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Bachelor's and Certificate Admissions
As our health care system and the policies that govern it continue to evolve, the need for highly competent and forward-thinking leaders in nursing has never been greater. Norwich University’s Master of Science in Nursing program was created to meet that critical need.
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), our online master's in nursing program equips working nurses with the relevant knowledge, skills, and experience needed to assume leadership positions in nursing administration or education. Through a series of core courses, students develop a broad-based knowledge of health systems as well as essential skills in critical thinking, problem solving, research, evidence-based practice, communications, and management. Students then pursue one of two tracks in nursing administration or nursing education depending on their career goals. Courses in both tracks require students to complete projects based on their current work environments, giving them the opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills in real time and drive positive change within their organizations well before they graduate.
Our expert faculty members, all of whom hold doctoral degrees, work closely with students throughout the program. Small classes of 15 or fewer students and an emphasis on discussion-based learning encourage frequent student-faculty interactions, while a team of dedicated program staff provides students with additional support and guidance as needed.
A graduate degree from Norwich’s online nursing master's program helps prepare you for a range of leadership roles in nursing education or administration. Potential positions include nurse manager or educator, manager of clinical operations, project director, administrative consultant, health-policy specialist, and staff development consultant. Our graduates work for an array of health care-focused organizations that include public and private hospitals, government health agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. Learn more »
With so much to learn and do, it’s easy to lose track of how to get started. Don’t worry: Norwich works hard to make it easy for you. We can guide you through the application process, give you tips on how to get the most out of your Norwich experience, and assist you in getting the required materials for the Master of Science in Nursing program.
Norwich’s 36-credit Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program comprises six six-credit courses if you're in the nursing administrator track, each of which is approximately 11 weeks in length; if you're in the nursing educator track you will take five six-credit courses, and two three-credit courses. You may complete all coursework in as few as 18 months, and your graduation date will be 18 to 24 months from the time you enroll. Concentration curriculum will begin in the second half of the second semester. The program ends with a one-week residency and a graduation ceremony at Norwich University in June.
More information about program requirements is available in our course catalog.
This course will provide you with a foundation to perform an advanced role as a health systems administrator. The course supports the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) essentials for advanced nursing practice in nursing administration and includes a historical overview of health care systems, health care policy, the structure of health care delivery systems, health care financing, health promotion, disease prevention in health care, trans-cultural diversity, and related social issues. You will engage in a systems analysis project that will enable you to test some of the concepts covered in the course.
This course prepares you with the theoretical foundation to act in management-level nursing roles across a variety of nursing specialties and health care settings. You will be prepared to understand, evaluate, and utilize appropriate theories within your own practice. Theoretical constructs will include nursing and other relevant theories from the social, organizational, and behavioral sciences. Theories addressed include systems, change, nursing management, and leadership, as well as ethical principles in health care and cultural competence. Theoretical concepts are augmented by individual projects in which you will examine your practice settings using the above constructs.
This course prepares you to become proficient in the utilization of research, the critical evaluation of research, the identification of researchable problems within a variety of practice settings, and the application of research to clinical problems. The course incorporates both quantitative and qualitative research methods, application of statistical analysis of data, critical analysis of existing research, and application of theoretical constructs to frame a research proposal. Class assignments relate to evidence-based practice as you identify a researchable nursing problem within your own practice setting and develop a research proposal.
Leading health care organizations as a nurse administrator takes a deep understanding of the health care organization from the standpoint of finance, human resources, business management, and strategic planning. Our nurse administrator track is designed to cover those critical topics and more.
This course incorporates expanded content in systems theory; market forces impacting financial transactions in health care; quality control and improvement; leadership in health care organizations; characteristics and competencies associated with successful health care organizations; concepts that focus on governance, organizational behavior, organizational communication, and information management; and legal and ethical aspects of managing in a health care organization. Class work is complemented by a case study that incorporates an organization’s challenges specific to health care delivery within the contemporary financial and social environment.
