School of Nursing
Donna Callaghan, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, CNE
Director, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Program
Office of Graduate Enrollment Management
Master's Degrees in Nursing
Nurse leaders never stop learning.
As the marketplace continues to demand more of nurses, career RNs are finding that they must keep growing as clinicians in order to remain competitive. Widener's School of Nursing can help you build upon your clinical experiences while also preparing you to transition into leadership roles in a number of settings.
Widener offers three MSN programs for registered nurses who already hold a bachelor's of science in nursing:
- Adult Health-Gerontology: This program provides certification as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) clinical nurse specialist (CNS), with an emphasis on health promotion/disease prevention, concepts of illness care and clinical decision making based on evidence-based practices.
- Adult Health-Gerontology with Emergency/Critical Care: MSN students can add an adult emergency/critical care specialty onto the adult health-gerontology CNS program, which enables them to provide expert nursing care for critically ill individuals and those experiencing health emergencies.
- Family Nurse Practitioner: In this track, nurses are trained as advanced practice clinicians who provide primary care for individuals and families through a holistic approach to family health management.
Graduates of Widener's master's degree programs are eligible to sit for certification examinations as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as an adult-gerontology (population) clinical specialist (role). In addition, graduates may sit for specialty certifications above and beyond the APRN certifications.
In addition to the degree programs, post-master's (PM) certificates are available for each APRN role.
Note: Registered nurses who have a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than nursing can take advantage of our RN to MSN Option, a series of three courses that upon completion will make you eligible for our MSN programs.
The 39-41 credit advanced practice CNS role may be completed in 18 to 24 months of full or part-time including summer. Core courses for the CNS role are offered on both the Harrisburg and Main campuses. A minimum 500 hours of faculty supervised advanced practice is required.
The 46-credit Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program may be completed on either the Harrisburg or Main campuses in 20 months of full-time study or 24 months part-time study including summer. A minimum of 672 hours of advanced clinical practice is required.