College of Health and Human Services2021-2022


Nursing - Generalist, Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The philosophy of the School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University is based on an ethic of caring that embraces students, faculty and staff, and the university community and the global community within which we live and work. We also believe that caring is a conscious, intentional discipline that is part of nursing’s unique body of knowledge and is practiced in interdisciplinary contexts. Caring includes the creation and nurturing of an environment that recognizes that students, staff and faculty have unique ways of viewing the world. This philosophy promotes excellence for nursing education and practice in an environment of constant change and emerging healthcare trends.

The faculty believes the transition to the role of competent professional nurse is a major developmental achievement. We believe that nursing is an art and science that is an integral component of health care. Applying the discipline of nursing to practice depends on a foundation of natural and human sciences, humanities and arts, the application of research, and the diverse backgrounds of learners. Societal influences in the evolving healthcare system challenge all involved in nursing education.

Education is a dynamic, life-long collaborative process by which an individual pursues life goals, broadens human potential, develops thinking and clarifies values. The faculty believes that learning is the intentional acquisition, application, and integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Learning is shaped by the environment and developmental level of the learner, and is ultimately the responsibility of the learner. Faculty plan, guide, and facilitate learning while supporting the learning needs of a diverse community of students. We believe that learning-centered experiences with rigorous expectations and actively-engaged students result in higher-level thinkers and graduates prepared for real world practice. We value incorporating rural and global healthcare into a variety of educational experiences. Thus education not only expands the thinking of the learner, but increases opportunities for application.

The faculty has developed a philosophy that values diverse persons, environment, health, and nursing, and their inter-relatedness. The following meta-paradigm concepts guide the implementation of the organizing framework for the curriculum.

Our graduate programs prepare nurses to work at advanced levels of practice in rural areas. We offer an MS in Nursing in two specialty tracks, and one post-graduate FNP certificate.  The Nurse Generalist Track was designed for the RN who desires to build a professional clinical foundation of practice exploring a selected emphasis relevant to his or her advancement goals. While not a specialty focus, this plan allows the RN with a prior baccalaureate degree to continue to develop expertise within a desired emphasis.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

All Students in M. S. Nursing Degrees will be able to

  • Clinical Practice and Prevention:
Design patient-centered and culturally responsive strategies in the delivery of clinical prevention and health promotion interventions and/or services to individuals, families, communities, and aggregates/clinical populations.
  • Communication:
    • Develop and collaborate within interprofessional teams and partnerships by using effective communication strategies.
    • Advance patient education, enhance accessibility of care, analyze practice patterns, and improve health care and nurse sensitive outcomes by using information and communication technologies.
  • Critical reasoning:
Integrate theory, evidence, clinical judgment, research, and interprofessional
perspectives using translational processes to improve practice and associated
health outcomes for patient aggregates.
  • Leadership:
    • Analyze how policies influence the structure and financing of health care, practice, and health outcomes.
    • Examine the effect of legal and regulatory processes on nursing practice, healthcare delivery, and outcomes.
  • Professionalism and Professional Values:
    • Advocate for patients, families, caregivers, communities and members of the healthcare team.
    • Incorporate core scientific and ethical principles in identifying potential and actual ethical issues arising from practice, and assisting patients and other healthcare providers to address such issues.
  • Global Health:
Global Engagement: Transforms health care systems to address health equity and social justice thus reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations.

Diversity Education:
  • Assume leadership and/or research roles in developing, implementing, and evaluating culturally reinforcing nursing and other health care services from local to global perspectives.
  • Prioritize the social and cultural factors that affect health in designed and delivering care across multiple contexts.
Environmental Sustainability:
  • Create partnerships that promote sustainable environmental health policies and conditions.
  • Analyze and promote social, political, and economic policies that influence sustainable environments and reduce human health exposures in a global society.

M.S.- Generalist Track
This emphasis is designed for the registered nurse (RN) who desires to build a professional foundation of practice exploring a selected emphasis relevant to his or her advancement goals. While not a specialty focus, this plan allows the RN with a prior baccalaureate degree to continue to develop expertise within a desired emphasis. 
M.S.- Family Nurse Practitioner Track
This emphasis is designed for the registered nurse (RN) who has a broad base of experience who wants to expand his or her skills to provide family primary care in rural settings. The advanced practice nursing role as a primary care family nurse practitioner includes the components of knowledge and management of client and family care, professional relationships, and health care delivery systems. Upon completion of the MS-FNP track or the Post-Master’s FNP Certificate, the graduate qualifies for seeking both national and state certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner.


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