This course focuses on the critical aspects of human resource management, including legal and ethical aspects of policy implementation. Aspects of hiring, disciplinary action, performance improvement, and workforce management are examined. The course addresses health care finance, incorporating unit-based budget preparation and management to organizational financial management. You will explore basic operations management and quality improvement issues from the unit-based perspective as well as national accreditation standards at both the service and organizational levels. Competition for market share is reviewed concurrent with marketing of health care services. You will utilize your workplace environment for the exploration, development, and application of course content.
This course is the capstone course in the Master of Science in Nursing program. The course consists of three integrated sections: discussions related to strategic planning, business planning, and business continuity planning; a self-directed practicum in which you will develop a business plan; and discussions related to the knowledge and skills of the nurse administrator. The course will enable you to apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout your graduate studies to your future career.
Nurse educators must have expertise in advanced clinical concepts, such as pharmacology and health assessment, curriculum and instruction, as well as measurement, assessment, and evaluation. Mastery of these topics is the hallmark of the Norwich nursing program.
This course builds upon basic pharmacology knowledge in order for the master’s-prepared nurse to apply knowledge of medications to the care of clients across the lifespan. The course emphasizes principles of pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics of the major classes of medications as well as principles of safe medication use.
This course builds upon basic health assessment to prepare you to obtain a complete and accurate health assessment (including history, physical examination, and commonly used screening tools) as a foundation for advanced nursing practice with clients across the lifespan. The course emphasizes critical analysis and synthesis of physical exam data, relevant health history data, critical risk appraisal of physical and mental status, assessment of nutrition, and anticipatory guidance relevant to health promotion and disease prevention. Faculty will guide your experiences to ensure the development of diagnostic reasoning and communication skills.
This course prepares you to apply theoretical concepts related to education, learning, and nursing to teaching in nursing. Topics include history of curriculum in nursing, theories of teaching and learning, instructional design theory and methods, technology use in education, learner diversity, and curriculum development. A precepted practicum experience will coincide with didactic coursework. You will choose a preceptor/mentor in an educational role who can facilitate role development and the implementation of your work. You will be required to critique an existing curriculum, develop a course or unit of study within an existing curriculum, and implement a portion of the course or program using technology. You will also be required to participate in weekly discussions in the online classroom. Your work will become part of your portfolio and be shared with peers in the electronic classroom.
This course prepares you to measure and assess learners in a variety of nursing contexts (e.g., testing, clinical evaluation, via simulation) as well as evaluate curriculum on the program level. Topics include foundations of educational measurement and evaluation, learner assessment, outcome development, the evaluation of critical thinking, and the context of nursing education. You will take part in a concurrent, precepted practicum in which you will engage in clinical education and evaluation of learners, as well as the development of assessment strategies. You will have an opportunity to reflect on the multiple roles of the nurse educator in practice. Prerequisites: completion of NR 510, 520, 530, 541,542, 551, or permission of the program director.
This three-credit course may be taken at any point during the latter half of the master’s program, either concurrently with one of the other courses or after completion of the six-course program. The course will satisfy the requirements of some states (e.g., Texas and California) that stipulate advanced coursework in pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment for nurse educators. This course focuses on the pathophysiology, assessment, and evidence-based interventions of select acute and chronic conditions across the lifespan and expand on undergraduate-level knowledge of disease entities commonly found in the patient populations cared for by students.
The final academic requirement for the nursing program is a week-long residency at the beautiful and historic Norwich University campus in Vermont. Students have the opportunity to meet with fellow students, faculty, and program staff in both formal classroom and informal settings. Norwich covers the cost of all meals and accommodation on campus. Academic recognition ceremonies and commencement cap off the week, and family and friends are encouraged to attend.
Janice F. Hansen is the program director for the Master of Science in Nursing program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York and her MA in Education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction from Castleton State College in Castleton, Vermont. She continued her studies and earned a MSN with a specialty in medical and surgical nursing from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. Hansen has an impressive background as an educator, practitioner, and administrator. For more than 13 years, she has held numerous positions at Norwich University both in the undergraduate nursing program and in the online Master of Science in Nursing program. In the education realm, she has held faculty positions in nursing programs throughout New England. As an administrator she has served as the director of education, as a nurse manager, and director of a clinical service in area medical centers. As a practitioner, she also currently serves as the manager of community and occupational health services for the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse and Hospice.
