Master's Degree in Nursing Leadership & Management Programs

Students wishing to advance their career and take on leadership positions in healthcare may pursue a master's degree in nursing leadership and management. Explore this degree program, typical coursework and admissions standards.

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Typically offered as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, nursing leadership and management programs are usually available with Registered Nurse (RN) to MSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to MSN tracks. These degree programs can also be found in on-campus, online and hybrid formats. Find out more about MSN programs in nursing leadership and management here.

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Information for Master's Degree in Nursing Leadership & Management Programs

Master's degree programs in nursing leadership and management can be completed in as little as 14 months and, no matter the format, usually include some field experience for hands-on learning and may culminate in a capstone course/practicum. Although some courses may vary by program or track, below are some of the more common courses for these programs.

Nursing Leadership

As the name implies, courses in nursing leadership are designed to equip nurses with the necessary leadership skills to work in leadership and management roles within the healthcare system. Students examine evidence-based leadership skills that aim to produce high-quality patient care and services. Specific topics in these courses may include team-building techniques, conflict resolution, motivation, strategic planning and roles and responsibilities.

Healthcare Economics and Finance

Students in these programs usually take a course that explores the concepts of U.S. healthcare economics and the different business and financial practices that impact healthcare organizations. Students learn how to develop budgets, manage resources and make decisions based on providing cost-effective quality care. These courses also examine how current or new regulations impact the healthcare environment.

Strategic Leadership/Planning

Courses in strategic leadership and planning aim to teach students how to incorporate strategic organizational goals into their work. Students may also examine how strategic planning changes healthcare systems and the different methods for strategic leadership. These courses often include case studies to allow students to apply the concepts they are learning.

Evidence-Based Practice

Most programs include a course on evidence-based practice to ensure that nursing students are providing safe, high-quality and cost-effective patient care. Students examine research in the field to learn how to evaluate results and methods, as well as discuss different issues with healthcare research. These courses may include online activities to help students evaluate research and make decisions on what research to use to improve practices.

Healthcare Technology

Although these courses go by many names, most programs require a course that exposes students to current technology in the field and allows them to work with information systems. Students learn about issues and methods for information management and how technology plays a role in evidence-based practice and efficient care. Some of these courses may require team projects to explore how information technology can enhance evidence-based practice.

Common Entrance Requirements

Most MSN Nursing Leadership and Management degree programs require applicants to hold an RN license and BSN to MSN tracks also require applicants to hold a BSN. Some degree programs may also require a minimum GPA and/or submission to a background check. It is fairly common for these programs to require students to be currently working as an RN when applying and/or pursuing the degree. Most applications require students to submit their official transcripts and a current resume and some may also request letters of recommendation and/or a personal statement.

Master's degree programs in nursing leadership and management focus on the administrative, managerial and leadership skills needed to advance students' career and provide quality patient care. These programs require students to be RNs and are available in on-campus and online formats.

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