Winona State University
Graduate Programs in Nursing
Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions for all Focus Areas:
"What is the tuition?"
- For the current rates, please see the tuition and fees information listed on the WSU website found at http://www.winona.edu/billing/fee_info.asp. Differential tuition rates will apply to Graduate Nursing and ACNP courses.
“How do I choose a focus?”
- An introduction to the different focus options available are offered on the WSU website found at http://www.winona.edu/nursing/graduate/5792.asp. You may also want to visit the websites of a few professional nursing organizations in which nurses in advanced roles participate. Some examples are the National League for Nursing (www.nln.org) and the Professional Nurse Educators Group (www.pneg.org) for nurse educators; the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (www.nacns.org); the American Organization of Nurse Executives (www.aone.org) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org). These websites provide information about the past, present and projected future for persons in the role. In addition to these organizations, most nurses in advanced roles participate in a clinical specialty organization.
“When do classes start?”
“Where are clinical experiences held?”
- A variety of choices are available at several institutions from the surrounding communities, including, but not limited to, Winona, Rochester, and La Crosse.
“How much is on-line and how much is in-class time?”
- Graduate Programs in Nursing offers a variety of delivery methods; face-to-face in the classroom, on-line, and hybrid/blended. Graduate nursing classes are typically offered Wednesday's. Courses taught in the classroom are held on the Winona State University-Rochester Campus at 859 30th Avenue SE, Rochester, MN; with some courses being simultaneously transmitted via interactive television to the Winona Campus. Components of most courses are also placed on our web-based class platform. You will find the Class Schedule posted at http://www.winona.edu/nursing/graduate/10240.asp
“Do I have to submit two separate applications? One to Winona and one to Rochester?”
- Students who apply to the Graduate Programs in Nursing will complete two separate applications. The first application is the MS/MA Application for Admission, along with official transcripts, should be sent directly to the Graduate Studies Office in Winona. They, in turn, will send a copy of the MS/MA Application for Admission to Rochester. The second application, Graduate Nursing Application, should be sent to the Graduate Programs in Nursing office in Rochester. (The WSU Baccalaureate Program in Nursing also requires two separate applications...one to the program and one to WSU.)
“How much can I work?” Deciding between full time or part time options…
- Making a decision to enroll as a full time or part time graduate student is one that is best done considering several factors. These factors may include: “What other roles is the student committed to? Are there roles that can be suspended during graduate education? Are other commitments flexible or fixed in day and time? How much time does the student uniquely require for studying? Can studying occur uninterrupted in blocks of time outside work or family or personal time?” Conversations between the student and the student’s employer and personal support system can be beneficial in decision-making. It may be possible to project what the weekly schedule will look like in addition to what the calendar year will look like given the typical academic, work and family schedules.
- Full time students commit to a full schedule of classes of between 8-12 credits per semester. Six credits of enrollment per semester are required for full-time status for students receiving financial aid. Outside work during full time study is not recommended. Funding to support full-time enrollment is available in the form of Federal Traineeships on a funding available basis, and state and federal government-sponsored grants and loans. Some employers will also fund education through tuition reimbursement programs. These programs have unique participation requirements that the student should investigate prior to enrollment.
- Once students begin the Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (A/GNP) or Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP) focus courses, they must be enrolled on a full-time basis.
- Typically, students spend at least 3 hours outside class studying per one credit hour. Thus, full-time students spend 24-36 hours studying in addition to the 8-12 hours dedicated to class time.
- Part time students commit to a schedule of 5-10 credits per semester and thus the study time is 15-30 hours studying in addition to the 5-10 hours of designated class time. Part-time students are typically employed part-time as well.
“What can I do to strengthen my application?”
- All components of the application are important and contribute to the total cumulative points achieved. A greater number of points are allocated for a higher grade point average; more years of experience; more involvement in professional organizations/memberships, recognition/awards, certifications, research involvement/publications; higher references scores; and the applicant’s ability to articulate goals, professional experiences, strengths, challenges, perceptions regarding the chosen role, and reasons for selecting the role. Addressing each component of the Application for Master Program in Nursing directly on the form is essential.
“Will I need a laptop or computer of my own?”
- You will need access to WSU’s website for D2L (course syllabi/content/assignments/ readings/ discussion groups/exams) and email via either personal computer/WSU rental or you could rely on those available in the grad nursing lounge in Rochester or the library on either campus. If you choose to rent a laptop from WSU, you will have full technical assistance through WSU Technical Support. If you own your own computer, Technical Support can offer limited assistance. If you are planning on using your own personal computer, please check with Technical Support to see if it has the necessary capacity for coursework, such as voiceover power points. Technical Support may be reached at 1-800-657-3870.
