About the MSN Degree

Best Online Programs for Grad Nursing 2014The Master of Science Nursing (MSN) is a CCNE-accredited online MSN program ideal for nurses who intend to work in the nursing field for a decade or longer. In today’s health care landscape, there is a growing recognition that nurses need more education to be fully functioning members of a health care team that contributes to the improvement of patient care and patient outcomes. With an MSN degree, a nurse will enjoy greater career mobility and expanded job options.

American Sentinel MSN online program students can further define their education by focusing on one of five relevant areas. All MSN degree students must choose one of five specializations:

CCNE accreditedAmerican Sentinel’s MSN degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Relevant Curriculum

The curriculum of the MSN degree program is based on contemporary issues in health care today. Nurses study the improvement of health care, creating quality patient outcomes and how to foster strategic change in the health care delivery system. Embedded in the American Sentinel nursing curriculum is an emphasis on quality of care as guided by nursing-sensitive indicators.

In 2009, American Sentinel voluntarily adopted the competencies defined by the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) as an integral part of all of our distance nursing degree programs. Those six competencies are:

  • Patient-centered care
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Quality improvement
  • Informatics
  • Safety

American Sentinel is one of a few nursing programs in the country to enhance its nursing curriculum by adopting the QSEN model. Our curriculum prepares nurses to improve the quality and safety of patient care and the health care organizations in which they work.

Practice Experiences

The nursing programs at American Sentinel University contain practice experiences. This is done to meet the accreditor requirement that RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN or DNP programs include practice experiences in the curricula to enable students to achieve the required educational competencies (AACN White Paper, Oct. 2012; DNP Essentials for Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, 2006; ACEN 2013 Standards). These practice experiences have specific objectives, expected outcomes and competencies.

Practice experiences are not like the clinical experiences you completed to obtain your degree as a registered nurse. Practice experiences do not involve hands-on patient care. They are designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply the concepts and knowledge you learn in the nursing courses.

See Nursing Practice Experience Guide for more information.

Course Highlights

Our rigorous curriculum covers a breadth of issues in nursing and health care, giving nurses the foundation and skills to expand their practice. Here are a few of the MSN degree program’s key courses:

  • Advanced Practice Role Development (N501) focuses on the historical development of advanced practice nursing, including but not limited to the advanced roles offered at American Sentinel University. These roles include Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Case Manager, Nurse Informaticist, and Infection Control and Prevention Nurse. The advanced practice nursing roles and core competencies will be explored and discussed. In-depth analysis of the advanced practice nursing role will be conducted and debated within the context of the healthcare system in relationship with complex social, economic, diverse, technological, legal, ethical and political environments.
  • Theoretical Foundations (N505PE) concentrates on nursing models and theories that support professional nursing practice. Students analyze and synthesize various nursing theoretical frameworks. The topics include application of the various theories and cover both clinical nursing practice and nursing research efforts. This course includes practice experiences.
  • Advanced Physical Assessment (N522PE) builds upon the undergraduate nursing knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and health assessment skills. The course uses a comprehensive health promotion, disease prevention and health restoration model. It focuses on the culturally competent, advanced, comprehensive assessment of clients across the life span, including effective data collection and documentation. This course includes practice experience hours.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MSN program will be able to:

  • Integrate roles as leaders and collaborators in various health care settings.
  • Use theoretical knowledge to guide advanced nursing practice.
  • Analyze models that expand the role of nurses in a global society.
  • Evaluate legislation, policies, and economics as applied to the current health care environment.
  • Appraise research to enhance professional nursing practice.

Program Mission

The mission of the RN to MSN and MSN program builds from the American Sentinel University mission, specifically to prepare highly qualified advanced practice professional nursing personnel to serve global health care communities as administrators, educators, and informatics specialists.

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Online Open House:

Wed., Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. EST

Thinking about earning your degree online? Can your life or work experience count as credit? Wondering what an online class is like? Join our Online Open House for answers to many of your questions about distance learning.

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