News Brief - 12/14/16 New online degree program will prepare RNs and BSNs for specialist role KENT WGU Washington is now accepting applications for a new online master’s degree program aimed at preparing nurses to better analyze and interpret data in healthcare. Designed in collaboration with industry experts, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nursing Informatics program provides the advanced training graduates need for a rewarding career as specialists in the field of nursing informatics. Offered through WGU Washington’s College of Health Professions, the nursing informatics master’s degree program trains graduates to prepare, gather, document and analyze data that will serve as a foundation for decision-making. Developed to support students in applying their understanding of nursing informatics to real-world situations, the program will equip students to use information and communication technologies to deliver and coordinate care across multiple settings. Students can start the MSN Nursing Informatics program as early as Feb. 1, 2017 and have the option of going through one of two academic tracks. The first track is for registered nurses (RNs) with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and a current RN license who wish to move into nursing informatics. This RN to MSN option will build on the foundation of previous nursing education at the associate or diploma levels. The second option, BSN to MSN, is available for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) and a current RN license who wish to move into nursing administration. The BSN portion of the degree focuses on contemporary nursing practice and the development of skills and competencies using technology-based learning. The master of science portion of the degree prepares graduates for the field of nursing informatics. “In today's healthcare industry, there is an increased need for nurses who understand clinical practice and how to integrate that knowledge into information systems to support the delivery of safe, efficient and quality healthcare," said Dr. Jan Jones-Schenk, WGU's national director of nursing. "This new program will enable students to apply systems-thinking strategies to bring clinical practice and wisdom together with relevant information management technologies to improve care delivery.” The MSN Nursing Informatics program, like all WGU Washington programs, is online and competency-based, which allows working professionals to apply what they already know to move more quickly through their coursework. Competency-based learning allows students to study and learn on their own schedules, completing courses as soon as they demonstrate proficiency in the subject matter. When paired with WGU Washington’s affordable tuition, this flexibility provides students with the opportunity to earn a recognized, accredited degree on a busy schedule and tight budget.