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Prepare to meet the health needs of diverse populations.


Make a difference in communities by effecting positive change in the field of healthcare with an MSN with a specialization in Public Health.

“One of the beautiful aspects of the Nursing Education program is that each course builds upon work done in the previous one.”   -Phyllis D., MSN

In this program, you will get a thorough overview of epidemiology and the role of public health in community wellness. An in-depth course in school nursing will expose you to the pivotal public health role of the school nurse, educator, advocate, and public health evaluator. Before the practicum, you will examine outpatient care with a course on case management and home health—including hospice and palliative care—to learn how the entire community collaborates for patient care.

Graduates of this program can work in public health, community health, home health, hospice and palliative care, school nursing, or case management.

This specialization equips students with:

  • Knowledge and skills to solve public health and community health problems
  • Foundations of public health theory, health care policy, and politics
  • Insight and awareness to define, assess, and drive change
  • A heightened understanding of public policies, theories, principles and their application to real-life cases

Aspen MSN (Public Health) graduates can:

  • Meet the health needs of diverse populations
  • Develop, plan, and implement primary prevention, illness prevention, and health promotion
  • Conduct community assessment, program planning, and policy development
  • Promote and preserve the health of families, aggregates, communities, and populations
  • Assume roles in-home care, schools, occupational health settings, community and global agencies
  • Cause a reduction in disease and illness through research, education and other viable solutions

Public Health Nurse vs. Community Health Nurse

Is this program for me?

If you are an RN who has completed a BSN – and need an accredited, adaptable, and affordable online MSN program – then this program is for you!

RNs who do not yet have a BSN but would like to pursue their MSN may enroll in our RN to MSN Bridge Program.

We designed our program to be completed in as little as 2 years.

Check out Aspen’s Other MSN Specializations

Admission Requirements

  • Application – A completed application.
  • Registered Nurse Licensure – Current, unrestricted licensure as a registered nurse in the United States, a US territory, or Canada. Registered nurses licensed outside of these areas are not eligible.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Official transcript demonstrating a conferred bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), from an institution that is accredited by a CHEA recognized accrediting body or an international equivalent, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater.
  • Nursing Experience – A minimum of one year of nursing experience completed within the past five years.
  • Military Documentation (Optional) – A copy of the most recent orders; or a copy of DD214 (This can be requested from the National Archives.)

Courses:

    This graduate-level course introduces students to the historical development, structure, operation, and current and future directions of the major components of the American health care delivery system. It reviews the historical evolution of the health care system's features and examines the ways in which health care services are organized and delivered, the influences that affect health care public policy decisions, factors that determine priorities for the allocation of health care resources, and the relationship of health care costs to measurable benefits. The course enables students to assess the role of organized efforts to influence health policy formulation, and the contributions of medical technology, research findings, and societal values on our evolving health care delivery system.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    Public health nurses are part of an exciting future with the potential of solving many of the health and psychosocial ailments currently affecting the population. The underlying assumption of this course is that public health nurses, who comprise a major part of the public health workforce, must take a leadership role in improving the health of our nations’ residences. Information on the use of population data and how it is used to assess, plan, monitor and evaluate is included. This course includes content on the diverse knowledge of complex health systems public health nurses must have to be able to function independently. The public health nurse must have knowledge of the impact of environment or a disaster on health. Content on the influence of policies, regulations and governmental programs is interwoven throughout the course. Emphasis is placed on the multitude of other disciplines and how the nurse must collaborate at every level to promote population health. The role of the public health in serving patients in a variety of settings is examined. A focus on how nursing serves the vulnerable or selected specific populations is also included.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate-level course provides an in-depth study of cultural diversity, delineating ethnocultural congruent health-care practices in a pluralistic society. Assessment, planning, and interventions for health promotion and maintenance, illness and disease prevention, health restoration, and health policy are explored. The course examines the meanings of health and illness across ethnocultural groups and communities.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate-level course focuses on the legal and ethical rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the practicing nurse in a changing health environment. It is intended to provide graduate nursing students with the theory, knowledge and application necessary to deal with pressing legal and ethical issues in nursing practice. Learners will develop a framework for working through increasingly complex legal and ethical issues that affect nurses. This framework and broadened perspective will help practitioners recognize and respond to dilemmas within diverse health care settings and nursing roles. This course will provide an overview of regulatory action and the legislative and judicial processes, enabling learners to become familiar with changes affecting the health care system such as patient rights, technological advances, and managed care. Within an ethical framework, ethical and professional issues affecting the individual, the practice of professional nursing, and the profession will be explored.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate level course focuses on advanced health/physical assessment and includes the comprehensive history, physical, and psychological assessment of signs and symptoms, pathophysiologic changes, and psychosocial variations of the patient (individual, family, or community).  This course will prepare students by providing an in-depth knowledge of core general assessment content, in addition to geriatric, pediatric, genetic, social, cultural, and community-specific needs.  Appropriate screening and diagnostic testing methods will also be included.  Content knowledge will be reinforced through a series of virtual reality patient encounter simulations.  This will culminate with a precepted virtual reality comprehensive physical assessment. 

