Graduate Program in Nursing

Department website: https://www.vanguard.edu/academics/academic-programs/graduate/nursing

Mission: The mission of the Graduate Program in Nursing is equipping nurse leaders and educators for a life of leadership and service by providing a challenging program of study, guided professional development, and integrated faith-based learning within a dynamic and supportive learning environment.

Master of Science in Nursing 

New Program - Nurse Educator RN to MSN Program

A RN to MSN option, with a clinical focus on the Nurse Educator role, is being planned and may be available in Fall 2021. The first year of the program focuses on the completion of BSN courses; year two and three are focused on MSN coursework including a capstone project. An MSN will be awarded upon successful completion of the program. Please contact Admissions if you are interested in applying to the program. You may apply online OR email spsadmissions@vanguard.edu OR call us at 714.668.6130 to speak to schedule an appointment to take the next step!

Educational Leadership

MSN Description

The purpose of the Master of Science in Nursing Degree is to offer a dual track program for the bachelor’s prepared registered nurse.  The program prepares the student for the role of both Nurse Educator and Nurse Leader.  Graduates are equipped to expertly teach the patient, family, nurse, and community regarding health, as well as perform in academic roles.  Graduates are also equipped to assume leadership roles in healthcare management, program development, and quality improvement processes.  Students complete a quantitative or qualitative research thesis project that addresses the healthcare related needs of a select population or needs related to professional nursing practice.  All courses are offered in an online or hybrid format except for practicum courses. The Program consists of 42-45 units that can be completed in a minimum of six semesters.

Program Goals

  1. Demonstrate advanced performance in critical thinking and clinical reasoning in the role of the nurse leader and educator through a faith-based nursing education.
  2. Promote character development and spirituality through the integration of truth, virtue and service.
  3. Develop professionalism as a patient advocate, nurse educator, and leader.
  4. Synthesize evidence-based practice to promote optimal outcomes in select groups and populations.
  5. Advocate for policy changes that enhance the care of diverse patients in complex healthcare systems.
  6. Evaluate the use of technologies, as a nurse leader and educator, to improve and enhance healthcare outcomes.

Admissions to the Graduate Program for Nursing

Applications and information about graduate program admission may be obtained from the Graduate and Nursing Admissions Office:

When submitting an application, a non-refundable $45.00 application fee is required. Once all supporting information has been received and the application is complete, the full application will be reviewed. Finalists may be invited for an onsite or telephone interview. All applicants are evaluated without regard to race, gender, age, political affiliation, national origin or disabling conditions.

The completed application form, along with all supporting documents, should be submitted to the Graduate and Nursing Admissions Office.

Please contact Graduate and Nursing Studies Admissions directly or refer to the website for specifics regarding application deadlines and acceptance notification for both Fall and Spring admissions.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Advocate for health policy changes that enhance population health and promote professional nursing practice.
  2. Utilize emerging technologies to provide credible health information to clients, nurses, and students.
  3. Perform assessments focusing on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of culturally diverse individuals.
  4. Develop curriculum/teaching plan.
  5. Support legal and ethical guidelines in all aspects of nursing practice.
  6. Develop a thesis project using research, critical thinking, and evidence-based practice principles.
  7. Prepare to assume a senior leadership/management position and/or the role of educator in a health care agency or college setting.
  8. Integrate faith and lifelong learning in personal and professional life.

Major: 

Certificate: 

Application Information

Applicants for the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) certificate option must have a completed master’s degree in nursing. All other application and admission requirements and program policies are the same as indicated for the MSN program.

NOTE: Courses listed 


Clinical Nurse Specialist (Post-Graduate Certificate)

CNSG-613  Advanced Health Assessment  2-3 Credits  

Focuses on the adult population spanning from young to older adults. Designed to offer an advanced review of obtaining a complete health history and the physical assessment competencies required for this patient population. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between physical assessment and health behaviors in conjunction with epidemiological, cultural, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of clients. Upon this foundation, the student will develop the necessary skills to assess and identify client problems and formulate appropriate and comprehensive plans of care that promote better health and disease prevention. A 3-unit course option is available for the student who plans to pursue a post-master's advanced practice role.

CNSG-618  Advanced Concepts in Pathophysiology  2-3 Credits  

Discusses advanced principles of physiology and pathophysiology that are applicable across the lifespan. In-depth examination of pathophysiologic mechanisms that are responsible for human illness and disease are utilized as the framework for discussing common complex health problems encountered within major body systems. Alterations are examined beginning at the cellular level with the analysis of human responses to disease processes. Integrates discussion of assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based management utilized in treatment of these health problems. A 3-unit course option is available for the student who plans to pursue a post-master's advanced practice role.

