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RN-to-MSN - Nurse Executive

Current registered nurses who aspire to leadership roles in the healthcare field could develop the necessary skills and knowledge through Walden University's RN-to-Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization in Nurse Executive program. Read more about this program here.

Official Program Name:

RN-to-Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Executive

School Offering Program:

Walden University

Degree Level:


Program Prerequisites:

Candidates for this MSN program should hold a current RN license and be interested in studying organizational behavior and management. A nursing associate's degree or hospital diploma is also needed for admission. Completion of a minimum number of credits in general education courses could also be required. All applicants to Walden University should have a high school diploma or equivalent; some programs may have additional requirements.

Program Description:

Walden University's online RN-to-MSN with a specialization in Nurse Executive program is designed to introduce students to leadership responsibilities in clinical and non-clinical settings in addition to teaching them about patient care, research, and nursing trends. Specialization classes are likely to address administrative functions in nursing, budgeting processes in healthcare delivery, HR management roles, and the management of healthcare quality. A required capstone within the specialization leads students to complete a project in a healthcare setting. In core courses, students can expect to review topics in patient care quality and safety, health promotion, disease control and prevention, and nurse leader competencies, such as team building, collaboration, communication, and change management.

Learning Format:


Program Length:

79-89 credits.

Financial Aid Available:

Eligible students could be able to receive financial aid in the forms of grants, loans, and scholarships. Contact Walden University's financial aid office for more information.

Tuition, Financial Aid & Start Dates

Since every student is different, there isn't a "one size fits all" for school information. Start dates and tuition often vary between selected programs, and financial aid opportunities are unique to each student's circumstances. Complete the form to the right to get the most up-to-date and accurate information based on your selected program and circumstances.

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Required Courses for the RN-to-Master of Science in Nursing with a Specialization in Nurse Executive:

Students enrolled in the nurse executive specialization of the MSN program must complete a total of 29 credits in foundation courses, 20 credits in core courses, and 30 credits in the area of specialization. Students can also choose one of two 10-credit sub-specializations. Degree program and course requirements are subject to change. Contact Walden University to confirm the most accurate information before enrolling in a program.

Foundation Courses (29 credits)

  • Issues and Trends in Nursing
  • Foundations of Nursing Research
  • Topics in Clinical Nursing
  • Role of the Nurse Leader in Population Health
  • Leadership Competencies in Nursing and Healthcare
  • Transition to Graduate Study for Nursing

Core Courses (20 credits)

  • Policy and Advocacy for Improving Population Health
  • Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Technology
  • Essentials of Evidence-Based Practice
  • Interprofessional Organizational and Systems Leadership

Specialization Courses: Nurse Executive (30 credits)

  • Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare
  • Finance and Economics in Healthcare Delivery
  • Managing Human Resources
  • Healthcare Systems and Quality Outcomes
  • Strategic Planning in Healthcare Organizations
  • Capstone Synthesis Practicum

Optional Sub-Specialization: Health Policy (10 credits)

  • Introduction to Healthcare Policy
  • Current Issues in Health Policy

Optional Sub-Specialization: Risk Management (10 credits)

  • Healthcare Quality Assurance and Risk Management in Healthcare Organizations
  • Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance

Post-Graduation Opportunities

Furthering Your Education:

Once they have earned this MSN degree, graduates who are interested in postsecondary academic careers might pursue a doctorate in nursing. A PhD would typically be necessary for those who intend to become nursing professors or obtain administrative positions in the nursing department of a college or university. A Doctor of Nursing Practice could also be used to pursue executive positions in healthcare settings.

Career Paths:

Upon completion of the RN-to-MSN - Nurse Executive program, graduates might have built the administrative skills and understanding of leadership practices needed to apply for managerial positions in the healthcare field. They might work in hospitals, clinics, group physician offices, community health centers, and surgical centers or in non-clinical environments, such as nonprofit healthcare organizations or managed care companies.

Career options for graduates could include:

  • Nurse administrator
  • Chief nursing officer
  • Nursing policy manager
  • Health policy risk manager

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