“I am trying to complete the application process for a graduate nursing program. Does Winona State need to receive the original transcripts directly from the undergraduate school, or can I include the original transcript in my application packet which will contain everything?”
- The transcript may either be sent directly from the University mailing it or it may be sent in the original, sealed University envelope from the student along with their other application materials. The key word is “sealed.” If the original envelope from the University is opened by anyone other than the admission department, it is no longer considered an official transcript and it cannot be used.
“What is the content and process for the thesis course or courses? Does it have to be done in groups?”
“Will I need dual licensure?”
“What about CPR certification?”
- Current CPR certification is necessary (Proof of certification requirement after admission to program).
“What about HIPAA training?”
- HIPAA training is necessary. (Proof of training requirement after admission to program).
“Do I need malpractice insurance?”
- Student malpractice insurance is necessary in the amounts of 2 to 5 million aggregate when a student is in a clinical course. Student NP malpractice insurance is necessary for NP students.
“Do I need a Criminal Background Check? I had one done at my employment this year.”
- An integral part of the Nursing Program is the clinical experience program. To provide this experience, the College/University contracts with local health care facilities.
- State law requires that any person who provides services, which involve direct contact with patients and residents of a health care facility, have a yearly background study conducted by the State.
- Students will not be allowed to participate in clinical experiences until a Minnesota Department of Human Services background study is completed with approval for the student to have direct patient contact. If the background study is not approved, the student has the right to appeal the decision. The appeal guidelines will be provided to the student by the Department of Human Services. No student can be allowed in clinical without an approved background study. Students who fail and do not receive a 'set-aside' from the Department of Human Services will be terminated from the Graduate Nursing program.
- Some clinical sites also require a National background check. When required, this would be done IN ADDITION TO the Minnesota background study.
- The Nursing Program does not guarantee an alternative facility placement.
- Background Study forms are located on the Forms webpage.
Specific for the Adult/Gerontology CNS Focus Area:
“What are the differences between the A/GCNS and NP roles?”
- The A/GCNS focus at WSU prepares a clinical nurse specialist in adult health. The FNP or A/GNP focus prepares NPs in primary care. Curriculum for both roles includes prescriptive authority. The A/GCNS focus prepares students to practice in three (3) spheres of influence, the patient/client sphere (direct care), the nursing sphere (staff development and affecting patient outcomes indirectly by influencing/improving nursing practice) and the system/organizational sphere (changing/ improving health care processes).
“How many credits is the Graduate Certificate A/GCNS program?”
- Graduate Certificate A/GCNS plans of study are determined individually and depend on what type of master’s program the applicant has and what courses they completed during their master’s program. The graduate certificate applicant’s master’s transcript and course descriptions are compared with the A/GCNS program requirements to determine the individual’s plan of study.
“Do I need to take a separate prescribing course if I want to use prescriptive authority as a A/GCNS?”
- For traditional A/GCNS students, 60 hours of prescribing clinical is included in N625. Graduate Certificate A/GCNS students who completed a A/GCNS program that did not include prescribing may take prescribing clinical through N629.
“How many hours are the clinical?”
- N621 requires 180 clinical hours and N625 requires 240 clinical hours.
“Do I need to reduce my work appointment to complete all the required clinical hours?”
- It varies depending on the student’s work environment, study habits, preceptor availability and other factors. Students will need to negotiate clinical with their preceptors and can expect 1-2 days of clinical fall semester during N621 and 2-3 days of clinical spring semester in N625. Most preceptors work Mondays-Fridays.
Specific for the NP Focus Area:
“How many clinical hours am I required to do?”
- Clinical family 180 hrs/semester ~1.5 days per week for 15 weeks
- Clinical adult 120 hrs/semester ~1 day per week for 15 weeks
- Clinical family 240 hrs/semester ~2 day/week for 15 weeks
- Clinical adult 180 hrs/semester ~1.5 days/week for 15 weeks
“Is there an assessment refresher?”
- For Fall Semester: Refresher physical assessment day prior to start of classes
“What will my Wednesday class schedule be?”
- In Fall: Classes until 7 pm on Wednesdays
- In Spring: Classes until 5 pm on Wednesdays
“Will I have classes on days other than Wednesdays?”