CNSG-622  Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology  2-3 Credits  

Prepares nurses for expert clinical practice using advanced theoretical and empirical knowledge of pharmacology directly applicable to advanced practice nursing. Principles of altered pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics are discussed relative to age, race, ethnicity, and genetics/genomics. Content will provide the advanced practice nurse with the necessary competencies to work with patients, healthcare professionals, and communities of interest in providing care that is safe, timely, and evidence-based. A 3-unit course option is available for the student who plans to pursue a post-master's advanced practice role.

CNSG-624  Preparation for the CNS Role as Leader, Educator, and Clinician  2 Credits  

This course introduces the student to a more comprehensive facet of roles assumed by the CNS. The content will include methods of educating patients and staff; methods of improving healthcare through quality improvement; management of employees; improvements in care via role modeling and staff coaching; and role of consultant to improve patient safety.

CNSG-627  Clinical Practicum I:expert Practice/Edu And Education  4 Credits  

There are five (5) required areas of competency that must be addressed for the CNS. These areas will be stressed in the Practica. They are: Expert clinical practice, education, research, consultation, and clinical leadership. The emphasis is on providing opportunities for the student to expand on existing nursing professional growth in order to promote the health and well-being of an identified aggregate. This course will include the Expert Clinical Practice and Education portion of the CA BRN requirements.*

CNSG-632  Clinical Practicum II: Research Competency  4 Credits  

There are five (5) required areas of competency that must be successfully completed for the CNS certificate. These areas will be stressed in the Practica. They are: Expert clinical practice, education, research, consultation, and clinical leadership. The emphasis is on providing opportunities for the student to expand on existing nursing professional growth in order to promote the health and well-being of an identified aggregate. This course will include the Research Competency role for the CNS.*

CNSG-637  Clinical Practicum III:Consultation And Clinical Leadership  4 Credits  

There are five (5) required areas of competency that must be successfully completed for the CNS certificate. These areas will be stressed in the Practica. They are: Expert clinical practice, education, research, consultation, and clinical leadership. The emphasis is on providing opportunities for the student to expand on existing nursing professional growth in order to promote the health and well-being of an identified aggregate. This course will include the Consultation and Clinical Leadership components of the CNS role.*

Graduate Nursing

NURS-501  Theoretical Frameworks of Leadership  2 Credits  

This course explores the theoretical underpinnings of leadership and management in nursing. Content includes leadership styles and attributes, interpersonal communications in effectively leading and collaborating with diverse populations, as well as, an explanation of the concept of "emotional intelligence." Building a dynamic team to improve optimal quality care will also be articulated. Responsibilities of managers, such as, organizational management, appropriate delegation of responsibilities, the art of supervision, coaching for success and collaboration will be analyzed. The role of ethics and the law will be discussed as they apply to equity and fair treatment of all in the workplace.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-506  Diversity, Social and Global Issues in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention  2 Credits  

Students will have the opportunity to synthesize and analyze the impact of social and global issues on the perceptions of health; view of disease prevention and health promotion among culturally and socially diverse patient/client and aggregate populations. Health issues that affect populations across the globe will be explored in order for nurses to effectively advocate for change.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-510  Spirituality/Care/Professional Nursing  1 Credit  

Students are guided in an examination of patient-centered spiritual care amongst diverse healthcare populations. Evidence-based spiritual care delivery from a Christian worldview and the integration of faith and practice as an essential component of nursing excellence is explored. Personal and professional development of the nurse, including moral courage is examined, as well as the effect of this on patient care outcomes. The implementation of optimal interventions from an inter-professional spiritual care team approach will also be evaluated.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-512  Leg/Eth Perspectives for Adv Prac Edu & Education and Leadership/Management  2 Credits  

Prepares graduates to analyze and take action in regard to legal and ethical situations encountered by nurses and interprofessional healthcare teams at the individaul, community, organizational, and public policy level. Current and emerging influences of legal and ethical issues on nursing practice are explored and professional codes of ethics are applied to the decision-making process. Skills are developed to search and collect information on legal issues related to risk management and advocacy for clients and students in practice and academic settings.

NURS-516  Research Methodologies and Project Development I  3 Credits  

This course is an exploration of both the research process and methodologies. The content includes both quantitative and qualitative designs. Emphasis will be placed on the first phase of the thesis project design and development. Students will have the opportunity to prepare the first three chapters of the project report.

Prerequisite: You must take an Undergraduate Statistics course before you can register for this course.

