Graduate Nursing: MSN


Graduate Programs

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, available to women and men, carries on Alverno College’s tradition in the professional liberal arts, with particular focus on integrative, experiential and reflective approaches to learning. The MSN curriculum supports students’ development of advanced knowledge and advance competence in the abilities that frame the undergraduate curriculum at Alverno College, namely Communication, Analysis, Problem Solving, Valuing in DecisionMaking, Social Interaction, Developing a Global Perspective, Effective Citizenship, and Aesthetic Engagement. Practicum experiences and didactic courses are designed to support the learner in applying selected abilities with individuals, families, and groups across the developmental lifespan and in diverse health care settings.

Alverno's teaching approach focuses on outcomes in which we measure how you perform, not how well you do on a test. Our MSN program integrates the core skills of your profession into every course. And our approach focuses on relevant, experiential, active learning that replicates professional or real-world scenarios.

We also know that you lead a very busy life and your time is precious. That's why Alverno offers its master's degree in an every-other weekend schedule, eight weekends a semester. Faculty members are accessible because they understand the challenges of your busy lifestyle. You will find that although an Alverno graduate degree is rigorous, it is also reasonable, accommodating and highly rewarding.

Lastly, we recognize that our students are professionals, with experiences that should count for something. We challenge you to bring your experiences into the classroom, engage with your colleagues, and participate in building a rich, learning environment.




Graduate Nursing Programs

Master of Science in Nursing Post Master Certificates   


  • MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • MSN-Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)
  • MSN-Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • MSN-Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEMSN)


  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • MSN-Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)
  • MSN-Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

Graduate Nursing Program Learning Outcomes 

In the role of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), the MSN graduate will:

• Exhibit mastery of communication skills in multiple modes to build crucial inter-professional team relationships that promote collaboration to ensure safe and effective outcomes.
• Provide holistic, patient-focused, evidence-based care in the role of an advanced practice nurse.
• Evaluate and apply informatics using current and evolving technology to facilitate and enhance optimal clinical care and organizational decision-making.
• Skillfully engage in collaborative and trans-disciplinary leadership to (re)construct strategies for innovative and transformative change in complex healthcare settings.
• Synthesize current and emerging science and theory to design ethical and cost-effective approaches to care that consider the uniqueness of individuals, families, communities and populations.



Three American Nurses Association’s (ANA) (2015) documents espouse the basis for all nursing practice, and Alverno nursing faculty use these documents to underpin the curriculum, and structure its content and learning experiences:

  • Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice
  • Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements: Development, Interpretation, and Application 
  • Guide to Nursing’s Social Policy Statement: Understanding the Profession from Social Contract to Social Covenant

In addition, the following documents espouse standards, competencies, and criteria that specifically serve to ground the MSN curriculum:

  • Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education [CCNE], 2018)
  • Essentials of Masters Education in Nursing (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2011)

For the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), PsychiatricMental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Adult –Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) tracks and their respective Post- Master certificate program, the following standards have been incorporated within the curriculum:

  • Standards of Practice for Nurse Practitioners (American Association of Nurse Practitioners [AANP], 2013)
  • Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies Content (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties [NONPF], 2017)
  • Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs (National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education [NTF], 2016)
  • Crosswalk Table comparing the Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs (2018) with The National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (NTF) Criteria for Education of Nurse Practitioner Programs (2016) (CCNE, 2018).

For the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) track, the following standards have been incorporated within the AGCNS curriculum:

  • Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education, 2nd edition (National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists [AGCNS], 2004)
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Competencies (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2010)
  • Gerontology Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd edition (American Nurses Associations [AMA], 2012)

Types of Capstone Projects

  • Develop Program Plan: Students will design and develop a plan to implement a program based on a needs assessment. Management, fiscal, and ethical factors must be addressed. Students will develop instructions, procedures and manuals for the program. (Ex. Program to decrease re-hospitalization rates of patients with a specific disease process.) Program Evaluation: student will examine and evaluate the effectiveness and outcomes of a specific program. Evaluation will include fiscal and organizational factors.
  • Evidence-based / Quality Improvement Intervention: Student designs, implements, and provides a preliminary evaluation of an intervention for quality improvement that is evidence-based.
  • Analysis of a Problem: Students will conduct an in depth analysis to assess an identified problem of interest. The capstone must describe the specific problem, its determinants and magnitude, and also include an assessment of the issue. Students are expected to include sections discussing methods of prevention and intervention.
  • Study Curriculum: Students will develop a curriculum program for an identified educational need. This could be in a classroom or practice setting for students, staff, or patients. Curriculum will include traditional and on-line elements. Training materials will also be developed.


 Graduate Nursing Program Leaders


Patti Varga PhD RN CNE, Joann McGrath School of Nursing and Health Professionals Dean, 414-382-6303

Diane Duffy PhD RN, Director of Graduate Nursing Program, 414-382-6275

Joann Archer, Clinical Nurse Specialist Program Chair, 414-382-6482

Luanne Wielichowski, Family Nurse Practitioner Program Chair, 414-382-6285

Rebecca Sobanski, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Chair, 414-382-6497

Laurie Kunkel-Jordan, Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program Co-Chair, 414-382-6300 

Sarah Foster, Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program Co-Chair, 414-382-6300




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