Nursing school starting online master's degree

July 29, 2011

SAN ANTONIO -- Beginning in the fall, the School of Nursing at Wayland Baptist University will launch a Master of Science in Nursing degree, offered completely online.

The school, which is housed at Wayland's campus in San Antonio, began to work on plans and research for a nurse educator-focused graduate degree not long after it got it's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program off the ground a few years ago.

According to Dr. Diane Frazor, dean of the school, the M.S.N. was part of the plan all along.

"In education, every faculty member I hire must have a master's degree in nursing of some sort, and most hospitals are looking at nurse educators to be master's degree prepared," she said.

While master's degrees in nursing are not uncommon, Frazor said most lean toward preparing nurses for the clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner roles instead of the education route. And when it comes to making that leap into the nurse educator field, most people have had to learn as they go.

"Master's degrees used to be only for administrators or nurse practitioners, so folks who teach have all just had to learn how to do that in the classroom by trial and error," she said. "I got my doctorate in education so I would have the education experience as well."

This degree, then, will help prepare nurses to step into the education realm with confidence that they know not only how to be good nurses but how to teach others to be good nurses.

Part of that confidence, Frazor said, comes from the unique structure of the WBU degree program. The 36-hour master's degree includes a course from the School of Business that includes exposure to marketing, management and finance... all the aspects of the job that Frazor said she had to do from rote. The degree also includes a focus on organizational structure, which is vital in healthcare situations whether the setting is a hospital or a school.

About a year ago, Frazor began researching degree programs and designing one that would fit those needs, with the help of a master's degree student she was precepting. She built courses and found textbooks, then the program went before the WBU officials and Wayland's accrediting body, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for approval.

Wayland's undergraduate nursing degrees earned accreditation from the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission, and Frazor plans to pursue the same accreditation for the M.S.N. That requires waiting until the first class of master's degree graduates are ready to graduate.

The M.S.N. will begin with the fall term that begins August 15. The 11-week term is one of four offered each year through WBU, so participants can easily finish the degree in six terms, or roughly 18 months, if they complete two classes each term. All classes are online, and the degree ends with a practicum done wherever the student lives with a faculty mentor in their field of choice.

The degree offers great flexibility for participants because there is no sequence to classes taken. Students can enter the program at any time they wish.

In order to apply for the M.S.N. degree program, students must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution and provide transcripts. Applicants with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in their last 60 undergraduate graded hours are guaranteed admission to the graduate program. Those with lower GPAs will be required to submit a writing sample and may be admitted on probationary status.

Tuition for the M.S.N. program follows that of the Virtual Campus at Wayland, which is $359 per credit hour.

For more information about the master's degree in nursing, contact the School of Nursing at (210) 486-5034 or visit the Web site at