This program builds on clinical nursing experience to develop nurse leaders in education with heightened competencies in delivering student-centered education that is comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate with an emphasis on nursing education in clinical and academic systems. Program content blends concepts of nursing education with patient-centered care, evidence-based practice improvement, systems management, leadership, healthcare technology, quality and safety, and nursing practices focusing on health promotion and healing. The graduate will be prepared to provide leadership in nursing education in a variety of practice environments and to influence the delivery of complex healthcare to patients across the trajectory of illness to achieve optimal health outcomes. This program provides knowledge and skills development and experiences in leadership in nursing education. It is designed to prepare nurse educators for roles in nursing staff development and academia.
- Design and lead innovative student-centered education in a variety of practice settings.
- Collaborate with interprofessional teams to deliver evidence-based quality nursing education.
- Evaluate and apply integrative evidence-based healing strategies across the health –illness trajectory.
- Incorporate innovative healthcare technology to deliver safe and effective student –centered education.
- Coordinate nursing education to improve patient outcomes across the healthcare continuum.
- Apply theory and evidence-based knowledge to design, coordinate, and evaluate nursing education in patient care and academic systems.
BSN Track Program Length
2 Courses per Semester*
ADN Track Program Length
2 Courses per Semester*
Fully online coursework with direct clinical practicum (90 hours)
*The time needed to complete the program will vary depending on which track you're on and how many classes you choose to take at one time.
**All courses span 7 weeks except for the Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion course which is the culminating experience for the program and is a full semester in duration.
- Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
- Registered Nurse (RN) Licensure in active and good standing throughout the duration of the program
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
- Registered Nurse (RN) Licensure in active and good standing throughout the duration of the program
- Current CV/Resume
Nursing Education Curriculum
The Nursing Education curricular pathway of the online Master of Science in Nursing program is made up of 7-week classes. For the ADN track, you'll complete 11 courses. If you're on the BSN track, you'll complete 8 courses. Both tracks have a 16-week capstone project at the end of the program.
|Course||Title||Units||ADN Track||BSN Track|
|NURS 520||Foundations of Systems Leadership
Using a systems perspective, you will explore basic concepts related to the health care system, professional knowledge, and quality and safety. **Not required for BSN to MS track
|NURS 521||Evidence-Based Practice Improvement
You will analyze and apply evidence for selected areas of clinical practice to facilitate optimal patient outcomes and use evidence to develop, validate and endorse strategies for system-wide practice improvements.
|NURS 540||Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
At the individual and interpersonal level of care, you will explore the concepts of health promotion and risk reduction and examine evidence-based strategies that acknowledge patient-centered values and beliefs optimizing health/wellness.
|NURS 541||Population Health
For vulnerable (including cross-cultural) populations and communities, you will apply concepts related to the assessments, surveillance and interventions for risk reduction, disease prevention and health promotion. **Not required for BSN to MS track
|NURS 641||Leadership for Patient-Centered Care
You will explore the principles of shared leadership, team dynamics and interprofessional practice as the foundation of patient-centered care with emphasis on mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution, collaboration and consultation.**Not required for BSN to MS track
|NURS 654||Quality and Safety Management
You will examine concepts related to the quality and safety improvement process and management strategies that ensure patient safety and quality outcomes, including continuous quality improvement processes and program planning, implementation and evaluation.
|NURS 655||Healthcare Finance, Policy & Technology for Nurse Leaders
You will apply concepts of finance, policy, regulation, and technology to develop innovative care programs and process improvement strategies across a variety of healthcare settings.
|NURS 656||The Nurse Educator Role
You will explore current research, other scholarly evidence, and various theoretical perspectives of teaching and learning that form a foundation for the role of a nurse educator.
|NURS 657||Outcome-focused Program Design
You will evaluate and apply current research and evidence on course planning with a focus on educational strategies and learning activities that facilitate student learning and appropriate methods of evaluation in a variety of settings.
|NURS 658||Evaluation Strategies in Nursing Education
You will explore current research and other scholarly evidence, related to evaluation and practical application of strategies and apply strategies of measurement and assessment in identifying practice gaps and learning needs, developing exams, interpreting exam results, assessing clinical performance/competency, and evaluating written assignments.
|NURS 660A||Foundations of Master's Nursing Practice: Pathophysiology, Therapeutics, and Assessment
You will integrate graduate level knowledge in pathophysiology, assessment, pharmacology, and integrative interventions into focused delivery of population-based clinical care projects.
|NURS 660C||Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion – Nurse Educator
During your 16-week Nursing Education Immersion, you will engage in a clinical immersion experience to apply foundational nursing education knowledge. You will also work with a faculty mentor to develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based, comprehensive nursing education curriculum in a simulated or live environment.
STATISTICS REQUIREMENT: The University of Arizona’s MS in Nursing program requires that students have passed a 3-credit, college-level statistics class within the last 5 years. If you do not meet this requirement, you can still be admitted to the program and will have several options to complete it:
- Take a college-level statistics class at another regionally accredited institution before you start or during your first semester in the program (Minimum grade of C required)
- Take NURS 629 in your first semester at University of Arizona
- Attempt a proficiency exam and if completed with a 70% or better, have your statistics class requirement waived
Frequently Asked Questions
Earning your MS can be life-changing, but it's not a decision to make lightly. The program is as demanding as it is rewarding, and the time required is significant. Your MS is also a considerable financial investment, even when offset by financial aid.
