GU's Online Masters in Nursing Prepares Health Care Decision-Makers

Take Your Nursing Career to the Board Room

Gonzaga University's online nursing program consists of two Masters of Science in Nursing degrees, one in Education and the other in Leadership. The MSN Health Systems Leadership track strikes out to appeal to the needs of working nurses with an excitement for career change. Experienced nurses in administrative roles are on the increase, as they must be. The condition of the nursing field is dire: more nurses are leaving the profession than there are new recruits to replace them. What's more disconcerting is the dwindling number of nurse educators needed to train all the nursing candidates sitting on waiting lists.

Healthcare is ripe for nurse intervention of a different kind; professionals with a solid working knowledge of the nursing practice armed with some historically business-oriented skills. Traditionally, mid- and upper-level managers, coordinators, and supervisors were business-trained healthcare professionals with little knowledge of the inner workings of nursing. Contemporary healthcare systems are now hungry for nurses with a multidisciplinary background and advanced degrees in leadership and management. Nurse leaders armed with decision-making and critical-thinking skills, in combination with nursing know-how, make powerful administrators.


Candidates for the online MSN in Health Systems Leadership must have a RN license. Program faculty determines if any particular prerequisite coursework is necessary. Applicants must be highly motivated and prepared for the rigors of a 36-credit hour program. Most students take between two and three years to complete the curriculum.

Although almost all coursework is completed online and asynchronously this does not mean that students may work in total isolation. Online discussion boards, email, chat and messaging systems make it convenient for students to collaborate and network. This is a critical aspect of online education.


An initial 15 credits make up the general MSN curriculum and include courses such as: evidence-based nursing practice, advanced nursing theory, ethics and contemporary issues in healthcare. The remaining 21 credits function as the specialty-specific curriculum, but are nevertheless built up from the initial 15. Intensive courses include: decision-making strategies, nurses in leadership, healthcare ethics and law, contemporary information systems, quality assurance in healthcare, and communication and management within large health systems. Hands-on practicum may be required on-campus or via off-campus sites; this depends upon faculty preference.

Faculty for the online program is the same that teaches the traditional, on-campus programs. They design and develop curriculum specifically tailored to an online environment and for the particular set of adult learners.

Career Opportunity

Nurse administrators are required in all areas of healthcare. Jobs will likely grow more abundant as nursing professionals seek out convenient online degrees that earn them career clout. Nurse administrators may work in public and private healthcare, in hospitals, in clinics, in community health and many other facets of the field. Jobs are bundled with responsibilities different from staff nursing and appeal to those with independent ideas. Sub-specialties of nurse administrators may include nurse entrepreneurs, case managers, utilization review nurses, and many others. Salaries and job security are good.

Gonzaga University offers a dozen or so Masters level degrees specially designed to appeal to professionals in healthcare, business, and technology.


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