Western Approved for Master's in Nursing
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WESTERN APPROVED FOR MASTER’S IN NURSING
St. Joseph, Mo. —July 30, 2009—The Missouri Department of Higher Education recently approved a graduate program in nursing for Missouri Western State University. The degree is a master of science in nursing, health care leadership, and is scheduled to begin in Fall 2010.
Dr. Kathleen O’Connor-Andrews, chair of Western’s nursing department, said the program is a result of discussions with healthcare professionals at Heartland Health and throughout the region to determine workforce needs. “Health care leaders encouraged us to move in that direction,” Dr. O’Connor-Andrews said of the leadership focus. “We have the job market here.” The program is designed to prepare nurses for leadership and management roles within a variety of health care facilities.
A second purpose for the program is to prepare nurses for doctoral level study in order to increase the supply of nurse faculty who are qualified to teach in baccalaureate and higher degree programs. “This is a critical need. There is a shortage of nursing faculty,” Dr. O’Connor-Andrews said.
Dr. Jeanne Daffron, interim dean of graduate studies, explained that graduates from this program will have knowledge and skill related to the organization and financing of health care, fiscal management, utilization of research, health care policy, health care ethics, roles of advanced practice nurses, the use of theories from nursing and related fields, human diversity in health and illness, health promotion, and disease prevention.
The master’s program will include courses from the nursing and economics departments, as well as from the Craig School of Business. Some of the courses are already being offered in other Western graduate programs, Dr. Daffron said, such as Technical Analysis for Decision Making, Managerial Economics, Professional and Organizational Communications, and Organizational Theory.
Faculty members will spend the next year developing curriculum and determining option areas for the degree. One possibility, Dr. O’Connors-Andrews said, is a focus on health care informatics, which means building platforms for documentation of patient care and patient histories, and using best practices for storing and accessing the information.
“We are building on the quality of our undergraduate nursing program,” Dr. O’Connor-Andrews said. “Our nursing graduates have been accepted in graduate programs across the country, and this will give them the opportunity to continue their education here.”
Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves.