Oct 23, 2021  
2020-2021 Rivier Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Rivier Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Science in Nursing Programs

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Master of Science in Nursing Programs

The Master of Science degree curriculum is designed to provide a foundation of philosophical, ethical and scientific knowledge, which provides for the functional and ethical manifestations of caring, and upon which the competencies of advanced nursing rest. The curriculum and instructional processes reflect educational and nursing theory throughout all tracks of the MS Program. Coherent organization of educational practices integrates general education concepts through the widespread use of powerful, interactive, and collaborative instructional methods. Nursing education has grown through innovation and the Rivier University Division of Nursing and Health Professions emphasizes flexible high quality programs that are on the cutting edge. In addition to the nursing theorists of Watson (1988), Roche (2002), Benner (1984), and Brykczynski (1985), the educational theories of Knowles Adult Learning Theory (2005), Bloom (1956), Anderson, (1995), Boyer (1990) guide the instructional processes. The program offers a Master of Science degree with a major in Nursing in four areas of concentration:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner Track (FNP)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track (Cohort Model) (PMHNP)
  • Nursing Education Track (NE)
  • Nursing Leadership Track (NL)

The Family Nurse Practitioner track prepares graduates to function in an advanced practice role in primary care. Graduates are qualified to sit for national nurse practitioner certification examinations.

The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track prepares graduates for advanced practice mental-health psychiatric nursing of patient populations across the lifespan. Graduates are qualified to sit for national certification examinations. This track is offered as a cohort, low-residency model.

The Nursing Education track prepares graduates to teach in all areas of health care delivery, including schools of nursing, acute care facilities, and other healthcare settings. Graduates of the Nursing Education track are eligible to sit for national certification through the National League for Nursing (NLN) once they have met the requisite work experience requirements.

The Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Management track prepares nurses for supervisory and management responsibilities in all practice environments, building the necessary skills for leadership career tracks. Nurse leaders facilitate and deliver quality patient care while coordinating workflow and managing nursing care. All tracks can be completed on a full or part-time basis.

There are three entry options for all tracks. The Traditional Entry Option is designed for baccalaureate prepared Registered Nurses. The Bridge Entry Option is for experienced Registered Nurses who have earned a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than nursing. The RN-MS Entry Option is for experienced Registered Nurses with an AS degree in nursing who wish to pursue a Master’s Degree in either Family Nursing, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, Nursing Education or Nursing Leadership.

Post-Master’s Certificate Programs

In addition to the Master’s Degree Program, certificate programs for nurses with master’s degrees in nursing are available to qualified applicants for Family Nursing, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, and Nursing Education. Applicants to post-master’s certificate programs are reminded that, in light of rapidly changing criteria for certification, it is the student’s responsibility to determine which courses taken at Rivier University may qualify them to take national certifying examinations.

All tracks, including the Post-Master’s certificate option, meet role expectations and follow established professional standards, curriculum guidelines, and advanced nursing competencies as delineated in The Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Competencies, the NLN Nurse Educator Competencies, the Association of Nurse Educators (ACNE) and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Core Competencies for Nurse Practitioners. The students have sufficient didactic and clinical experiences to meet role expectation and certification requirements. The learning activities, instructional materials and evaluation methods are appropriate for the delivery format and consistent with student learning outcomes.

State-of-the-art nursing skills and simulation laboratories are equipped with a wide array of patient-care equipment, manikins and interactive learning systems.

*Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, Georgia, 30326
(404) 975-5000

Program Entry Paths

  1. Earned Baccalaureate Degree from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program in nursing option.
  2. (Bridge Option) non-Nursing Baccalaureate Degree option for experienced Registered Nurses with an Associates Degree in Nursing, and a Baccalaureate Degree in a field other than nursing. Candidates must show evidence of basic nursing preparation from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program.
  3. (RN-MS Option) Associate Degree in Nursing and currently working as a Registered Nurse. Candidates must show evidence of basic nursing preparation from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program, have a minimum of two years (full-time or equivalent) RN experience, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and prepare a Professional Portfolio documenting mastery of BA competencies.
  4. (APRN Completion) Master’s Degree Completion Program Option designed for nationally certified advanced practice registered nurses actively practicing, to complete the Master’s degree in nursing. Candidates must show evidence of basic nursing preparation from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program.
  5. Post-Master’s certificate programs offer a variety of individualized program options to qualified applicants. Post-Master’s Certificate programs in nursing vary in content and length of study based on individual needs. For information on these programs, contact the Division of Nursing and Health Professions.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Master of Science in Nursing should follow the general guidelines listed in the Admission Process section of this catalog. In addition, applicants must meet the following specific requirements:

  • Complete the “course of study choice” form
  • Sign the clinical practicum form
  • Provide a copy of RN license for state where practicum will be completed (a NH RN license is required for all FNP students by first practicum)
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Provide a “Statement of Purpose ” outlining goals
  • Provide two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from an individual in a nursing leadership position
  • Provide evidence of an undergraduate statistics course
  • RN-MS candidates must show documentation of two years (full-time or equivalent) RN experience and prepare a Professional Portfolio documenting mastery of BS competencies. 

