered by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Post-Master’s Certificate Program (Begins in Spring 2020 semester):
Graduate nursing students with an earned advanced clinical master’s degree focus (CNM, CRNP, CNS, and CRNA) may earn the Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) in one of the following concentrations: Family/Individual Across the Lifespan or Adult-Gerontologic Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.
The program plan for the specific program of study reflects all previous transfer credits and the remaining courses needed to complete the MSN degree or Post- Master’s Certificate. Post-Master’s certificate Family/Individual Across the Lifespan students may be required to provide copies of course syllabi to facilitate the development of a Gap Analysis form used in the development of the students’ program plan. A copy of the student’s official program plan is retained in the student’s file in the nursing department.
All master’s level nursing options are available in a part-time format. Selected courses are offered in an online and may be in an accelerated format. All MSN-FNP courses are asynchronous with the exception of clinical courses unless otherwise specified in the course syllabus and the required two On Campus Intensives.
Graduate Program Progression and Retention
- MSN and DNP students must attain a GPA of 3.0 or better and maintain or exceed a 3.0 GPA for each semester of the graduate program. The initial grade calculation happens at the end of the first semester and every semester after that.
- Please see the university graduate catalog for specific information on progression and retention in graduate programs.
- Grade replacement is not permitted in MSN, PMC, BSN to DNP, or DNP programs.
- Any student receiving below a B- in more than two (2) courses (C+ or C in any combination) or a grade of F in any course will be dismissed from the MSN, PMC, BSN to DNP or DNP program. The student may never re-enter the graduate nursing program including entry into the post-master’s certificate programs. These policies supersede those in the university’s graduate catalog.
- Once accepted into a program, all students must maintain matriculation on a continuing basis until the student has completed all program requirements, unless otherwise approved by the Chair of the Graduate Nursing Department.
- Should a student fail to meet the terms of probation or meet the retention criteria after being placed on departmental probation, the student will automatically be dismissed from the Graduate Department of Nursing. Once dismissed from the program the student will not be able to apply for readmission to the Graduate Nursing Programs, including the post-master’s NP program.
- Additionally, any student who is found guilty of cheating in any form, will be automatically dismissed from the program with no option for return.
- Professional Behavior and Civility Dismissal
- Graduate Nursing Department faculty members endorse the American Nurses’ Association Code for Nurses (2015) and use this framework as a Student Code of Ethics (See Appendix Aof the Graduate Student Nurse Handbook).
- Serious infractions of the Student Code of Ethics will result in immediate dismissal from the graduate nursing program with no option for readmission.
- The MSN or DNP Director, along with the Graduate Nursing Chair will make a determination of the degree of seriousness of any infractions.
- Students dismissed for ethical violations cannot re-apply to the Graduate Nursing Department for any further program of study.
- Additional sanctions may be determined by the university as per the university catalog.
- Students will be contacted within 72 hours of the infraction to determine next steps.