M.S. Nursing, Nursing Informatics Areas of Study

The Master of Science degree in Nursing Informatics is a competency-based program that prepares graduates for a rewarding career as a specialist in the field of Nursing Informatics. Informatics Nurse Specialists have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to design, develop, implement, and evaluate Health Information Systems that support the delivery of safe, efficient and high-quality healthcare services. Students in the WGU M.S. Nursing Informatics program apply systems-thinking strategies to transform data to wisdom for understanding the determinants and distribution of healthcare needs in diverse populations. This program prepares students to select and use contemporary technologies to collaborate with interprofessional teams for the development and implementation of health education programs, evidence-based practices, and point-of-care policies. Through the integration of nursing science, computer science and information science, students will develop competencies for performing advanced informatics skills to improve health outcomes, such as data capture, management, mining, and analysis. This masters degree program supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding of nursing informatics to real-world situations where the use of information and communication technologies are essential for delivering and coordinating care across multiple settings. Graduates of the WGU masters-degree Nursing Informatics program are prepared to gather, document, and analyze outcome data that will serve as a foundation for data-driven decisions that inform practice processes and the implementation of interventions or strategies to improve healthcare outcomes.

MSN Professional Nursing Core

Professional Presence and Influence
Who we are and how we behave affects others. Our professional presence in therapeutic settings can support or inhibit well-being not only in patients, but also in the rest of the health care team, in the family and support system of the patients, and in the health care organization as a whole.

This course will help registered nurses manage this impact by recognizing situations and practices that support a positive environment and cultivating actions and responses to achieve and maintain this environment. The growth of self-knowledge will expand nurses’ ability to direct influence in ways that are intended rather than in random or destructive ways.

Translational Research for Practice and Populations
This graduate-level course builds on your baccalaureate-level statistical knowledge to help you develop skills in analyzing, interpreting, and translating research into nursing practice using principles of patient-centered care and applications to individuals and populations.

Organizational Leadership and Interprofessional Team Development
This graduate-level course builds on baccalaureate-level leadership knowledge to develop application skills in complex healthcare environments with diverse teams. Graduates will develop knowledge and competencies in the following areas:

  • leadership theory
  • systems and complexity theory
  • advanced communication
  • building consensus

Knowledge, skills, and abilities related to creating cultures of safety and leading quality improvement are key parts of this course and of contemporary leadership. Most importantly, students will develop and establish deep understanding of leadership roles within organizations, a central theme in the course.

Upon successful completion of this course, Students will demonstrate: critical decision making, critical analysis, and visionary thinking to lead and affect positive healthcare environments; the ability to build consensus and communicate a compelling vision that facilitates teamwork.

Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
In Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice, students will gain application skills by examining syndromes rather than looking at body systems independently. The course includes pathophysiologies, the associated pharmacological treatments, and social and environmental impacts. Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice is an integrated examination of five common and important disease processes:

  • asthma
  • heart failure
  • obesity
  • traumatic brain injury
  • depression

These processes are relevant to advanced nursing practice because of their prevalence and impact on the healthcare system and the health of the nation.

Comprehensive Health Assessment for Patients and Populations
In this course, students will learn about the principles of health assessment from the individual to the global level. Students will learn to perform a comprehensive functional health assessment that includes social structures, family history, and environmental situations, from the individual patient to the population.

This course builds on prior knowledge gained in previous courses and in nursing practice, in areas such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, and epidemiology, and focus on applying this knowledge in various populations with common disorders. This course is roughly divided into three parts:

  • Advanced health assessment focusing on abnormal findings for common disease.
  • Integrating health assessment findings into a population, considering such issue as culture, spirituality, and continuum.
  • Functionality of clients based upon the problems and populations.

Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience
The Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience course gives you an opportunity to apply leadership knowledge to evaluate a healthcare facility and then recommend an organizational change to improve population health. In this course you will integrate and apply your learning in a clinical experience working with a nurse leader. You will demonstrate and document the following skills:

  • lead change to improve quality health in populations
  • advance a culture of excellence through lifelong learning
  • build and lead collaborative interprofessional care teams
  • navigate and integrate care services across the healthcare system
  • design innovative nursing practices
  • translate evidence into practice

Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends
Social, political, and economic factors influence policies that impact health outcomes in acute care settings in communities, nationally and globally. Nurse leaders need to understand the determinants of health as well as how legal and regulatory processes, healthcare finances, research, the role of professional organizations, and special interest groups/lobbyists impact health outcomes.This course provides a framework for understanding the organization of healthcare delivery and financing systems in the U.S. and other nations. It addresses how policies are made and factors that influence policies at local, national, and global levels that impact health/wellness and the nursing profession. The roles of values, ethical theories, stakeholder interests, research, and recent legislation related to health policy and health outcomes will be explored. The nurse leader will gain expertise in effecting change through active participation in influencing or developing policies that impact health.

Nursing Science

Advanced Information Management and the Application of Technology
In this course you will examine the complementary roles of the master’s level-prepared nursing information technology professionals, including informaticists and quality officers. You will analyze current and emerging technologies, data management, ethical, legal and regulatory, best-practice evidence, and bio-health informatics using decision-making support systems at the point of care.

Nursing Informatics

Foundations in Nursing Informatics
This course addresses the integration of technology to improve and support nursing practice. It provides nurses with a foundational understanding of nursing informatics theory, practice, and applications. Topics include the role of nursing in informatics; use of computer technology for clinical documentation, communication, and workflows; problem identification; project implementation; and best practices.

Data Science and Analytics
This course addresses the interdisciplinary and emerging field of data science in healthcare. Students will learn to combine tools and techniques from statistics, computer science, data visualization, and the social sciences to solve problems using data. Topics include data analysis, database management, inferential and descriptive statistics, statistical inference, and process improvement.

Informatics System Analysis and Design
In Informatics System Analysis and Design, a broad understanding of data systems is covered to build upon the Foundations in Nursing Informatics course. The importance of effective interoperability, functionality, data access, and user satisfaction are addressed. The student will be analyzing reports and integrating federal regulations, research principles, and principles of environmental health in the construction of a real-world systems analysis and design project. This course will be directly applicable to healthcare settings as electronic records management has become compulsory for healthcare providers. All of the information in this course will be directly tied to the delivery of quality patient care and patient safety.

Data Modeling and Database Management Systems
This graduate course is designed to engage the student in planning, analyzing, and designing a relational database management system (DBMS) for use by nurse administrators, clinicians, educators, and informaticists. This experience will provide the knowledge needed to advocate for nursing informatics needs within the field of healthcare.

Nursing Informatics Field Experience
In the Nursing Informatics Field Experience, you will complete a hands-on field experience while working with a preceptor in a setting relevant to your professional situation and nursing informatics. Today’s rapidly changing health delivery system requires nurse informaticists to be prepared to effectively lead change and facilitate learning that is dynamic and meets the needs of a diverse student and professional nursing population. To help you develop competency in this area, you will apply methods and solutions to support clinical decisions and improve health outcomes by designing data collection instruments, developing a database management system and analyzing data using statistical and geospatial techniques in a simulated environment.

Nursing Informatics Capstone
The Nursing Informatics Capstone is the final leg in your journey to graduation. During this course, you will demonstrate the knowledge you gained during this program and the skills you developed during your assessments and field experiences by completing a comprehensive evaluation of a health information system and developing a multimedia presentation that reviews and reflects on your learning experiences during the Nursing Informatics Program. This scholarly presentation is a synthesis that demonstrates the acquisition of nursing informatics knowledge, skills, and competencies. Your final presentation should demonstrate how the integration of nursing informatics with multiple information and analytical sciences facilitates the transformation of data and information to knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice.

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