Nursing courses in upper division make up the professional component of the curriculum. Courses focus on providing students with essential knowledge and skills to provide care to persons in a variety of health care settings. Nursing courses are designed to build on preceding semesters; foster the development of critical thinking and progressively independent decision making; and provide collaborative opportunities for students with other health care providers. Therefore, students must successfully complete all clinical and non-clinical courses in a semester before progressing to the next semester coursework. Other nursing courses in upper division may be offered in summer school to allow students flexibility within the curriculum. In addition, a variety of nursing elective courses, including opportunities for independent study, are offered at different times throughout the curriculum. Students are encouraged to talk with an academic adviser during pre-registration each semester to ensure that individual needs and career goals are met.
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares nurse experts in advanced practice for role preparation as primary care providers in family (FNP) and mental health (PMHNP) care settings. The University of Southern Mississippi nursing program broadens the perspective of students by offering an innovative scientific and research based curriculum that prepares graduates for practice in today’s healthcare environment. The education program for this University of Southern Mississippi master's degree includes both didactic work and clinical practice experience. Each student completes the graduate-nursing core including evidenced based practice (research and statistics), ethics and role development, and health care policy and finance.
In only three consecutive terms of full-time, on-campus study, students master the rigorous science and nursing coursework to prepare for practice in health care settings ranging from hospitals to clinics to non-profit organizations. In addition, students must complete 960 hours of clinical experience in diverse settings across the region including Pittsburgh’s six major teaching hospitals and more than 50 health care facilities. Upon completion, students are ready to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), required to become a registered nurse (RN).