Graduate Education: Am I really ready for that?

Published on Mar 27, 2015.
By Leonie Sutherland
MSN Program Director

Consider this: a school nurse conducted a district-wide assessment of the prevalence of obesity among adolescents. The nurse also examined the level of knowledge of high school students in regards to diet, fast food, and activity and exercise. Working with a team, they developed an interactive web site to help teens learn ways to incorporate healthy living into their daily lives.

This is how a master’s prepared nurse can address the health needs of a specific targeted population. Northwest Nazarene University’s Master of Science in Nursing enables you to learn the skills to make a difference in the lives of those in your nursing practice.

So what is NNU’s master’s program all about? We offer a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) with a focus on education and leadership. Right now, we are the only university in Idaho offering these specialties. Nurses graduating from our program are prepared to teach in health care organizations for patients and staff or in a variety of nursing programs. We believe masters prepared nurses are leaders, in formal or informal positions. As such, our leadership component provides a foundation for facilitating and leading change. In the era of healthcare reform, these skills can help nurses transform the environment where nursing takes place.

Where are our graduates practicing and in what roles?
  • Faculty in a variety of nursing programs
  • Clinical nurse educators in health systems
  • Missionary nurses
  • Executive Director of Patient Care Services
Graduate faculty work with students and assist them to develop their ideas specific to the student’s chosen problem or area of practice. We encourage students to be creative and use their passion to initiate changes to improve the health of those they care for.

We offer the program in a cohort model, meaning you move through the program as a group. This leads to the development of peer support and student academic relationships. Students comment that they appreciate the esprit de corps that exists within the cohort.

Our program is an accelerated full time online program and students enroll in 9 credits per semester. We offer each class in succession and classes run for 5 weeks. That means although the course completes quickly, the time spent studying and preparing assignments is significant. However, students complete the master’s program in two years.

So just how hard is graduate school? In graduate school you will encounter a different type of learning. There rarely are hard right or wrong answers. You and your colleagues will spend time exploring a variety of options to solve problems unique to your area of practice. You will come away with a myriad of skills enabling you to approach issues in new fresh ways. So yes, it is hard. Hard—but oh so rewarding!

Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it!

About the Department

The Department of Nursing at Northwest Nazarene University provides undergraduate, degree completion and graduate programs related to the professional field of nursing. We are nationally accredited and offer programs that can meet the needs of students in a wide variety of settings.