Just as significant, however, are the benefits when you've earned your master's degree. For some, it's about leadership and the chance to shape health care at a higher, more strategic level. For others, it's the opportunity to earn an additional $15,000 or more a year.
One thing is true, however, for all our graduates. The investment of time and money happens over the course of 15 or 24 months. The benefits your investment gives back will last a lifetime.
- LEAD THE WAY
Today’s 3 million RNs in the US are the backbone of America’s health care. You have incredible impact on people’s lives through the care you provide. At the same time, RNs have limited opportunities to help shape the systems they work within, let alone the larger systems of care at a community, regional or even national level. An MS in Clinical Systems Leadership opens leadership doors that will empower you to help even more people. It can give you a seat at the table for decisions about care policies and practices and the business of improving health.
- REINVENT YOUR CAREER
Not all RNs want to advance into leadership. However, without a MS or doctoral degree, most nurses are already at a career ceiling. An MS empowers you to advance your career in any direction, opening choices unavailable to you now. Most nursing specializations require an advanced degree. Some health organizations give preference to applicants with higher education, even for standard RN positions. An MS also lets you choose to teach nursing and lead clinical classes, educating and mentoring those who are just starting the journey you’ve already made.
- SECURE YOUR FUTURE
As an RN, you know how physically challenging your job can be. Long and demanding shifts, not to mention the stress of working in life-or-death situations day in, day out. That intensely personal care is what drew you to nursing. It’s vital work you should always be proud of. It’s also hard on the body. Some RNs eventually experience their own health challenges, in part from the physical rigors of their work. If that’s you today, an MS opens up new ways to help people with new roles and responsibilities. An MS ensures that when you’re ready to transition to a different kind of nursing: your options will be wide open.
- LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE
What matters most to you? Providing for your family? World travel? A nice home? Nurses with an MS earn $86,000 per year on average, with top salaries in the range of $100,000 per year – significantly more than the $64,000 average income for nurses without an MS. Do you struggle with work-life balance? Most MS jobs have regular hours, more in sync with the schedules of friends and family. Earning more could also mean choosing to work less, giving you more time for loved ones or other pursuits. Do you value independence and respect in your work? An MS is a professional signal of greater expertise as well as your commitment to making a difference. Last but not least, don’t underestimate how good you’ll feel as you earn your MS. Few things compare to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve climbed to a new level of knowledge, raised the bar in personal accomplishment and pushed yourself to give your very best.
- Clinical Care Coordinator
Works to ensure the best possible care by coordinating timely, patient-centered services across a range of health care settings and contexts while also managing care costs and efficiencies.
- Clinical Systems Manager
Works to improve systems of care in collaboration with families and other care providers with special attention to evidence-based practices.
- Infection Control Manager
Much like a quality and safety coordinator, focused on containing and preventing disease in health systems through best-practice policies, education and careful monitoring of care.
- Nurse Administrator
Sometimes called a director of nurses or nurse executive, oversees daily care and spearheads new models of care in a variety of health systems; encompasses a wide range of opportunities and responsibilities, from strategic planning to budgeting and staffing.
- Nurse Educator
Works in classrooms, labs, research settings and clinical sites to nurture, teach and mentor nursing students or novice RNs as they begin their nursing journeys.
- Nurse Manager
Leads a nursing unit within a care setting, serving as the eyes and ears of the nursing unit and helping to voice questions, concerns, interests and recommendations to ensure positive outcomes for patients, families and staff.
- Nursing Informatics
Combines experience in health care and systems with special knowledge in information management and analytical sciences to provide meaningful data to care providers, people receiving care and their families.
- Patient Navigator
Working at the forefront of care in a role new to most health systems, helps people receiving care for cancer or other select conditions, along with their families, navigate the complexities of different care settings, insurance payment systems and support organizations.
- Quality and Safety Coordinator
Works to advance comprehensive health and safety in the workplace via quality assurance programs aligned with local, state and federal accrediting agencies with a focus not on people under care but on nurses and other staff.
You may be able to offset some costs with financial aid, but no matter what, your MS degree will be a significant investment. One thing to keep in mind is the amount of time in which you are likely to see a return on your investment. Jobs that typically or always require an MS pay significantly more than most RN positions – often an additional $15,000 or more per year. For this reason, nurses moving into an MS career can potentially recoup the cost of the degree within two to three years. See the Costs & Financial Aid page for more details.
The MS in Nursing is a rigorous educational undertaking. You'll need time for readings, assignments, collaborations with classmates, exams and more. A key advantage of the online MS in Nursing is that it requires zero time on the UA campus and classes are asynchronous, meaning you log on when you choose. That means you can do schoolwork in the evenings, early mornings, lunch breaks or split across these times and more – whenever and wherever you can focus on your learning.
The master's degree program in nursing at The University of Arizona College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
RN-MS Program Director
Cheryl Lacasse, PhD, RN, AOCNS
Clinical Professor and RN-MS Program Director