- For Spring Semester: Advanced Assessment 8-2 on Thursday
- Combination of lecture and lab
“Will I have summer coursework?”
- Yes, Pharmacology during the summer –online/distance course
“How is the pediatric rotation included?”
- 96 hours of pediatric rotation for FNP in fall or spring semester (these hours are part of the total hours required for the semester)
“What about the internship experience?” May term internship
- 180 hours of clinical immersion over 4-6 weeks (30-40 hrs/week)
“How will the faculty oversee my clinical site experiences?”
- Approximately four (4) hours of clinical per month will be spent with a faculty member at a clinical site (most likely in Rochester)
“Will I have to travel for clinical?”
- We attempt to keep students within ~50 miles of home for clinical. This is not always possible due to availability of clinical sites. You should plan that travel will be involved to get to clinical sites.
“How many spots/applicants are there for the NP focus?
- Numbers of admitted students vary from year to year based on availability of clinical sites. During the typical admissions cycle, approximately 10 to 12 students are admitted to the NP focus.
Specific for the NOL Focus Area:
“What positions are available for people with a master's degree and the Nursing and Organizational Leadership (NOL) program role focus?”
- Nurse Manager is the position most often acquired by individuals in the NOL Program. Nursing Supervisor, Nurse Administrator, Chief Nurse Executive, Quality Improvement, and Informatic positions are often sought as well.
“How much is on-line and how much is in-class time?”
- Graduate Programs in Nursing now offers all courses in a hybrid (primarily on-line/with some face-to-face) format. The core courses are offered one semester face-to-face classes in Rochester with ITV to Winona. The NOL program courses are hybrid, on-line with face-to-face meetings four (4) times a semester. They are also offered ITV to remote sites (as can be arranged). The three year plan of study is designed to offer NOL students all classes as hybrid.
“Where are the NOL practicum experiences held?”
- Practicum experiences can be arranged in a variety of settings. A preceptor with a minimum of a master’s degree in nursing or health administration must be available as the primary preceptor. Typically practicum experiences are not completed in your current employment agency. Exceptions are made on an individual basis. Sites that have been used for practicum are: Mayo Clinic, Winona Health, Mayo Clinic Health System Francisican Healthcare - La Crosse, Gundersen Lutheran, Winona Public Health, and Mayo Clinic Health System - Austin, and hospitals in the Twin Cities area.
“How is the NOL practicum arranged?”
- A meeting is held between the practicum students and the course faculty. The various practicum sites are discussed and students are asked for their preferences. Practicum experiences are arranged by the faculty member after discussion with the course faculty.
“Do the NOL courses need to be taken in a specific order?”
- Yes, for most of the courses there is a defined sequence: N606 (core course and must be taken prior to all NOL program courses), N652, N653, N655 (concurrent or after N652 & N653), N654, N657 (concurrent or after N654). N651 must be taken after the completion of N606.
Specific for the NE Focus Area:
“How do the practicum experiences work for the NE focus?”
- Learning to teach in the NE role occurs in the NE practicum courses (NURS 519, 627, and 672). Learning to teach while working with a preceptor occurs in clinical and academic settings in the processes of assessment, health promotion and implementation of pedagogies. NE students complete 300 clinical hours throughout the curriculum.
“Can I do my teaching practicum in my home area?”
- Yes, it may be possible to complete your teaching in your home area if you can find a preceptor who meets the criteria (minimum of a MS in Nursing) and the institution fits your learning needs.
“Will the NE courses fulfill the MnSCU teaching and learning competency requirements for: course construction, teaching/instructional methods, and student outcomes assessment/evaluation?”
“Is this all on-line?”
- The core courses are primarily face-to-face classes in Rochester with ITV to Winona. Other courses in the NE focus are offered in a blended manner, meaning there is some in-class time and some on-line work.
“Where are nurse educators employed?”
- “NEs practice in academic and clinical settings. Academic nurse educators (NEs) are licensed registered professional nurses prepared at the graduate level, who are expert in facilitating learning through curriculum design, teaching, evaluation, advisement, and other activities undertaken by faculty in schools of nursing. Academic nursing is a specialty area and an advanced role within professional nursing (National League for Nursing, 2005). Preparing students in a practice discipline requires specialized knowledge and advanced education. NEs practicing in clinical settings are responsible for addressing the learning needs of professional staff and may be unit or system-based.”
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 10:58 AM