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate-level course focuses on developing advanced knowledge of human pathophysiological functions and responses to altered conditions, and includes integration of this knowledge into evidenced-based nursing practice. The focus is on frequently encountered primary care conditions across the general lifespan and for special populations. This course will prepare students to function in advanced practice and nurse educator roles by providing an in-depth understanding of pathophysiologic processes, enabling the student to predict clinical manifestations, select evaluative studies, initiate appropriate therapies, and anticipate potential complications. Insights into the underlying disease process will prepare the practitioner and educator for integration of new and innovative interventions, pharmacotherapeutics, analysis of risk factors, and associated signs and symptoms. Appropriate screening and diagnostic testing methods will also be included. Emphasis will be placed on important pathophysiological concepts needed to support the goals of Healthy People 2020 to improve clients’ quality of life and reduce health disparities. Additionally, this course will address the pathophysiologic needs of communities and individuals in emergency and disaster settings.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate level course focuses on developing advanced knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacologic responses. A deeper look will be taken at cultural, social, genetic, and other issues that impact patient decisions regarding pharmacologic treatment. Students will be prepared to address common herbal and alternative therapies utilized by patients. Also included in the course is a discussion of the role of the nurse in the process of approvals for new pharmacologic treatments and in the coordination of medication distribution. Application will be made to disaster and emergency management and the role of the nurse in the multidisciplinary team under these circumstances.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This course addresses the role of the school nurse in the school and the community, including public health, other health providers, and the family. The profession of nursing, development of preschool-adolescent students, evidence-based care, care of children with common conditions, intellectual disabilities, and high-risk behavior will be examined, with respect to cultural and legal considerations. The role of the school nurse with regards to disaster planning will also be discussed.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This course provides a solid foundation in case management strategies and home health nursing concepts and interventions for individuals and targeted populations. The leadership roles of the nurse in case management and home health are explored. The impact of political, economic, social, environmental, and cultural concerns on the health of populations is examined. Standards and principles of practice for both of these specialty areas is explored. Innovation in care delivery is discussed.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate-level course in theory and research for advanced nursing practice is designed to develop and refine the knowledge and skills necessary to critique theory and research from nursing and related fields. The focus of this course is on the examination of the research process with applicability to advanced nursing practice. Emphasis is placed on the critique, evaluation, and utilization of nursing and related research that applies to advanced nursing practice and a comprehensive approach to care. Ethical and technological aspects of scholarly inquiry are explored. This course supports the development of the research design, theoretical framework, methods of analysis, and creating an abstract for the capstone project proposal.

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    This graduate level course focuses on the implementation of the specialist nurse role through the application of theoretical concepts and strategies for a selected learner population in an academic, legal, or clinical setting. Emphasis is on effective communication and sensitivity to varying needs of the learner based on cultural and educational background. The specialist nurse role will be analyzed and applied in collaboration with a master's prepared nurse preceptor with experience in the specialty. Evidence-based strategies will be developed into a comprehensive activity or teaching plan to engage learners in active learning and implemented to meet mutually determined outcomes. Activities might include, but are not limited to: creating toolkit of resource references, developing a PowerPoint®   or Prezi® for presentation, creating a survey to measure satisfaction with activity, attending professional meetings, writing a publishable article, presenting a topic to patients, creating a webinar, delivering a training module to staff nurses, developing software to meet a need, creating a Review of Literature, developing an advocacy agenda, or proposing a change in process or procedure. This course requires 180 hours of Nursing Education practicum experience within a practice environment and must include inter-professional collaboration and a minimum of 20 hours of direct-care experience. PLEASE NOTE: PRIOR to registering for this class, all required practicum documents must be submitted to the Nursing Practicum Center classroom and approved by the NP Coordinator. Please contact npcoordinator@aspen.edu if you have questions. 

    3 Credits
    Required Books

    The purpose of this individualized learning experience is to enable you to develop an original comprehensive nursing research project on a topic of professional or personal interest. This project-based course is intended to enable you to research, design and develop a substantial original applied project of your own authorship. This project is intended to encourage the application of theories, principles, and processes that you have studied in the Aspen graduate courses to an actual nursing related problem or issue of interest and relevance to you in your professional activities. PLEASE NOTE: Students cannot start the Capstone concurrently with the Practicum, as the Capstone is based upon the data collected from the Practicum.

    3 Credits
    Required Books
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