School of Nursing launches redesigned MSN programs in informatics, leadership


Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has redesigned two of its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) specialty programs and relaunched them with revised curricula, educational formats and degree requirements. The programs, Nursing Informatics (NI) and Nursing and Health Care Leadership (NHCL), are now accepting applications for admission in fall 2019.

“Nursing, perhaps above all professions, understands the need to periodically revise procedures and direction so that they incorporate the best practices, thinking and evidence,” said Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, VUSN dean and the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing. “We recently re-evaluated these two specialties to determine if there were newer or better ways to serve our students and prepare them for leadership roles.”

Patricia SengstackOne major change for the two specialties was moving them to be part time only, which is a significant draw for many registered nurses who want to continue working full time while obtaining a master’s degree. The program will be offered in a modified online learning format that allows students to complete degree requirements without relocating or giving up employment. The programs will incorporate on-campus interactive immersion experiences in August of the first year and periodically during the program of studies. Distance learning activities throughout the semester will include online conferencing, video-streamed lectures and other technology-based events.

Curricular changes for Nursing Informatics incorporate newly emerging informatics competencies, concepts and innovations, as well as customized practicum experiences. VUSN’s leadership specialty has been renamed Nursing and Health Care Leadership based on feedback from nursing professionals; it incorporates stronger experiential learning, new collaborations with nursing informatics and a focus on real-world learning.

Terri Crutcher


Associate Professor of Nursing Patricia Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN, has been named academic specialty director for Nursing Informatics. Sengstack is the nursing informatics executive at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and former chief nursing informatics officer for the Bon Secours Health System, as well as former chief of clinical informatics at the National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center.

Terri Crutcher, DNP, MSN’94, VUSN’s assistant dean for clinical and community partnerships, is the interim director for Nursing and Health Care Leadership. Crutcher has expertise in incorporating leadership and management skills into nursing practice, with an emphasis on quality improvement, interprofessional collaboration and lean methodology.

Both specialties are geared for RNs with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees; RNs with ASN/ADN/Diploma credentials are also welcome but will have additional coursework. For more information on the program, visit online, email or call 615-322-3800.