Once all above documents have been received, the application will be reviewed for eligibility (minimum GPA of 3.0, nursing experience and quality of application).

Student Learning Outcomes

The graduate faculty use Benner’s (1984) framework as modified by Brykcznski (1985) as set forth in the curriculum guidelines published by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). These modifications reflect advanced nursing practice by replacing the Diagnostic and Monitoring Function and Administering and Monitoring Therapeutic Interventions and Regimens with a single domain of Management of Patient Health/Illness in Ambulatory Care Settings. Graduates of the Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner tracks are qualified to sit for the certification exams in their respective areas. 

Additionally, the graduate faculty acknowledge the importance of Knowles (2005) framework in that the adult learner is more of an independent, self-directed learner who has accumulated a growing reservoir of previous experience that serves as a rich resource for learning. In addition, as Knowles identifies, the perspective of time changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to one of immediate application; there is a shift in orientation of learning to being problem centered rather than subject centered. Graduates of the Master of Science Degree Program in Nursing are prepared to function as advanced practice nurses in various settings. Graduates of the Nurse Educator track are qualified to sit for the National League for Nursing Certification Exam (CNE) once the teaching requirements are complete.
Master’s degree graduates should be able to:

  • Analyze multiple dimensions of patient centered care including patient/family/community preferences and values, as well as social, cultural, ethical, psychological and spiritual context.
  • Analyze potential and actual impact of national patient safety resources, initiatives and regulations on systems and practice. Monitor self, peers and delivery system through Quality Assurance and Total Quality Management at part of continuous Quality Improvement.
  • Evaluate/apply research findings and results appropriately in nursing, i.e. practice, education, theory, research.
  • Utilize patient care technologies to deliver and enhance care and communication technologies to integrate and coordinate care.
  • Develop inter- and intra-collaborative relationships with professionals in other disciples to improve health care systems.
  • Advocate for health policy change in establishing performance measures and standards related to quality principles within health care systems.


Rivier has an ongoing assessment process. Program Learning Outcomes are clearly defined at the program level and the difference between course and program assessment is clear. Learning Outcomes assessment refers to direct and indirect measures of student learning. This is different from the measure of individual student performance to evaluate the student. Instead, student learning assessment consists of collecting data on student learning in the aggregate to determine how effective the programs and courses are. The DON uses a number of direct measures of student learning in their various programs, to include course quizzes and examinations; standardized exams, such as the HESI; portfolios; pre- and post-tests; writing samples; presentations; demonstrations and evaluations of clinical and preceptorship performances, to provide formative assessment data. Other measures, such as student surveys and course evaluations, offer indirect measures that can support direct measures. 

Student learning is assessed at the completion of the program to provide summative data by which to determine the effectiveness of the program. Program level outcomes are not just an accumulation of course learning outcomes. Rather, they reflect a synthesis, or a holistic picture, of what is expected of students completing the nursing program. National certification pass rates, student exit interviews, alumni and employer satisfaction and program completion rates all provide a wealth of data, and demonstrate that Division of Nursing and Health Professions programs provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality nursing care in this complex and dynamic health care arena.

Progression/Retention Requirements (matriculated and non-matriculated students)

Graduate level study in nursing requires high academic standards. It is the responsibility of the program to assure the public of the competence of its graduates in advanced nursing roles.

  • Students are required to achieve no grade less than a B in any individual course and to maintain no less than a B (3.0) grade point average throughout the graduate program.
  • If a student earns one grade lower than B in a theory course, the student will be placed on academic probation for the following semester, and must repeat the theory course.
  • If the single grade lower than B reduces the student’s grade point average to less than 3.0, the student must re-establish a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 by the end of the probationary semester.


  • A single grade of F will result in the student being dismissed from the program regardless of grade point average.
  • A second course grade lower than B will result in the student being dismissed from the program, regardless of grade point average.

Additional Requirements/Information

  • Students may take three courses (9 credits) from a list of specified courses prior to matriculating.
  • Students must follow their Program of Studies when registering for courses. If students wish to make a change to their Program of Studies, they must request the change in writing to the Graduate Nursing Education Program Director.
  • Students must complete clinical/practicum requirements four months prior to practicum courses.
  • Part-time study options are available for both degree and certificate programs.  

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