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Below is the course of study for Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist. We also provide a plan of study for full-time and part-time students.

Core courses (4 course units):

Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Nursing Practice

Advanced principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics are applied to the nursing care of individuals across the life-stage spectrum. It focuses on the content and knowledge employed by the advanced practice registered nurse in the management of various conditions and disease states. The course builds on the pharmacology knowledge base acquired in the baccalaureate nursing program. The advanced pharmacology and therapeutics of several common diseases or conditions found in the acute care and primary care setting is presented. This is supplemented with pharmacotherapy modules to meet program specific needs.

Advanced Developmental Physiology and Pathophysiology

This course will address advanced human embryology, physiology and pathophysiology. Biochemical genetics and the genetic basis of disease will be discussed. Normal fetal development and physiology of organ systems will be used as the foundation for understanding the pathophysiology of disease across the lifespan.

And one of the following two courses:

Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice

This course is designed to advance students’ understanding of the research process, methods of scientific inquiry, and analytical techniques. Students acquire knowledge of systematic approaches used by scientists to design and conduct studies. Course content prepares students to appraise quantitative and qualitative research, and evaluate the scientific merit and clinical significance of research for translation into practice. Evidence-based guidelines are examined and rated for strength of evidence and expert consensus using evidence grading systems and defined criteria. Students engage in variety of creative learning experiences to facilitate appreciative inquiry, clinical reasoning, and evidence-based practice. Quality improvement, comparative effectiveness analyses, information science, and electronic health systems technology demonstrate the capacity for measurement and surveillance of nursing-sensitive and other outcomes used to evaluate quality nursing care and test interventions. Ethical, legal and health policy implications for research are explored. This course serves as the basis for scientific inquiry about human experiences to address important problems that require solutions and to expand the research and the evidence base for professional nursing practice.

Introduction to Research Methods and Design

The relationships among nursing theory, research and practice will be examined. An emphasis will be placed on research competencies for advanced practice nurses (APNs), including understanding nursing research methods and strategies in order to evaluate research results for applicability to practice and to design projects for evaluating outcomes of practice. An understanding of statistical techniques will be integrated into the course and build on the required undergraduate statistics course. Published nursing research studies will be evaluated for scientific merit and clinical feasibility, with a focus on evidence-based practice.

And one of the following two courses:

Principles and Practice of Healthcare Quality Improvement

Healthcare delivery is complex and constantly changing. A primary mission of leading healthcare organizations is to advance the quality of patient care by striving to deliver care that is safe, effective, efficient, timely, cost-effective, and patient-centered (Institute of Medicine). The goal of this interprofessional course is to provide students with a broad overview of the principles and tools of quality improvement and patient safety in healthcare as well address the knowledge, skills and attitudes as defined by the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) guidelines. It will provide a foundation for students or practicing clinicians who are interested in quality improvement and patient safety research, administration, or clinical applications.Content will address the history of the quality improvement process in healthcare, quality databases and improvement process tools and programs. Through the use of case studies and exercises students will be become familiar with the use of several quality improvement programs and tools. For example, the Plan-Do-Study- Act (PDSA) cycle, Six Sigma and the Toyota Production System known as Lean Production processes will be addressed. Students can use this course to identify the tools and design the methods that they plan to employ in a quality improvement or patient safety project in their area of interest.

Systems Thinking in Patient Safety

This blended online/in-classroom graduate level course integrates principles of systems thinking with foundational concepts in patient safety. Utilizing complexity theories, students assess healthcare practices and identify factors that contribute to medical errors and impact patient safety. Using a clinical microsystem framework, learners assess a potential patient safety issue and create preventive systems. Lessons learned from the science of safety are utilized in developing strategies to enhance safe system redesign. Core competencies for all healthcare professionals are emphasized, content is applicable for all healthcare providers including, but not limited to, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, social workers and healthcare administrators, and may be taken as an elective by non-majors.

Theory courses (5 course units):

The Medically Fragile Child

This course is designed to assist prospective practitioners develop advanced skills in identifying the needs and interventions for medically fragile neonataes, children and their families.

Nursing of Children Theory I: Child and Family Development

This course focuses on developmental theories and concepts that form the basis for nursing assessment and intervention with children and families. Emphasis is given to current research and issues in child and family development and functioning.

Intermediate Principles of Pediatric Acute Care


Advanced Principles of Pediatric Acute Care


Role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist

This clinical course provides students the opportunity to apply CNS theory to practice and enables students to develop strategies to overcome barriers to safe, quality healthcare delivery. Students acquire knowledge and skills characteristic of CNS practice particularly as it relates to clinical judgment, facilitation of learning, advocacy and moral agency, caring practice and response to diversity.

Clinical courses (3 course units):

Advanced Physical Assessment and Clinical Decision Making: Nursing of Children Clinical I

This clinical course is designed to help prospective advanced practice nurses develop advanced skills in physical and developmental assessment of children in a variety of well-child, clinic and hospital settings. Data collection, data interpretation, and hypothesis formulations are emphasized for the purpose of clinical decision making. The role of the advanced practice nurse in assessment of primary health care issues and health promotion is incorporated throughout the course. Collaboration as an integral part of assessment will be an ongoing focus.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical I

This clinical course provides students the opportunity to apply CNS theory to practice and enables students to develop strategies to overcome barriers to safe, quality healthcare delivery. Students acquire knowledge and skills characteristic of CNS practice particularly as it relates to clinical judgment, facilitation of learning, advocacy and moral agency, caring practice and response to diversity.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical II

This clinical course focuses on the application of CNS theory to practice. Students focus on furthering the development of the knowledge and skills related to the core competencies of the CNS. Strategies to improve provider and system issues related to the provision of care to the population of interest are developed, implemented and evaluated. Developing leadership in the development of system-wide or healthcare policy is promoted. Advocating for the individual, family, caregiver and population of interest needs within the context of clinical practice and policy making is encouraged.