NURS-518  Nurse Educator and Leadership Roles: Theory and Practice  2 Credits  

Explores and integrates leadership concepts essential to the Advanced Practice Nurse Educator role that include transformational leadership, life-long learning, leader as innovator, reflective practice, servant leadership, exemplary role modeling, and the promotion of excellence in all arenas of nursing education.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-526  Policies Affecting Health Delivery And Fiscal Systems  2 Credits  

The impact that policies exert on health care delivery will be analyzed in addition to how regulatory processes are developed and impact nursing practice. Emphasis on identifying factors, such as, technology, federal, and local policies that influence development of and changes in health care systems. Students will have the opportunity to interpret various health policies and articulate how nurses can advocate for changes that enhance health. How policy-making proceeds will also be explored.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

NURS-531  Assessing, Planning, and Managing Budget Resources  2 Credits  

Utilizing methods to assess fiscal and resource requirements, planning budgets, and managing systems will be reviewed and analyzed. Methods and instruments available to efficiently allocate resources will be discussed as well as the design of plans that decrease duplication of ineffective strategies and services. Business principles will be identified as potential guidelines in managing nursing units and agencies.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring and Summer.

NURS-536  Gerontology Care for Today/Future  2 Credits  

This course is designed to provide the graduate nursing student with a framework necessary to assess the health status of a growing gerontology population. Theories of aging, political, legal, and ethical dimensions affecting seniors, influences on disease prevention /health promotion, and care management will be explored and synthesized. Students will present the latest research data and the application to nursing practice.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring and Summer.

NURS-541  Management Practicum  4 Credits  

During this course, each student will choose a setting in which he/she will complete 55 hours in a management /leadership position. Each student will work with a preceptor who occupies either a formal leadership or management position. During this practicum, students will apply knowledge that was learned in earlier coursework. Seminars (5 hours) will also be scheduled by the faculty of record in order to direct and support students in achieving personal as well as course objectives. (NOTE: Course no longer being offered; NURS-653 to replace course; see 2020 Academic Catalog)

Terms Typically Offered: Summer.

NURS-580  Introduction to Capstone Project  2 Credits  

This course introduces the definition, purpose, and expectations of the Capstone Project. Examines the connections between theoretical frameworks and evidence-based practice. Students will identify current issues in nursing practice and education in need of study. Students will begin to design a quality improvement project or an evidence-based project that will facilitate the application of theory to practice with the endeavor to effect change and improve outcomes.

NURS-610  Theoretical Frameworks of Education  2 Credits  

The goal of this course is to explore the theories of education, how a theoretical framework becomes the foundation for an effective teaching process, how to focus the educational offering on an aggregate (e.g. students, patients/families, staff, or other health care providers). There will be a review about how learning proceeds, and how educators successfully apply principles of andragogy in the teaching / learning setting. In addition, the students will have the opportunity to discuss the legal and ethical issues surrounding educational settings in today's culture.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-612  Education Practicum  3 Credits  

Provides a clinical practicum immersion experience exploring the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse Educator in contemporary innovative roles including: Clinical Instructor, Nurse Academician, Hospital-based/Community Nurse Educator, Informatics Nurse, Nurse Researcher, and Nurse Navigator. The student will focus on a project targeting the educational needs of the assigned unit. The course is designed to provide the student with practice opportunities in refining organization/community systems assessment, intervention, and evaluation competencies. The course consists of 130 practicum and five seminar hours. The student will be partnered with a master's or doctorally prepared preceptor under the guidance of faculty.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-617  Use of Technology in Healthcare and Nursing Education  2 Credits  

Students will explore the application of emerging technologies in the nurse's role as educator. The use of technology will also be analyzed in the effective promotion of optimal patient care outcomes. Utilizing various technologies, students will prepare a scholarly presentation on a topic related to the use of technology in healthcare or nursing education.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-620  Strategies for Effective Instruction  2 Credits  

In this course, effective teaching/learning modalities will be discussed and analyzed. Experiences with the patient simulators will provide opportunities to complete hands- on practice related to patient care. The course will assist students in assessing, planning, and implementing instructional sessions geared toward a particular aggregate while considering the learners age group, culture, readiness to learn, and barriers to learning. (NOTE: As of the 2020 Academic Catalog, this course is no longer offered.)

