Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

Program Philosophy

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.

Program Outcomes

The MSN program at Misericordia University is designed to assist graduates to:

  1. 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.
  2. Critically and accurately assess, diagnose, and manage health and illness experiences using evidence-based advanced practice nursing care to improve patient outcomes.
  3. Articulate and interpret the advanced practice nursing role to policy-makers, consumers, and other health care providers.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Demonstrate critical thinking, leadership, and ethical decision making skills in developing a framework for advanced practice.