What are the Emphasis Areas for the MSN Degree?

By Lauren Abraham

three nursing students and professor looking at a skeleton

The healthcare system is continuing to transform, leading to an increase in demand for nurses with graduate-level degrees. For this reason, now is a great time to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

In earning an MSN, nurses have the opportunity to select an emphasis in order to specialize in their study. Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions offers a variety of emphases for students to choose from in earning their MSN degree.

Nursing Education

The MSN degree with an emphasis in nursing education prepares nurses to advocate for high quality care and ethical standards. In the program, students analyze topics pertaining to educating nurses, such as ethics, policy and finance in healthcare, advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, advanced health assessment and how to lead in learning and curriculum development. Nurses who complete this program are passionate about mentoring and teaching future nurses and are interested in advancing their position in nursing education. Graduates will be prepared for a variety of roles in the field, such as patient educator and educator in clinical and academic settings.

Public Health

Nurses who want to foster change in community health can pursue an MSN degree with an emphasis in public health. Individuals in the program are prepared to develop, plan, implement and evaluate health programs and services. They gain the skills to define, assess and resolve modern day concerns in public health. The curriculum combines the nursing core and national public health curriculum standards in order to emphasize psychological, behavioral and social factors influencing population-based health disparities. Graduates are prepared for positions in a wide variety of settings, such as hospitals, healthcare facilities, county and state health departments and universities.

Health Care Informatics

The MSN degree with an emphasis in health care informatics is intended for nurses who want to understand and apply healthcare data to make better decisions through evidenced-based practices. Specifically, this program helps nurses to use patient and health data to achieve better patient outcomes, reduce costs and optimize operational efficiency. Nurses can help their organizations adapt to new technology in the continuous changes in the field. Graduates from this program may automate clinical care, build new operational data systems and train healthcare workers in the use of computer systems. They can work in a variety of settings, such as a hospital, primary care facility, doctor’s office, insurance company, pharmacy, technology supplier and consulting firm.

Leadership in Health Care Systems

For nurses who want to take on leadership roles in today’s healthcare systems, pursuing an MSN in leadership in health care systems may be the right choice. Individuals in this program learn to effectively lead others and manage resources in order to achieve organizational goals. They develop an understanding of the healthcare environment, the communication skills needed to meet ethical and professional standards and the business skills needed to manage healthcare quality and reduce costs. In addition, students learn about leadership styles and how organizations function. Graduates are prepared for careers such as a charge nurse, director of nursing, chief nursing officer or even a vice president of nursing services.

ACNP: Adult-Gerontology

An ACNP degree with an emphasis in adult-gerontology degree prepares nurses to care for and educate the growing adult and elderly population. Students in the program learn advanced practice nursing care in complex, acute and critical care settings through courses in advanced health assessment, clinical diagnosis, procedural skill acquisition and care management of adult and geriatric acute care patients. Graduates are prepared to become acute care nurse practitioners, complete and interpret head-to-toe assessments and assess chief patient complaints.

The opportunities are endless for those who want to earn their MSN degree. In choosing an emphasis, nurses can specialize in their area of study and pursue a career they are passionate about.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions creates in-person and online nursing program environments that improve critical thinking, professionalism, accountability and ethical decision-making by applying science and nursing theories with Christian values. To learn more about an education at GCU, contact us today!

Written by Lauren Abraham, a junior majoring in communication at GCU.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.