5 Key Courses in a Master’s in Nursing Program

5 Essential Classes For Nursing Master's Degree

  • Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Health Systems Innovation
  • Leadership, Policy, and Advocacy
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Role of the Nurse Educator

There are many specialties and school paths for advanced nurses, but there are some important Master's in Nursing classes that do overlap regardless of specific degree track. Getting an advanced degree signifies that an individual is a leader in their field, so instructors need to ensure that graduates have a complete understanding of the nursing field and their individual responsibilities to their patients and communities. Some important MSN courses include the following.

Related Resource: 50 Best Graduate Nursing Schools in America

1. Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice

This course deals with both conducting and interpreting research, so it is valuable for all students, even those without a career interest in research. Students study the scientific method and standards involved in designing experiments and collecting data. They also have an opportunity to discuss related ethical issues. This is usually a required class for a Master's in Nursing degree because there are real-world applications for most research, and students learn how to analyze and apply results to clinical situations in their future careers.

2. Health Systems Innovation

As with every industry today, the nursing field is an increasingly focused on gaining efficiencies, especially as advances in technology continually change nursing careers. This course teaches students to identify areas in nursing practice, education, management, and research that need improvement and then address this need either by implementing existing technology or finding creative new solutions. There is also a focus on the total picture of a healthcare organization, including all of the departments that come together to provide patient care including physicians, administrative staff, environmental services, and support personnel. Students learn how these groups all connect to create a healthcare system.

3. Leadership, Policy, and Advocacy

By the very definition of nursing practice, serving as an advocate for their patients is at the core of the profession. This does not only mean attending to a patient's needs. In a broader way, nurses work to help enact policy changes at all levels of government to ensure every patient receives necessary care and is treated with dignity and respect. This is evidenced by the nurses and American Nursing Association (ANA) that are on the front lines of the healthcare debate in the United States as reported by Forbes. This class lays the groundwork for students to join in advocacy and policy discussions.

4. Advanced Health Assessment

This important class in a Master's in Nursing program is taken by most students and follows a track of anatomy, physiology, and pathology courses. In this class, students actually learn how to evaluate patients, make diagnoses, and formulate treatment plans. In most programs, this class is accompanied by clinical experiences where students put what they learn into practice.

5. Role of the Nurse Educator

Nursing students from different specialties often take this class at some point in their careers because this allows them to teach future nurses, either on a part-time or full-time basis. Students learn the methods and best practices that will make them effective teachers including how to plan lectures, methods to reach all learning styles, and the appropriate balance between guiding students and letting them be responsible for their own success.

Regardless of specific career path, all nurses are guided by the same principles and have the same overall responsibilities. The necessary courses for a Master's in Nursing degree give students the tools needed to be successful as leaders in their field.

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