Degree Overview

Master of Science in Nursing — Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN Option)

Your patients’ health and well-being—and the health and well-being of entire populations—depend on smart decisions. And smart decisions depend on you and your colleagues having the right information—and knowing how to use it. That’s where nursing informatics comes in.

Informatics nurse specialists play an integral role in boosting the level of care at a healthcare facility. An outstanding nurse informatics specialist combines nursing science with the ability to manage, analyze, and communicate knowledge and wisdom to drive better patient outcomes. They support evidence-based practice and policies backed by data—policies designed to improve the care of individuals and diverse populations.

These skills can help lead a changing healthcare industry in ways that are better for consumers, providers, patients, and populations.

You can go from RN to MSN and take your nursing career to the next level. Become a nursing informaticist online at WGU!

Who the Program is For:

You’re a nurse. You’re busy. You’re committed to your patients, to your team, and to your career—and you want a master’s degree that will give you the tools to be your very best and that you can earn in a way that fits a nurse’s lifestyle.

You need flexibility in scheduling and organizing your academic work. You need to be able to study on your schedule at a pace personalized for your demanding lifestyle. And most importantly, you need a program that is respected by employers and provides contemporary knowledge you will use immediately. Quality plus flexibility: That’s what WGU’s CCNE-accredited* MSN–Nursing Informatics program provides.

This program is designed for:

  • Registered nurses (RNs) with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and a current, unencumbered RN license who wish to move into nursing informatics.
  • Individuals who can typically spend 15 or more hours per week on their studies.
  • Nurses who love numbers almost as much as they love their patients.

While you should plan to commit 20 hours a week to your studies, the degree program is flexible and adaptable to your schedule. Learn how this program works.

What You'll Learn

Essential Knowledge and Skills

First things first: What is nursing informatics? Simply put, it’s the juncture of information technology, medical practice, and medical research. It uses data, statistics, and research to make smart decisions that improve healthcare.

In a survey of 576 healthcare professionals, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society found that respondents overwhelmingly felt informatics nurses had a significant impact on the quality of care patients receive, especially on implementation, optimization, workflow, and patient safety.

First, you’ll become an expert in all areas of study required by the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Then, you’ll learn to collect, manage, and analyze data to communicate crucial information and make important decisions. That’s not to say it’s all about math: It’s about interpreting and analyzing data, not crunching numbers.

This program consists of 150 competency units (CUs, our equivalent to the traditional credit hour), including a capstone project.

Key Subject Areas

In addition to the core undergraduate nursing courses, these courses add to your credentials:

These general education assessments may be cleared through transfer credit:

  • Applied Healthcare Statistics
  • English Composition I
  • Survey of United States Constitution and Government
  • Introduction to Communication
  • Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Introduction to Humanities
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Biochemistry

BSN Core and MSN Bridge*

  • Care of the Older Adult
  • Health Assessment
  • Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Health and Wellness through Nutritional Science
  • Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership
  • Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing Field Experience
  • Advanced Information Management and the Application of Technology*
  • Advanced Professional Roles and Values*
  • Professional Presence and Influence*
  • Translational Research for Practice and Populations*

MSN Core

  • Organizational Leadership and Interprofessional Team Development
  • Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Comprehensive Health Assessment for Patients and Populations
  • Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience
  • Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends

Nursing Informatics Specialization

  • Foundations in Nursing Informatics

  • Data Science and Analytics

  • System Analysis and Design

  • Data Modeling & Database Management

  • Nursing Informatics Field Experience

  • Nursing Informatics Capstone

Inter-Professional Leadership & Communication in Healthcare

The first course you take in this program will be unlike any other you complete at WGU. Inter-Professional Leadership & Communication in Healthcare requires participation in online group meetings with faculty and fellow students. Multiple group options are available, so you will work with your enrollment counselor or mentor to determine the group whose schedule works best for you. Learn more about this unique course and how to prepare for it >>

Field Experience and Capstone Project

WGU’s master’s degree in Nursing Informatics includes a simulation-based field experience and a capstone project both designed to showcase what you’ve learned throughout the program. These projects will include work that you will complete in the real-world clinic or facility where you are employed.

How It Works

A Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule

WGU Tennessee is designed to let you go to school on your time, not according to a class schedule. Our online degree program is flexible and puts you at the center of your education: you choose when and where to complete your coursework. Once you demonstrate your competency in a subject area, you can move on to your next course.

Online learning is not easy.

You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. Still, your program will be flexible enough to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

How Long Will It Take?

It Depends On You

The average time it takes to complete the RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics online degree program at WGU is 2.5 to 3 years. That’s significantly less than at other online schools.

Many students proceed faster than the normal pace designed into each program. But don’t assume doing so is easy. WGU programs are quite rigorous. The pace at which you complete your WGU program depends upon how quickly you are able to take and pass the required assessments. Successful students who commit 15 hours or more per week to their studies are often able to complete their programs more quickly.

Ultimately, the pace at which you complete your online RN to MSN nursing program depends on how rapidly you pass assessments.

It’s your program. It’s up to you. Create your own schedule, choose your pace and achieve your personal goals.

"Our partnership with WGU enables our employees to advance their education affordably without interrupting their careers." John Steele, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hospital Corporation of America

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

Western Governors University was the first university in the country to employ a cutting edge, competency-based learning model that lets you use skills and knowledge you already have to accelerate your degree program.

