Graduate specialties introduction
There are five broad areas of master’s-level graduate nursing preparation that are offered by the College of Nursing.
Nursing Science is specifically designed to prepare nurses to become nurse scientists and research managers. During this curriculum, the student concentrates on skills that will enable participation in projects that are designed to answer questions about health and illness that will have an influence on nursing and health care. It is designed to provide the bachelor’s graduate with higher-level skills in inquiry and evaluation of scientific research projects. This degree is intended to be most helpful to those nurses who intend to pursue a PhD research degree.
Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
The Clinical Nurse Leader is one-year full-time or two-year part-time specialty designed to prepare graduates to function as generalists as they provide and manage comprehensive care at the bedside in acute care facilities. These graduates focus on direct care of patients in complex situations, implementation of evidence-based practice innovations and evaluate patient outcomes, cohort risk and use the information to modify and improve care plans as necessary. These graduates are not intended to fill unit management roles.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
The CNS is educated to be an expert in diagnosis, treatment, remediation and alleviation of illnesses and to promote health within a specialty population such as, but not limited to, cardiac, endocrine and burn patients. The CNS provides highly specialized nursing care, serves as the clinical nursing expert for a unit or service line and also implements the role for clinical coordinator, case manager, staff and patient educator and participant in research projects. This advanced practice specialty generally functions in hospitals or continuing care facilities. At the College of Nursing, Clinical Nurse Specialists are prepared in both Psychiatric and in Adult specializations.
Students are prepared in both theoretical and evidence-based clinical knowledge that is essential for comprehensive primary care and specialty practice in a variety of settings. The College of Nursing offers specialization in Adult, Family, Neonatal, Pediatric, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health, Women’s Health and Nurse Midwifery . These nurses are licensed independent practitioners who are prepared to diagnose and manage acute episodic and long-term illnesses and emphasize health promotion, illness prevention and interprofessional collaboration. Nurse Practitioners are committed to seeking and sharing knowledge that enhances clinical outcomes, apply evidence-based practice and improves access and affordability of health care. As with other advanced practice nurses, Nurse Practitioners also are active in professional organizations and participate in the formulation and passage of health policies at all levels. The Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner specialties all qualify the graduate to take the appropriate national certification examination.
Nursing and Health System Management
Nurses in Nursing and Health Systems Management are prepared for executive management positions in both hospital health care systems and public health agencies. These students are prepared to analyze and implement change in policies and procedures that are designed to improve health care delivery to a variety of patient systems. Students analyze financial and system functions, develop and interpret policies, and prepare programs designed to integrate change within the systems. Health policy, human resources, information technology, legal and ethical issues in system management are also examined at the local, state and national level. Graduates of this specialty are eligible to take the certification in Nursing Administration, Advanced Practice or Public Health Nursing.
Each of these areas provides an extensive background for further education either at the PhD or the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) level. For further information and points of contact about each of the specialties, please refer to its web page link.
The above areas are the currently-approved graduate specializations for which applications to graduate study may be submitted. The College of Nursing is developing additional initiatives in master’s education—future updates will be posted here.
See Graduate Specialties Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
See Graduate Specialties Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner
See Graduate Specialties Adult Oncology CNS
See Graduate Specialties Clinical Nurse Leader
See Graduate Specialties Family Nurse Practitioner
See Graduate Specialties Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
See Graduate Specialties Nurse Midwifery
See Graduate Specialties Nursing and Health Systems Management
See Graduate Specialties Nursing Science
See Graduate Specialties Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
See Graduate Specialties Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
See Graduate Specialties Psychiatric Mental Health
See Graduate Specialties Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner