Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
Student performing evaluation on patient.



Nursing, Master of Science

Nursing

The Strategic Systems Leadership Emphasis is available as a traditional online program in partnership with OpusVi.

Beginning fall 2024, The Leadership, Quality, and Patient Safety Emphasis will no longer be offered.

Our graduate program prepares nurses to work at advanced levels of practice in rural areas and health environments. We offer an MS in Nursing in two emphases: the Leadership, Quality, and Patient Safety, and the Strategic Systems Leadership.

The Strategic Systems Leadership Emphasis is offered in partnership with OpusVi, the leading healthcare workforce development company. Students can benefit from OpusVi’s expertise in instructional design in the form of highly applicable, engaging learning experiences and NAU’s expertise in advanced nursing education that focuses on the student and encourages knowledge retention.

The Strategic Systems Leadership Emphasis prepares nurses to become managers, supervisors, and administrators with the skills required to effectively lead specialty units, departments, and organizations in the healthcare industry. Our healthcare industry partners have emphasized academic education in fiscal, economic, ethical decision-making, and population-centered point-of-care coordination as areas of need.

The Strategic Systems Leadership emphasis is for students who do not wish to pursue an Advanced Practice Nursing clinical degree (Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, etc.) post-graduation. This emphasis does not contain the three required courses for APRN clinical degrees.

This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion30
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Emphasis Required

An emphasis is required for this degree.

Fieldwork Experience/InternshipRequired
Some online/blended courseworkRequired
Progression Plan LinkView Program of Study

Purpose Statement

The philosophy of the School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University is based on an ethic of caring that embraces students, faculty and staff, the university community, and the global community within which we live and work. We also believe that caring is a conscious intentional discipline that is part of nursing´s unique body of knowledge and is practiced in interdisciplinary contexts. Caring includes the creation and nurturing of an environment that recognizes that students, staff, and faculty have unique ways of viewing the world. This philosophy promotes excellence for nursing education and practice in an environment of constant change and emerging healthcare trends.

The faculty believes the transition to the role of competent professional nurse is a major developmental achievement. We believe that nursing is an art and science that is an integral component of healthcare. Applying the discipline of nursing to practice depends on a foundation of natural and human sciences, humanities and arts, the application of research, and the diverse backgrounds of learners. Societal influences in the evolving healthcare system challenge all involved in nursing education.

Education is a dynamic, lifelong collaborative process by which an individual pursues life goals, broadens human potential, develops thinking, and clarifies values. The faculty believes that learning is the intentional acquisition, application, and integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Learning is shaped by the environment and developmental level of the learner and is ultimately the responsibility of the learner. Faculty plan, guide, and facilitate learning while supporting the learning needs of a diverse community of students. We believe that learning-centered experiences with rigorous expectations and actively engaged students result in higher-level thinkers and graduates prepared for real world practice. We value incorporating rural and global healthcare into a variety of educational experiences. Thus, education not only expands the thinking of the learner, but increases opportunities for application.

The faculty has developed a philosophy that values diverse persons, environment, health, nursing, and their interrelatedness. The following metaparadigm concepts guide the implementation of the organizing framework for the curriculum.

Strategic Systems Leadership Emphasis
This emphasis prepares nurses to become managers, supervisors, and administrators with the skills required to effectively lead specialty units, departments, and organizations in the healthcare industry. Our healthcare industry partners have emphasized academic education in fiscal, economic, ethical decision-making, and population-centered point-of-care coordination as areas of need.
 

Student Learning Outcomes
Outcomes align with Standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and competencies from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL).

Overall Nursing Outcomes

  • Apply effective respectful communication among diverse interdisciplinary groups to promote improved outcomes among diverse population and underserved groups.
  • Synthesize broad ecological, global, and social determinates of health; principles of genetics and genomics; and epidemiological data to design and deliver evidence based, culturally relevant, clinical prevention, interventions, and strategies.
  • Apply theories, regulatory, policies, and evidence-based knowledge in leading, as appropriate, interprofessional healthcare teams in the design, coordination, and evaluation of the delivery of care.
  • Integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles, and evidence-based practices into healthcare practice to promote an inclusive environment and empower DEI leaders.
  • Integrate evidence-based practice and information from research for use in person-centered and population health coordination of care as a system leader.
Strategic Systems Leadership Emphasis
Clinical Practice and Prevention
  • Evaluate how healthcare financing, budgeting, value-based care, and workforce incentive models contribute to effective nursing and service line performance improvement.
  • Promote diversity (and divergent thinking) as a mechanism that will drive innovative idea sharing and problem-solving within population health management and clinical practice.
Communication:
  • Apply effective respectful communication among diverse interdisciplinary groups to promote improved outcomes among diverse population and underserved groups.
  • Examine how to create cross-continuum collaboration that encourages frank and open discussion around ethical challenges and problem-solving.
  • Differentiate effective and ineffective teamwork and communication.
Critical Reasoning:
  • Perform rigorous critique of evidence derived from databases to generate meaningful evidence for nursing practice.
  • Develop an understanding of how healthcare delivery systems are organized and financed (and how this affects patient care) and identify the economic, legal, and political factors that influence healthcare.
  • Examine and create the operational objectives, goals, and specific strategies required to achieve the strategic system outcomes.
Leadership and Professionalism:
  • Design and lead a quality improvement intervention project using evidence-based best practices targeting an identified real or potential patient safety, risk, adverse outcome, ineffective communication, inequity, or compliance concern.
  • Synthesize knowledge of patient safety, quality improvement, DEI, ethical behavior, finance, and crisis management as a systems leader in an organizational strategic performance improvement project.
  • Develop an understanding of how healthcare delivery systems are organized and financed (and how this affects patient care) and identify the economic, legal, and political factors that influence healthcare.
  • Implement evidence-based plans based on trend analysis and quantify the impact on quality and safety from a leadership perspective.
  • Differentiate ethical principles and corporate compliance standards.
  • Examine, resolve, and learn from ethical dilemmas.
  • Direct quality improvement methods to promote culturally responsive, safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care.
  • Implement a strategic system thinking approach in healthcare leadership practice.
Global and Population Health:
  • Analyze healthcare system transformation to address health equity and social justice, thus reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations.
  • Synthesize evidence for practice to determine appropriate application of interventions across diverse populations.
  • Prioritize the social, cultural, and global factors that affect health in designed and delivering care across multiple contexts.
  • Incorporate population data to identify cultural clusters within communities and engage patients and families in assessing needs, defining, and implementing solutions, and evaluating outcomes.

Graduate Admission Information
  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (“A” = 4.0), or the equivalent.


    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program or an associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited program with a bachelor’s degree in another field.
    • 3.0 GPA in all nursing coursework
    • Current RN license in good standing to practice as a registered nurse in Arizona (or your state of residency), or eligibility to obtain an Arizona license, or meet the Arizona Board of Nursing regulations regarding multistate licensure.
    • Prerequisites (completed prior to enrolling in the program)
      • Completion of an undergraduate introduction to statistics course from a college or university with a grade of “C” or better, or a Pass. 
      • Another option is completion of a graduate course in statistics, passed with a “B” grade or higher, and completed prior to enrollment in NUR 530
      • Completion of undergraduate courses in nursing research (didactic) and public health nursing (didactic and clinical) with grades of “B” or better.
    • Responses to specific essay questions
Master’s Requirements
  • This Master’s degree requires 30 units distributed as follows:

    • Core Coursework: 12 units
    • Emphasis Coursework: 18 units


    Take the following 30 units:

  • Emphasis Requirement – Select one (18 units)

    • New Emphasis Coming Soon
  • Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

  • If you have completed the Strategic Systems Leadership, Graduate Certificate prior to enrolling in this plan, the certificate coursework may be applied to this plan.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Program Fee Information
  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $60 per credit hour has been approved for this program.