Online RN to MSN
Clinical Systems Leadership

Shape the Future of
Patient-Centric Care Systems

The University of Arizona online Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership (MSN) is a streamlined program designed to strengthen your patient care and leadership abilities. Through this program, you can broaden your knowledge base, build your confidence as a health-care professional and develop practical skills to help you thrive as a clinical systems leader.

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  • Earn your MSN degree in less time than many traditional nursing programs
  • Nurses with BSNs can complete the program in as few as 15 months, ADNs in as few as 24 months


  • Courses delivered 100 percent online
  • No on-campus residencies or onsite clinical requirements


  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Renowned university faculty of nursing leaders and experts focused on your success

Why Choose the University of Arizona For Your MSN Program?

Our online RN-MSN program is ideal for working registered nurses (ADN or BSN) with leadership aspirations. If you are seeking professional development and career advancement, we’ll help you fast-track your education while you continue to work.


Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing
Affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Affiliated with the Western Institute of Nursing
The Princeton Review lists the University of Arizona as one of the Best Colleges in the Western Region and one of the Best 381 Colleges.
U.S. News & World Report ranks the UA College of Nursing among the Best Graduate Nursing Schools and Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Skip the BSN

In the same time frame it typically takes to earn a BSN, practicing RNs with an ADN can complete the MSN program in as few as 24 months, which saves you time, money and energy.

Already Have a BSN?

If you already hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, our program will accelerate your educational development with minimal overlap from your previous degree. In as few as 15 months, you can complete a master’s degree in nursing with your current career experience.

Online Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership

There is growing demand for nurses with advanced abilities who can perform effectively as clinical systems leaders. Our online RN to MSN program is optimal for nursing professionals who have leadership aspirations. Through a curriculum that places a strong emphasis on clinical leadership, our Master of Science in Nursing degree program is ideal for an active ADN- or BSN-educated nurse looking for career development. Our students can earn an advanced degree in the same time or less than a traditional RN to BSN program through our online RN-MSN program. Position yourself as an exemplary 21st century nursing professional. Here are just a few of the things you can learn:

Design and lead innovative, patient-centered care in multiple environments

Evaluate patient care systems and develop comprehensive care plans

Understand how business and economic principles can shape healing environments

Serve as a key member of interdisciplinary teams while advocating for staff and patients

State-of-the-Art MSN Curriculum

In your online coursework, our faculty will blend theory and evidence-based knowledge to help you elevate your level of expertise and understanding of the inner workings of health-care delivery in various healing environments, including inpatient and outpatient settings both small and large. The RN to MSN program includes 8-week courses and a 16-week capstone project course (with no onsite requirements). Program starts are in January, May and September.

Curriculum Units ADN Track BSN Track
NURS 520 Foundations of Systems Leadership 4
Using a systems perspective, you will explore basic concepts related to the health-care system, professional knowledge, and quality and safety. **Not required for BSN to MSN track
NURS 521 Evidence-Based Practice Improvement 4
You will analyze and apply evidence for selected areas of clinical practice to facilitate optimal patient outcomes and use evidence to develop, validate and endorse strategies for system-wide practice improvements.
NURS 541 Population Health 4
For vulnerable (including cross-cultural) populations and communities, you will apply concepts related to the assessments, surveillance and interventions for risk reduction, disease prevention and health promotion. **Not required for BSN to MSN track
NURS 545 Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination 4
You will examine health policy and regulation, health economics and advocacy, and apply advocacy strategies for transitioning ‘at-risk’ individuals across the health-care continuum.
NURS 543 Health Information and Patient Care Technologies 3
You will evaluate and apply emerging health-care technologies, such as point of care clinical support, telehealth/medicine and electronic documentation, in support of patient-provider communication, interprofessional practice and coordinated patient care delivery.
NURS 654 Quality and Safety Management 4
You will examine concepts related to the quality and safety improvement process and management strategies that ensure patient safety and quality outcomes, including continuous quality improvement processes and program planning, implementation and evaluation.
NURS 641 Leadership for Patient-Centered Care 4
You will explore the principles of shared leadership, team dynamics and interprofessional practice as the foundation of patient-centered care with emphasis on mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution, collaboration and consultation. **Not required for BSN to MSN track
NURS 653 Healing Environments and Practices 4
You will examine evidence-based integrative approaches that support structural and human care processes and evaluate models of optimal healing environments that promote personal and organizational health/wellness.
NURS 640 Healthcare Business Dynamics 3
You will apply business concepts and principles consistent with patient-centered care across a variety of health-care settings. Concepts include organizational structure and finance, budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, marketing, resource allocation, innovation and entrepreneurship.
NURS 540 Health Promotion and Risk Reduction 4
At the individual and interpersonal level of care, you will explore the concepts of health promotion and risk reduction and examine evidence-based strategies that acknowledge patient-centered values and beliefs optimizing health/wellness.
NURS 660 Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion 7/5
You will work with a faculty mentor to apply patient-centered leadership concepts to the development of a comprehensive care management plan for a chronic care population in this 16-week session.
Total Credit Hours 44 Credits* 31 Credits*