Rija Ramahatra serves as the associate program director for the Master of Science in Nursing program at Norwich University. Also a Norwich alumnus, he received his BS in management in 2005 and completed his MBA with a focus in project management in 2007. He is currently enrolled in a pre-med program.
Carol Spaulding has been working at Norwich University for 11 years. Formerly an assistant director for the MBA program, she currently serves as both the senior student services advisor and the admissions advisor for the two online graduate certificate programs at Norwich. Carol is also the student services advisor for the Master of Science in Nursing program. She enjoys helping graduate students so they can have a great experience while in school. Carol has a BA in early childhood education and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from Norwich University. She has been married for 33 years and has two grown children.
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Extended hours available by appointment
In case you haven’t heard, health care is in the midst of transformation; therefore, so is nursing. While our roots of compassion and caring and our core value of delivering patient-centered care remain strong, we now face exciting opportunities to advance the health of our nation as advanced practice nurses, executive health care leaders, and drivers of innovative technology implementation. These "big three" offer us the opportunity to demonstrate our contribution to health care reform, to respond to the "call to action" in the IOM report The Future of Nursing (2010) and to articulate the unique and valuable role of nursing in health care delivery using new technologies to support patient care across all settings. I would like to briefly explore these three opportunities:
We have faced primary care provider shortages in Vermont and many other regions across the country for the past 10 years. We have good evidence that APRNs provide care comparable to that delivered by primary care physicians - both in terms of quality and efficiency. During 2012, the statute for APRNs practicing in Vermont was amended to allow for a “transition to practice” model where APRNs will function as independent practitioners within the state of Vermont once they have met initial practice hour requirements. This presents a wonderful opportunity for nurses to play a key role in keeping Vermonters healthy in their communities while functioning to the full extent of their license.
As we embark down the road toward health care reform Executive Nurse Leaders across all health care settings must be at the table with administrative and physician leaders to continue to advocate for our patients, to ensure that nursing's contributions are understood, and to articulate the key role of nursing in the future of health care. The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) recently published Nurse Executive competencies to assist us in improving our effectiveness at the executive table. Core competencies include communication and relationship building skills, knowledge of the health care environment, leadership skills, professionalism, and business skills. My motto: "If you’re not at the table, you might be on the menu."
Thankfully, health care has finally accepted that technology will help us do more and do it better. As an industry, we have resisted for a long time and are paying the price as we work quickly to implement electronic health records, interface numerous legacy systems, and try to determine the best way to "share" important clinical data across our disparate systems. Historically, nurses tended to veer away from technology thinking that they would not contribute in a meaningful way but it is now industry standard to ensure clinicians are involved in all aspects of technology implementations. Nursing Informatics is now one of the fastest areas of nursing specialty with a wide variety of roles available in developing, testing, implementing, and supporting new technologies in the health care arena.
While times ahead are uncertain, what is certain is the importance of nurses across the spectrum of care. I anticipate that we will find many more interesting and innovative ways for us to contribute to the health of our communities. The pursuit of advanced nursing education is an important step to ensure we have the nurse leaders we need to help us chart our course.
- Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN, CENP is the director of Clinical Practice & Innovation at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, VT. She is a guest lecturer at Norwich's annual Residency Conference and presents on the topics of progress and change in the nursing profession.
Goodell, Sarah, Catherine Dower, and Edward O'Neill, "Primary Care Health Workforce in the United States," Research Synthesis Report No. 22, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, July 2011.
Institute of Medicine, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," October 5, 2010.
Kaiser Family Foundation, "Improving Access to Adult Primary Care in Medicaid: Exploring the Potential Role of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants," March 2011.
Naylor, Mary D., and Ellen T. Kurtzman, "The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Reinventing Primary Care," Health Affairs 29, no. 5 (2010): 893-9.