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Graduate Catalog 2010

Master of Science in Nursing

Cathy R. Taylor, Dean, College of Health Sciences 
Martha Buckner, Associate Dean of Nursing
Leslie Higgins,
 Director, Graduate Studies in Nursing 

Faculty: Loretta Bond, Carrie Harvey, Leslie Higgins, BJ Hutchins, Erin Shankel, Susan Taplin

Belmont offers an MSN in advanced clinical practice, specializing in the Family Nurse Practioner (FNP) role. Nursing education at the master's level builds upon baccalaureate nursing preparation. Program courses and content are organized to facilitate the progression of student learning from that of baccalaureate generalist to that of a specialist. The curriculum has two dimensions: core and specialization. Core courses include Theory, Research, Statistics, Clinical Information Systems, and Issues, Policy, and Economics.

Academic Policies

Policies and Procedures for Admission

A. Minimum Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a nationally accredited baccalaureate-granting institution with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA from all undergraduate coursework. A student may transfer up to six graduate hours from another institution upon the recommendation of the Graduate Admissions and Progression Committee.  Transfer courses taken more than 5 years prior to application are not accepted. 
  2. Proof of a current RN license from the student's state of residence and/or practice. A Tennessee RN license or a license from a state that is in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is required for clinical experiences in Tennessee.
  3. Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years. GRE waiver policy: Applicants whose BSN is from Belmont and whose cumulative BSN GPA is greater than or equal to 3.2 may waive the GRE requirement. Applicants with BSNs from other schools and whos cumulative BSN GPA is greater than or equal to 3.4 may waive the GRE requirement.
  4. A completed application file (per the Application Steps below). Applications will be received until a class is filled and will be open until at least November 1 for spring entry and June 1 for fall entry. Candidates are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible, as it may take 6 or more weeks to complete the application and for all credentials to be received and verified through the centralized application service (NursingCAS).

Application Steps for MSN Applicants

The School of Nursing receives applications for admission and most applicant credentials for the MSN program exclusively through the Nursing Central Application Service (NursingCAS), provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). 

The application steps are as follows:

1.  Click the “Apply” link at

2.  Create an account and login to your secure NursingCAS online application.  When creating your account, be sure to click “Yes” to the question, “Are you applying to a graduate level program in nursing?”

3.  When logged in, complete all “Required” items on the Application Checklist as directed by NursingCAS.  This includes data entering all coursework information and arranging for official transcripts to be sent to NursingCAS.

4.  In addition, Belmont University School of Nursing requires the following items also be submitted through NursingCAS (these items are indicated as “Optional” in NursingCAS):

          a. In the Professional Experience Section, submit information regarding nursing
               licensure by selecting “Certifications” from the drop-down menu and completing
               information requested.

          b. In the References Section, submit two (2) professional references. Recommendations from friends or co-workers are not appropriate. The strongest recommendations are from nurse practitioners, nurse managers, program directors, your undergraduate faculty or others in a                             supervisory capacity.

          c. In the Personal Statement Section, complete an essay of 1-2 pages in length
               describing your education goals and career goals.  Additional writing samples
               may be requested.

5.  Be sure to designate (by checkmark) Belmont University Master of Science in Nursing in the Designations Section of the application and to link your Belmont essay.   NursingCAS charges $65 for your application to be sent to the first program designation and $35 for each additional designation.

6.  GRE scores must be submitted directly to the University's Admissions Office.
               The Institution Code for Belmont is 1058 and the Department Code for Nursing is 0610

7.  Following a preliminary review of the completed application file, the Admissions Committee will invite selected applicants to interview prior to final admission decisions.

8. Pre-Enrollment Checklist

Once accepted, candidates must complete the following requirements before enrolling:

  1. $500 non-refundable enrollment deposit by a specified deadline after acceptance, applied to first semester tuition.
  2. Final official transcript of BSN degree sent directly to Belmont University
  3. A background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  4. Required immunizations
  5. Proof of health insurance coverage

If any of these requirements are not satisfied, admission to the program may be rescinded.

B. Admission to Courses for Non-Degree Seeking Students

Students currently enrolled in the Belmont RN-BSN program, and who are within six (6) hours of completing their degree, are eligible to take graduate courses as non-degree seeking students. These courses may not be used as hours toward the undergraduate degree. These students may take up to six (6) hours of graduate coursework prior to completion of the BSN degree. Students with a BSN degree are eligible to take 6 hours of graduate coursework as non-degree seeking students.

C. Limitation on Completion of Requirements

A graduate student in the master's program must complete all degree requirements within a six (6) year period. Time limits shall be computed from and will include the first semester of credit applied to the degree program.

D. Graduation Requirement - Comprehensive Exam for FNP track

All FNP students are required to take a comprehensive exam during the final clinical semester they are enrolled in the MSN program. The comprehensive exam includes questions on all content areas in the MSN program. Students who are not successful on the first attempt may take the exam one additional time. Students who are unsuccessful on the exam two times will have their file reviewed by the Graduate Affairs Committee. The student must complete any remedial work or retake any courses required by the Graduate Affairs Committee prior to being approved to retake the comprehensive exam. Passing the comprehensive exam is required for graduation from the FNP track or FNP post-master's certificate.

