What Is Unique About a Master of Science in Nursing in Leadership and Administration?

The healthcare landscape has changed immensely in recent years and will require flexible and forward-thinking leadership to keep pace. For nurses interested in pursuing these administrative roles, the Southern Utah University (SUU) online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Leadership and Administration program offers a unique combination of studies to ensure graduates can tackle the challenges of a modernized healthcare system striving to deliver affordable, equitable care.

What Are the Courses in an MSN in Leadership and Administration Program?

An MSN in Leadership and Administration merges MBA-level business coursework with timely studies in advanced nursing theories, bioethics and healthcare policy. Graduates develop the skills to manage day-to-day organizational operations and align personnel and leadership with a company’s key goals and mission.

For example, in SUU’s Business Foundations course, students dive into the fundamentals of accounting, marketing, finance and spreadsheets. The Managing People & Organizations course explores the ins and outs of organizational leadership, including conflicts and negotiations, building effective teams, motivating people and implementing meaningful change.

Equipped with a business foundation, students then transition to nursing administration courses. Courses like Integrated Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, and Physical Assessment focus on the major drivers of disease and disability and the proven, cost-conscious strategies nurse leaders can use to improve community health and patient experiences. Coursework emphasizes comprehensive health promotion and disease prevention using a health restoration model while considering the factors influencing patient health, from sociocultural to spiritual.

The course Health Policy for Nurse Leaders allows students to examine how organizational, state or federal policies impact care delivery and the influence special interest groups can have on legislation. Advocacy efforts by nurse leaders, such as those that foster health equity and improve the well-being of the nursing workforce, are also covered in-depth.

Ethics in Nursing Leadership explores how nurse leaders can create a positive, ethical workplace and safe forums for employees and patients to voice concerns. Students also investigate biomedical ethical principles and their role in achieving health equity that strengthens population health outcomes.

Additional courses in SUU’s MSN in Leadership and Administration online program focus on developing supplemental skills that leaders need, like interdisciplinary collaboration, emotional intelligence and information literacy. The curriculum includes discussions on using informatics and innovative strategies to drive organizational and population health change. A capstone course allows students to demonstrate their proficiency and refine their leadership skills across multiple healthcare settings.

What Jobs Can Graduates Do?

Graduates of SUU’s online MSN program develop the well-rounded skill set necessary to guide and shape today’s healthcare organizations and personnel. The thoughtfully curated course progression prepares students for high-level administrative roles in various healthcare settings, from chief nursing officer (CNO) jobs in Magnet hospitals to managerial positions in pharmaceutical companies. Other career opportunities include nursing supervisor, department manager and director of nursing.

Are Certification Exams Available for Nurse Leaders?

Certification often demonstrates a dedication to the field and is integral in gaining recognition for specialized abilities and achievements. SUU’s program prepares students for certification by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), further increasing professional qualifications and opportunities. Specifically, CNOs of Magnet-designated healthcare entities seeking certification must have a master’s degree.

AONL offers two certification options: the Nurse Manager and Leader certification and the Executive Nursing Practice certification. AONL outlines the core competencies required for each certification and role — namely, professionalism, communication, relationship management, business skills and healthcare knowledge. These competencies highlight the broad, multifaceted education today’s nursing leaders and administrators need to be effective.

Healthcare leadership represents a growing career opportunity for nurses excited to implement critical changes that improve the well-being of patients and employees alike. An MSN degree in leadership and administration employs a unique curriculum blending MBA-quality business courses with advanced nursing principles.

Learn more about SUU’s online MSN in Leadership and Administration program.

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