Students in DeSales University’s Master of Science in Nursing program can now earn degrees in two of nursing’s fastest-growing specialties.
Students can choose from the MSN in Nursing Informatics with Certification in Healthcare Information Management or the MSN in Forensic Nursing with Certification in Investigative Forensics. This is the first time the degrees are being offered in the Lehigh Valley.
“We’re utilizing the uniqueness of DeSales with these different programs,” says Dr. Tricia Bernecker, associate professor of nursing and interim director of graduate nursing programs. “They’re very innovative degrees that are going to give people a very unique specialty.”
Healthcare information technology and forensic nursing are two of the fastest-growing fields for nurses across the United States. Both specialties were chosen in response to comprehensive needs assessments that were given to two local nurse practitioner groups as well as current nursing students, faculty, and alumni.
“For years, we educated nurses under one common umbrella,” says Bernecker. “But as educators and as practicing nurses, they want to have that specialty knowledge, that specific education. There are places that need to have this expertise both in the valley and outside of the valley. We’re one of the few universities that can actually provide it.”
Students in the nursing informatics track will simultaneously receive a post-master’s certification in healthcare information management through the completion of six courses in the Master of Science in Information Systems program.
The degree will prepare graduates for positions in bioinformatics, clinical decision support systems, mobile health applications, and as a nurse informaticist.
Students in the forensic nursing track will simultaneously receive a post-master’s certification in investigative forensics through the completion of six courses in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program.
Graduates can pursue a number of different positions, including nurse investigator, sexual assault nurse examiner, nurse coroner, forensic psychiatric nurse, and mass disaster consultant and coordinator.
The nursing informatics track can be completed online, while the forensic nursing track combines both in-class and online courses.
“The reason why we have all these specialties is because of patient outcomes,” says Bernecker. “That’s our ultimate goal: to improve patient outcomes.”
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