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Master’s Program in Nursing

Become A Transformative Nurse at VCU School of Nursing

Ranked in the top 10% of nursing graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report, the Master’s Degree Program at VCU School of Nursing provides a world-class learning experience that prepare nurses to become leaders in advanced practice nursing. The Master’s Program provides nurses with a solid foundation in the specialized knowledge and advanced practice skills that are needed to care for diverse patient populations with complex health problems across the health-illness continuum. In addition, students partner with interprofessional groups to develop expertise in team-based, patient- centered health care, while also gaining valuable leadership and collaborative skills. The curriculum at VCU prepares graduates who can engage in transformative nursing not only as leaders who are committed to nursing excellence but as practitioners who are committed to the health and well being of the patients they serve.

Jeremy KellemsIn the picture to the right, Jeremy Kellems, a master's degree student in the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration, examines a patient under the guidance of his preceptor, Lana Sargent, M.S.N., RN, FNP-C, GNP-BC, assistant professor.

Why VCU School of Nursing?

  • The curriculum mirrors the changing state of health care in the U. S.
  • A distinctive educational experience working with highly qualified faculty who are not only nationally renowned educators, researchers, and professional leaders at both state and national levels but also expert clinicians who maintain active clinical practices.
  • Flexibility with opportunities for both full-time and part-time study.
  • Competency-based application of knowledge through simulation activities in our state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Center.
  • Partnership with the nationally recognized VCU Health System, including the VCU Medical Center – a Level 1 Trauma Center with Magnet status.
  • Affiliations with health care systems across the Commonwealth of Virginia that provide a vast array of clinical experiences ranging from management of patients in intensive care units to community-based clinics.
  • Individualized clinical experiences working “hands-on” with highly qualified clinical preceptors who are committed to the professional growth of our students.
  • The opportunity to learn at a National League for Nursing (ACEN)-accredited School of Nursing that is located in a state of the art learning facility that opened in 2007.

VCU School of Nursing offers both direct and indirect patient care concentrations. Our direct patient care concentrations are focused on two roles: Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist. Nurse practitioner concentrations include Family, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health. Our Clinical Nurse Specialist concentration is Adult-Gerontology. One indirect patient care concentration is offered in Nursing Administration and Leadership.

Merdedes Tara

In the picture to the left, Mercedes Tarongoy, a master's degree student in the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner concentration, performs her clinicals in the VCU Medical Center with preceptor Tim McGranahan, RN, ACNP, one of our long-time preceptors.

As you decide on the advanced practice role and patient population that is right for you, keep in mind that each concentration has separate national consensus-based competencies and separate certification processes. Nurse Practitioners are prepared to diagnose and treat patients with undifferentiated symptoms as well as those with established diagnoses. Primary Care NPs focus on health promotion and disease prevention while Acute Care NPs provide acute and critical care management of patients who are physiologically unstable, technologically dependent, and highly vulnerable to complications. NPs assume responsibility for ordering, performing, supervising, and interpreting results from laboratory or other diagnostic testing, prescribing medications and durable medical equipment, and making appropriate treatment referrals. NPs also incorporate health promotion, disease prevention, health education, and counseling in their practice to enhance the health and well-being of patients and families.1 The CNS has a unique advanced practice role focused on integrating care across the health-illness continuum through three spheres of influence: the patient, the nurse, and the health care system. The CNS is recognized as a clinical expert in a specialized area of nursing practice and in the delivery of evidence-based nursing care. CNSs works with other nurses to advance nursing practice, improve patient outcomes, and promote system-wide changes that will insure high quality and safe patient care. Although this role was originally developed in hospital settings, CNSs now practice in a variety of acute and non-acute care settings.2

1APRN Consensus Work Group & the National Council of State Boards of Nursing APRN Advisory Committee. (2008, July). Consensus model for APRN regulation, licensure, accreditation, certification & education. Retrieved from https://www.ncsbn.org/Consensus_Model_for_APRN_Regulation_July_2008.pdf

2National CNS Competency Task Force. (2010). Executive summary,2006-2008: Clinical nurse specialist core competencies. Retrieved from http://www.nacns.org/docs/CNSCoreCompetenciesBroch.pdf

VCU School of Nursing offers a plan of study for RNs who have a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a post-master’s certificate for RNs with a master of science degree in nursing who seek eligibility to apply for national certification in a designated concentration.

Direct Care Advanced Practice Concentrations in the Master’s Program

Primary Care

Acute Care

Indirect Care Concentrations in the Master’s Program

More Information

For additional information about the VCU Master’s Program and questions about the application process, please contact the VCU School of Nursing Office of Enrollment and Student Services (OESS) at VCU_Nurse@vcu.edu. or call 804-828-5171. We look forward to working with you as you consider the educational opportunities at VCU School of Nursing.