*For students who have not completed a college-level statistics course in the past five years, a 3-credit hour statistics course is required. Students can take Principles of Statistical Inference for Clinical Practice (NURS 502) online at the beginning of the program and will graduate with 47 credits (ADN track) or 34 credits (BSN track).

Graduate Profiles

Career Paths with an Online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership

In our online Master of Science in Nursing program, you will be challenged to think beyond your experience at the bedside and prepare yourself to create and implement innovative patient care systems, increase efficiency and ensure safety in your workplace. Here are some of the rewarding career paths you can pursue with our MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership:

Clinical Care Coordinator:

Nurses in clinical care coordination roles use their bedside experience to ensure the timely, patient-centered utilization of care services across the health-care continuum. Clinical care coordinators help manage the overall quality of patient care while also managing costs of delivery.

Clinical Systems Manager:

A clinical systems manager works to improve the system of care delivery within a unit or service line of a health-care facility. Through evidence-based practice, a clinical systems manager works collaboratively with the patient and care providers to assure a safe, quality plan of care to optimize the patient’s quality of life and staff efficiency.

Infection Control Manager

Much like a quality and safety coordinator, an infection control manager is responsible for preventing the outbreak of disease in a health-care facility through careful monitoring of patient care, staff education and infection control policies.

Nurse Administrator:

A nurse administrator, sometimes called the director of nurses or nurse executive, handles the leadership for new models and the daily management of nursing care delivery in a health-care facility. From strategic planning to budgeting to ensuring availability of the right mix of health-care providers, a nurse administrator’s scope of responsibility is broad.

Nurse Educator:

A nurse educator plays an important part in the mentorship of students or novice RNs and can be involved in a multitude of functions ranging from classroom, laboratory and clinical site instruction to conducting special projects and research.

Nurse Manager:

A nurse manager oversees, directs and supervises a nursing unit within a health-care facility. This person also serves as the eyes and ears of the nursing unit and helps to voice questions, concerns, interests and recommendations. Nurse managers ensure that staff levels are met and monitor patient outcome.

Patient Navigator:

Patient navigation is a new concept in patient care developed through the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. The role is designed to help cancer patients and their families navigate the maze of doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, outpatient centers, insurance payment systems and patient support organizations. Due to the Affordable Care Act, patient navigation has been expanded to include multiple chronic conditions.

Quality and Safety Coordinator:

A quality and safety coordinator promotes comprehensive health and safety in the workplace by implementing quality assurance programs that comply with local, state and federal accrediting agencies. This role is similar in scope to a clinical systems manager, but is distinctly focused on employee processes rather than patients.

Request Information
Request Information

Which program are you interested in?

Which health-care setting do you work in?

Please complete the form below to receive your program brochure.