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Article
Past, present, and future trends of master's education in nursing
Journal of Professional Nursing
  • Sally O Gerard, Fairfield University
  • Meredith Wallace Kazer, Fairfield University
  • Lynn M. Babington
  • Theresa T. Quell
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2014
Abstract
Nurses interested in pursuing careers in advanced practice are now being educated at the doctoral level through new Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree programs. In light of this shift , master’s programs for advanced practice nurses are in a tenuous position, and it is questionable whether the remaining master’s level educational programs are meeting the needs of consumers, healthcare institutions and students. Given the great need for clinical leadership in healthcare, it is essential to re-examine master’s nursing education to ensure that educational institutions are meeting the needs of graduate nursing students, consumers and health care systems. Research supports that the master’s prepared nurse of the future must be proficient in the development and management of accountable care systems using state-of-the-art technology. In addition, interprofessional models show to improvement in health care delivery and health outcomes. The current demands in healthcare that impact nursing education will be discussed, including the movement toward interprofessional education and the broadened expertise, required of master’s prepared nurses working in an era of healthcare reform. While cademic medical centers are actively advancing toward an interprofessional model, the majority of nurses in this country are educated in private and community settings. This article will examine the move toward interprofessional education at a private university, utilizing clinical partnerships to a revise the master’s program. The goal of this revision is to empower students with the expertise required in today’s healthcare environment to improve the delivery of care. The recent Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing states that nurses must achieve higher levels of education and training in response to … “increasing [healthcare] demands” (IOM, 2010, p. 2). This statement comes at a pivotal time in nursing education. Nurses interested in pursuing careers in advanced practice are now being educated at the doctoral level through new Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree programs. In light of this shift, master’s programs in nursing are in a tenuous position, and it is questionable whether the remaining master’s level educational programs (healthcare management, nursing education and clinical nurse leader [CNL]) are meeting the needs of consumers, healthcare institutions and students. The 2008 RN Survey conducted by the Bureau of Health Professions indicated that 19.2 percent of RNs who earned a masters degree enrolled in programs with a focus in administration, business, or management, 13.3 percent focused on education, and 5.9 percent earned Public Health degrees (Bureau of Health Professions, 2010). Dr. Patricia S. Yoder-Wise, President of the Council on Graduate Education for Administration of Nursing, summarized the situation by stating, “ the absence of a nursing master’s option could have unintended consequences of moving nurses in leadership roles to other fields to secure a master’s degree. This further dilutes the knowledge needed to be highly effective in leading and managing the nursing team.” She further states that “eliminating the master’s in nursing as part of the education progression could be counterproductive to patients and the profession” (Yoder-Wise, 2011, p. 258). Given the great need for clinical leadership in healthcare, it is essential to re-examine master’s nursing education to ensure that educational institutions are meeting the needs of graduate nursing students, consumers and health care systems. Globally, there is a strong call for developing models of interprofessional education and practice. Research supports that interprofessional models will lead to improvements in health care delivery and health outcomes (IPEC, 2011). The purpose of this article is to review master’s education in nursing from the past to present, to enhance understanding of the various types of educational programs that have developed over time, and how society has influenced this development. The current demands in healthcare with potential to impact nursing education will be discussed, including the movement toward interprofessional education and the broadened expertise expectedof master’s prepared nurses working in an era of healthcare reform. Based on the educationalhistory and the current needs of nurses in the present healthcare environment, the future of master's nursing education will be envisioned. The article concludes by presenting one curricular model for a Master’s in nursing program that meets the need for highly skilled nurse leaders in the 21st century.
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Copyright 2014 W.B. Saunders/Elsevier

Published Citation
Gerard, Sally O., Meredith W. Kazer, Lynn Babington, and Theresa T. Quell. "Past, present, and future trends of master's education in nursing." Journal of Professional Nursing 30, no. 4 (2014): 326-332.
DOI
10.1016/j.profnurs.2014.01.005
Citation Information
Sally O Gerard, Meredith Wallace Kazer, Lynn M. Babington and Theresa T. Quell. "Past, present, and future trends of master's education in nursing" Journal of Professional Nursing Vol. 30 Iss. 4 (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sally_gerard/8/