MSN Program of Study
Master of Science in Nursing Hours
Core 23
NUR 5010, Advanced Pathophysiology   3  
NUR 5020, Theoretical Foundations of Graduate Nursing Practice   3  
NUR 5040, Advanced Nursing Research   3  
NUR 5041, Research Applications   3  
NUR 5050, Statistics in Health Care Research   3  
NUR 5100, Transitions to Graduate Nursing   2  
NUR 5700, Issues, Policy and Economics   3  
NUR 5710, Clinical Information Systems   3  
Family Nurse Practitioner Clinical Track     18
NUR 5300, Advanced Health Assessment   3  
NUR 5140, Advanced Pharmacology   3  
NUR 5610, Primary Health Care I   3  
NUR 5612, Primary Health Care I Clinical 1
NUR 5630, Primary Health Care II   2  
NUR 5632, Primary Health Care II Clinical 2
NUR 5680, NUR Pract Intensive Practicum   1  
NUR 5682 NUR Pract Intensive Practicum Clinical 3
Total 41

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  Course Descriptions

NUR 5010. Advanced Pathophysiology (3). The course is designed to provide the post-baccalaureate nurse with the opportunity to utilize undergraduate science background and clinical experiences in the examination of pathophysiologic mechanisms of certain disease processes. Selected client case studies will be utilized.

NUR 5020. Theoretical Foundations of Graduate Nursing Practice (3). This course focuses on the analysis and utilization of nursing, family and other related theories and conceptual models and their relationship to research and practice as a graduate-prepared nurse.

NUR 5040. Advanced Nursing Research (3). Prerequisite: NUR 5050. Methodology including design, sampling, data collection, and data analysis is explored in depth. Quantitative and qualitative methods are studied. Application of knowledge is evidenced by synthesis of the current nursing and health-related literature into a written state-of-the-science review.

NUR 5041. Research Applications (3). Prerequisite: NUR 5040 and NUR 5050. In this course students have the opportunity to apply research principles learned in NUR 5040 Advanced Nursing Research. This course will include participation in data analysis, critique of research articles, and application of strategies for utilization of research findings to enhance evidence-based practice. The course is designed to help students learn how to use research principles to evaluate and manage their clinical practices.

NUR 5050. Statistics in Health Care Research (3). This course provides an overview of descriptive and inferential statistics used in health care research. Emphasis is placed on how and when to use statistical techniques as well as interpretation of statistics. Computer applications also are explored.

NUR 5100. Transition to Graduate Nursing Practice (2). This course will provide a common knowledge base for all students pursuing graduate study in nursing. Emphasis will be placed on the roles of advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, and nurse administrators. Areas such as role development, scope of practice, credentialing, and scholarly activities will be examined.

NUR 5140. Advanced Pharmacology (3). Pharmacokinetics, dynamics and therapeutics of major drug classifications in current therapeutic use are discussed. Principles and prescribing practices for advanced practice nurses are emphasized.

NUR 5300   Advanced Health Assessment (3). This course provides an opportunity for students to learn and practice advanced health assessment techniques utilized by nurse practitioners. Students participate in class and laboratory activities to enhance assessment skills, with an emphasis on pattern recognition and development of differential diagnoses. Students will also enroll in NUR 5301, Advanced Health Assessment Lab.    

NUR 5301  Advanced Health Assessment Lab (0). The laboratory component provides the opportunity for hands-on practice and demonstration of advanced health assessment techniques. 

NUR 5610. Primary Health Care I (3). Prerequisites: NUR 5140, NUR 5300. This course encompasses both didactic and clinical content. Health promotion and disease prevention throughout the life span are discussed. Students explore the management of acute and chronic illnesses throughout the life span. Emphasis is on diagnosis and management of clinical problems. Clinical situations are provided for students to begin integration and synthesis of the didactic component of the course.

NUR 5612 Primary Health Care I Clinical (1). Clinical experiences with seasonal preceptors provide opportunities for role development and application of content learned in NUR 5610. Students participate in 100-150 clinical hours.

NUR 5630. Primary Health Care II (2). Prerequisites: NUR 5300, NUR 5140, NUR 5610 and NUR 5612. This course is a continuation of the concepts of health promotion, disease prevention, and disease management begun in NUR 5610 (PHCI). In addition to didactic content and clinical experiences, students will participate in a clinical conference designed to encourage peer feedback. Emphasis is placed on continuing synthesis and integration of content in the classroom and in the clinical setting.

NUR 5632. Primary Health Care II Clinical (2).  Clinical experiences with seasoned preceptors provide opportunities for continued role development and application of content learned in NUR 5630. Students participate in 220-260 clinical hours.

NUR 5680. Family Nurse Practitioner Intensive Practicum (1). Prerequisite: NUR 5630 and NUR 5632. This course integrates the knowledge and skills acquired in previous clinical courses in an intensive clinical semester. Students are expected to demonstrate significant synthesis of diagnostic, management, and evaluation skills in the clinical setting, as well as in clinical conferences.

NUR 5682. Family Nurse Practitioner Intensive Practicum Clinical (3). Students concentrate on clinical experiences in this course, participating in 300-360 clinical hours with seasoned preceptors that offer concentrated focus on role development and application of content.

NUR 5700. Nursing and Health Care Issues: Trends, Policy and Economics (3). This course provides a forum for the exploration and evaluation of current major issues and problems in health care. It prepares a student for efficient stewardship of resources and organizational management within diverse health care settings, with an emphasis of financial, economic, operational, and strategic planning as it relates to the economics of the health care delivery system. This course provides opportunity to pursue study to meet individual student needs.

NUR 5710. Clinical Information Systems (3). This course focuses on the application of informatics technologies that support information management within the health care setting, including the dissemination of health care data, health care decision support, clinical systems and guidelines, and emerging patterns and trends.

NUR 5910. Independent Study (1-3).

NUR 5920. International Health Care Delivery Systems (3). This elective examines the health care delivery system of a selected country, its philosophy, and technology of the country (countries) visited. The system of the selected country is compared to the health care delivery system of the United States. Learning activities include immersion into the selected country, lecture, small group discussion, pertinent readings, and clinical practice.

NUR 5930. Independent Study: Clinical Practice (1-3).


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