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Penn Nursing > Administration Programs > Prospective Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Often students have questions regarding which program might best prepare them for a career in their field of interest.  The following FAQs have been developed for your reference:

 1.    What is the difference between a master’s degree in Nursing and Healthcare Administration (NADM) and a master in Health Leadership (HLMP) degree?  In what fields do most graduates work?

Not only do the programs differ in length but they are designed to educationally prepare students in different ways.  The NADM program is 14.5 course units in length representing 15 courses preparing students for careers in operations management, project management and healthcare consulting.  In addition to courses in leadership development, research and systems thinking, additional requisite content includes financial management, strategic planning, quality improvement and patient safety processes.  The NADM program culminates in an administrative practicum with a nursing administrator/leader or consultant.  Students also complete 3-4 courses either at the Wharton School of Business or in Organizational Dynamics.  Most graduates plan on working as an executive or consultant in a healthcare organization. 

The Health Leadership program is 12 course units in length enabling students to take 8 courses in the School of Nursing (2 as Leadership electives) and 4 courses in any School within the University.  This program is designed to develop a nurse leader in myriad fields including health policy, nursing education, healthcare consulting, quality management, global health and can most flexibly combine with dual degree acquisition e.g., Master in Public Health, Master in Bioethics, Master in Law etc.  In addition to leadership development, research and systems thinking, coursework focuses on health policy and nursing history with the remainder of the curriculum individually designed based on career interests.  Graduates work as nurse educators either in healthcare organizations or in academic settings, healthcare consultants, project managers, quality improvement leaders, and as health policy advocates in addition to many other fields.  Some students choose to combine areas of focus within this degree e.g., a minor in nursing administration and in organizational dynamics. The HLMP program does not require students to complete a practicum although one is possible depending upon the area of study.

2.    Can I enter either of these graduate programs at any term?

Although it is ideal to start in the fall term since we encourage most students to take N748: Leadership Development in Healthcare as their first course, it is easily possible to begin at any term. Plans of study will be mutually developed with your program faculty advisor and may be altered throughout the program.

 3.    How do I choose which business electives or courses to take outside of the School of Nursing?

Once accepted to these programs, you will be assigned a program faculty advisor who meets with you each term to refine your plan of study based on your evolving career interests.  Most part-time students do not begin taking an elective until after completing one year in the program.  Program faculty advisors maintain a working knowledge of the coursework available in other disciplines.

 4.     How long will it take me to complete these graduate programs and can I work while attending classes?

Both full-time and part-time plans of study are available to students.  Full-time students usually work only on a part-time basis if possible.  Most part-time students are working in full-time positions and, if in the NADM program, negotiate vacation time to schedule their administrative practicum or extend their practicum over 2 consecutive terms.  The administrative practicum is typically 16 hours/week over 14 weeks but students may arrange, with their executive preceptor, to work in a more or less concentrated fashion as possible. The NADM program may be completed in 18 months on a full-time basis or between 2-3 years on a part-time basis depending upon whether you take 1 or 2 courses/term. The HLMP program can be completed in 12 months on a full-time basis and in approximately 2 years on a part-time basis.  Students have 5 years to complete either degree and although most students take courses each term, some occasionally take one term without registering for coursework.

 5.    Do all classes meet on campus and where would I complete my fieldwork or practicum?

All classes are offered on campus with a growing number being scheduled in an “executive” fashion e.g., 2-3 days in an all-day class and then off for a number of weeks or in a blended online/in-class manner (some classes offered in an asynchronous online format with in-person classes interspersed).  Fieldwork projects and administrative practicums are usually offered locally but can be developed in a different geographical region as negotiated with the program director.