In WGU's online degree programs, students advance by demonstrating their competence in each subject area. You’ll be able to move quickly through material you already know so you can spend your time focusing on what you still need to learn.

  • You’ll work with your assigned Faculty Mentor on a personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you move through the program.

  • With few exceptions, you’ll be able to choose when and where you study.

  • You’ll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.

  • You’ll collaborate with your Faculty Mentor to determine the learning resources that will help you develop and demonstrate your competency in each subject area.

  • You’ll be required to complete at least 12 CUs per term for bachelor's degree programs and 8 CUs per term for graduate degree programs in order to make On Time Progress. If you choose to and are able, you can add courses and move more quickly through your program.

How Much Will It Cost?

Less Than You Think

We're committed to keeping tuition low and making sure our online education degree programs remain the very best value for hardworking students. WGU doesn't spend money on classrooms, research facilities, or football stadiums. Instead, we focus on keeping costs low. In fact, we haven’t increased tuition since 2008. And because we charge tuition at a flat-rate each term, if you complete coursework ahead of schedule, you can save yourself money as well as time.

 

You pay for time—not credits

  • No matter how many courses you complete each term, your tuition stays the same.

  • The more courses you complete each term, the fewer terms you have until graduation.

  • Our competency-based model gives you the opportunity to accelerate your progress.

  • If you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

Cost of Earning a Degree

You’ll pay the same low tuition each 6-month term, regardless of how many courses you complete. If you accelerate your degree program, you’ll pay less for your degree.

Tuition and Fees

For this program, a full-time course load is 12 competency units in a term during your bachelor’s degree coursework; 8 competency units per term during graduate-level coursework. Because we allow you to complete extra courses at no extra cost, you may be able to increase the value of your program by dedicating extra time to your studies.

  • $3,250: Tuition per 6-Month Term
  • $145: Resource Fee per 6-Month Term
  • $350: One-Time Nursing Program Fee
  • $42: Criminal Background Check Fee

The RN to MSN in Informatics online degree program at WGU is designed to be affordable for hard-working adults with bills to pay.

Learn more about tuition and fees.

WGU Is Half The Cost

WGU's Master of Science Nursing degree program in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN Option) is typically about half the cost of other equally reputable nursing programs.

Financial Aid

You Can Afford to Earn a Degree

WGU's financial aid experts are on hand to help you finance your education in the smartest way possible. 76% of WGU students receive some type of financial aid.

Federal Financial Aid is available to most students.

Respected, Recognized, and Accredited

Northwest Commission Accredited

Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major universities in the West, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and the University of Utah, among many others. Learn more about accreditation here.

CCNE Accredited

The bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).

An online degree in healthcare from WGU tells employers that you're serious about success.

Take the next step into a prosperous future.

WGU Graduates Succeed

Become a Success Story

Our latest survey of leading employers speaks volumes about our ability to prepare grads to work in many industries:

94%

of employers said WGU grads exceed expectations.

93%

of employers rated WGU graduates’ job performance as very good or excellent.

100%

of employers consider WGU graduates prepared for their jobs.

98%

of employers said they would hire another WGU graduate.

Note: 2016 Survey of Employers by Harris Poll

You can learn more about how employers view WGU grads by exploring our National Student Success and Performance Data.

"The big draw was the fact that it was online. I could work at my own pace." James Dye,
WGU Alumnus

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

You set your own pace by demonstrating your skills. In the online degree programs at WGU Tennessee, you'll advance through each course by first mastering the course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that measure your knowledge and skills in each subject area.

These rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments, and projects) let you demonstrate your competence in each subject area in order to pass the course and earn competency units (CUs), our equivalent to the traditional credit hour.

WGU Tennessee sets a high standard, and we want our students to succeed. You'll be given ample opportunity to master the subject matter and re-take assessments as needed in order to graduate.

Get Started

Enrollment is easy. View our Enrollment Checklist for the easy steps to getting started.

Applicants must possess a current, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license. Applicants must be actively working as an RN at the time of application and enrollment.

See More about College of Health Professions Admission Requirements

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor and Apply Today

You'll be on your way to a successful career. A world of opportunity awaits.

Request Info Apply Now Returning Grads

Question and Answer

Select a question from the left, see the answer to the right.

How does WGU keep its tuition so low?

As a nonprofit university, WGU doesn’t need to benefit shareholders. Our students are our main concern. We also try to keep our operating costs low. And since we’re an exclusively online university, we don’t need to maintain expensive classroom buildings, a campus, and other non-academic programs. 

Should I consider financial aid?

Using financial aid is a personal decision. When making this decision, you should know that a degree is a great investment in yourself that will pay for itself many times over. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn on average almost a million dollars more over the course their careers compared to those without one. A master’s degree typically has a similar impact on your wallet. You should definitely consider federal financial aid if it means the difference between getting your degree or not. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to learn more.

 

Is WGU Tennessee a good fit for you?

Take the quiz

Schema Markup for WGU Tennessee Logo

You’re using an unsupported version of your browser..

You’ll still have full access to the site, but some functionality may be lost. For the best wgu.edu experience, upgrade your browser by following the links below.

×