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-621  Strategies of Simulation Learning and Instruction  2 Credits  

Provides an overview of simulation concepts and methodologies applied to nursing education. Innovative teaching and learning strategies are explored using state of the art computerized manikin systems, both lo and hi-fidelity across the lifespan. Provides the opportunity to plan, construct, organize, implement, and evaluate patient scenarios in the role of the nurse educator. Emphasis is placed on debriefing as essential to effective learning based on principles of reflective practice. A hands-on experience is facilitated in a simulated healthcare setting.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

NURS-625  Thesis Development II  2 Credits  

This course constitutes the second phase of the thesis project preparation. The student will continue to develop the project and refine the project report. In addition, Phase II will prepare the student to implement the project.

Prerequisite: NURS-516

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

NURS-630  Curriculum and Program Development  2 Credits  

This course will provide guidelines in planning a patient teaching offering, an in-service, a course, or a complete curriculum. Discussion will surround the issues of planning a teaching event that focuses on the development of a presentation, description of the learning event, course objectives, content, resources/ audiovisuals, and evaluation plan.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

NURS-635  Class/Course Preparation/Plan/Comp Eval Competency Evaluation  2 Credits  

This course will assist the student to further refine the skills introduced in NURS 630. The students will articulate the process by which the learning needs and styles of an aggregate are assessed. Each student will then prepare and prepare a presentation with a chosen aggregate. In addition, the student will develop a brief evaluation instrument to analyze whether or not learning has occurred based on the stated objectives. The in-service or presentation will also be measured, via this evaluation, in terms of instructor effectiveness, content clarity, and relevance.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

NURS-642  Thesis Development III, Final Written Report and Defense  2 Credits  

Project implementation, the completed written report, and the defense make up the final phase of the thesis project. The thesis defense provides the student the opportunity to perform a professional presentation of their research to an audience of faculty, students, and community members. The course provides on-going focused support and from an appointed faculty advisor. The project must be completed during this course.

Prerequisite: NURS-516, NURS-625

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

NURS-650  Education Practicum  4 Credits  

This course provides the graduate students with practical application of education theories in college settings. Each student will have the opportunity to choose a preceptor and a setting in which to complete the course successfully. Students will be able to build educator skills by collaborating with a master teacher in order to assess the learning needs of a group, prepare a lesson plan, or assist with syllabi revisions, and teach a portion of a course to nursing students. Seminars (5 Hours) will also be scheduled by the faculty of record in order to direct and support students in achieving personal as well as course objectives. (NOTE: As of 2020 Academic Catalog, this course is no longer being offered)

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

NURS-651  Advanced Education Practicum  2 Credits  

Provides a clinical practicum immersion experience that allows the student to integrate and apply new knowledge, education theory, and professional competencies in the role of the advanced practice nurse educator. Designed to provide the student with practice opportunities that facilitate optimal patient care outcomes by refining organizational/community systems assessment, intervention, and evaluation competencies. A minimum of 11 hours per week (90 hours) will be spent in the clinical environment with a master's prepared preceptor and under the guidance of practicum faculty. A seminar (five hours) and practicum learning experiences are designed to support the achievement of course and program learning outcomes.

Prerequisite: NURS-610

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

NURS-653  Leadership Practicum in Healthcare  2 Credits  

Provides the opportunity to perform innovatively and work collaboratively in administrative healthcare environments. Promotes the implementation of quality practice standards and policies for select populations within the healthcare system/organization. Establishes a forum for relating empirical and research-based literature to practicum observations, in the exploration of nursing leadership roles that influence the redesign of emerging healthcare systems (i.e. optimizing cost effective patient centered care). A minimum of 11 hours per week (90 hours) will be spent in the clinical environment with a master's prepared preceptor and under the guidance of practicum faculty. A seminar (five hours) and practicum learning experiences are designed to support the achievement of course and program learning outcomes.

Prerequisite: NURS-501

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Summer.

NURS-680  Independent Study:  1-3 Credits  

This course is designed to assist students who wish to experience a more in-depth understanding of a specific subject or to complete a scholarly endeavor (practice, internship, meta-analysis). A faculty member will be assigned to the student (s) in order to assist and direct the student toward meeting course objectives. In collaboration with the faculty, the student will: 1. Identify area of interest through the statement of a problem or purpose; 2. Decide on a course of action by way of formulating goals and objectives; 3. Design a plan of action; and 4. Evaluate the plan once the objectives have been met.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring and Summer.

NURS-685  Implementation of Capstone Project  2 Credits  

This course continues with the concepts presented in the Introduction to Capstone Project course. Students will develop the implementation process of their Capstone Project, focusing on the last three sections: Methods, Results, and Discussion. Students will analyze the differentiation between nursing research, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement. Students will synthesize data dissemination to provide evidence in the improvement of patient care outcomes and nursing practice and make recommendations for future research.