20 Best Online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems Programs – 2024


Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

Are you a registered nurse interested in healthcare systems and leadership? Have you thought of earning your master's degree in nursing but worry that you do not have the time it takes to pursue a campus-based program? If so, an MSN leadership in healthcare systems program could be a good option for you! If you considered online learning to earn your MSN in healthcare systems leadership, you might wonder, "What are the best online MSN leadership in healthcare systems programs?”

In this article, I will address that question and give you answers and insight into the nation's top programs. As you continue reading, you will learn about the 20 best online MSN leadership in healthcare systems programs for 2024. You will find information about the program’s cost, curriculum, admission criteria, and the time it takes to earn your degree. You will also learn about possible job options, earning potential, and the long-term job outlook for jobs in this field. When you have finished reading, you will have enough information to decide if this is the right academic path for you.



WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAM?


The goal of online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs is to prepare registered nurses with advanced knowledge and skills essential for leading interprofessional teams within the ever-changing world of healthcare. The programs aim to teach you ways of managing clinical efforts within a healthcare organization, applying research to improve the quality of healthcare services, and leading teams in the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based care.



5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAM


Online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs will prepare you with a broad range of skills and abilities to promote success in your career. You will learn about healthcare policy, health management, technology, and informatics to help develop skills essential for overseeing the day-to-day operations of healthcare organizations. The list below includes some of the most important skills and abilities you will develop in MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs.

1. You will learn about information systems management and how to implement its use in practice:

Effective nursing management relies on the use of current information about patient acuity and flow, staffing, and operational costs. In MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs, you will learn about various information systems management and how its use can improve patient, professional, and organizational outcomes.

2. You will learn to use evidence-based decision-making:

The ability to build upon your knowledge of evidence-based practice to cultivate broader use of evidence in management is essential for MSN nurse leaders. When you enroll in online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs, you will learn to apply the principles of evidence-based practice to lead teams effectively.

3. You will learn to promote sensitivity through cultural competence:

Cultural competence involves being self-aware, nonjudgmental, humble, and willing to learn. Demonstrating cultural competence in nursing is essential for developing good nurse/patient and nurse leader/team relationships. When you cultivate strong relationships through cultural competence, you create an atmosphere conducive to growth and success.

4. You will learn to use quality improvement to help improve healthcare outcomes:

The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines quality improvement as “the systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in healthcare services and health statuses of targeted patient groups.” When you earn your degree through MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs, you will learn to implement quality improvement measures. For example, you may analyze data to create a plan to reduce infections or implement data-driven approaches to shorten the length of patient hospital stays.

5. You will learn to navigate care services across diverse healthcare systems:

Successful nurse leaders give a sense of direction to employees to ensure services are delivered in a timely and safe manner. Online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs will prepare you to navigate through the many different healthcare systems and find ways to teach and guide employees of all levels in providing quality healthcare services.



4 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS


There are many advantages to earning a graduate nursing degree and specializing in leadership in healthcare systems. As you research programs, I encourage you to think about why this type of degree and specialization is important to you. Weigh the pros and cons to determine if this is the path you wish to follow. The following are four main advantages of online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs.

1. You will be instrumental in building and leading strong, collaborative, and patient-centered healthcare teams:

With a degree as a Master of Science in Nursing specializing in leadership and healthcare systems, you can take an active role in leading and building solid healthcare teams that provide patient-centered, ethical, effective care.

2. You can influence a culture of excellence in healthcare:

Graduates of MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs have the knowledge and skills necessary to promote a culture of excellence in healthcare. Your knowledge of healthcare systems and the leadership skills you develop will be key to promoting positive patient and organizational outcomes through the delivery of excellence in healthcare services.

3. Your degree lays the foundation for doctoral studies:

One of the great things about nursing is there are so many avenues through which you can earn higher degrees or certifications. When you earn your MSN in Leadership in Healthcare Systems, you can transition to doctoral studies if you desire. A Doctorate in Nursing is the highest level of nursing degree you can earn.

4. You can positively impact organizational outcomes:

Utilizing the knowledge and skills you gain in online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs, you can implement measures within your organization that promote positive patient outcomes. Your influence on how your organization runs can make a difference in healthcare costs, employee satisfaction, patient satisfaction rates, and healthcare quality and safety.



2 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS


MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs have many advantages. There are also some disadvantages to consider when doing your research. As a nurse and healthcare educator, the following are two things I believe are the main disadvantages of these programs.

1. You must be self-motivated to succeed:

Any nursing program can be challenging, but online programs come with their own challenges. If you find it difficult to stay motivated on your own, or if you learn better in a group setting, online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs may not be the best option for you.

2. You will have a lot of responsibility:

If you want a job in healthcare systems leadership, you must prepare for the increased responsibilities that come with the role. If you prefer to work as a team member but do not want to bear the responsibility of team members, you could feel at a disadvantage in this role.



WHEN DO MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS ONLINE PROGRAMS START?


MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs begin at various times throughout the year. Each school determines the number of start dates and when to offer them. The following are the start dates for five of the programs featured in this article.

Marquette University begins a new cohort for its online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program each year in the fall.

The University of Rochester begins its program in the spring semester yearly.

The University of West Georgia begins classes for its program in the fall semester of each year.

At the University of Kentucky, classes for the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program begin in the fall and spring semesters each year.

Kent State University offers spring and fall start dates for its MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online program.



HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS ONLINE PROGRAMS?


Online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs typically require students to complete between 30 and 50 credits. The curriculum plans vary from one program to another, but if you attend an accredited program, you can feel confident that the information you learn will be relevant and prepare you for your new role.

At the University of Rochester, the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program requires you to complete 31 credits.

If you pursue your degree at Kent State University, you will complete 35 credits.

Students in the program offered at Lewis University complete 36 credits.

The MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at Drexel University features a 45-credit curriculum.

At Excelsior University, you will complete 38 credit hours to earn the MSN in Leadership in Healthcare Systems.



HOW LONG ARE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS ONLINE PROGRAMS?



Online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs take between 18 and 36 months to complete. Some schools offer part-time and full-time options, while others may offer only one plan of study. The following are examples of the length of five of the top programs featured in this article.

You can complete the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at the University of Indianapolis in seven semesters or 28 months.

At Jacksonville University, you can complete the program in as little as 18 months.

The MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at Regis University can be completed in two years.

The program offered at Indiana Wesleyan University is designed to be completed in 24 months.

Indiana University offers its MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program with part-time and full-time enrollment options. Part-time students typically complete the program in three years, while full-time students graduate in two years.



HOW MUCH DO MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS ONLINE PROGRAMS COST?


The cost of online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs varies. Most programs cost between $19,000 and $30,000. However, if you have scholarships or grants, you could spend much less to earn your degree.

The MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at the University of Missouri-Columbia has an estimated program cost of $19,800.

At the University of Delaware, you will pay $815 per credit for tuition. The program features a 39-credit curriculum, making your tuition cost $31,785.

The program offered at Campbellsville University costs approximately $19,197. This price includes estimated tuition and a student technology fee that is assessed each semester.

Tuition for the 36-credit MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at Grand Canyon University costs $575 per credit. Therefore, you will pay $20,700 in tuition costs.

At Indiana Wesleyan University, tuition for the 34-credit program costs $595 per credit hour, which means you will pay approximately $20,230.



WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS?


Most MSN Leadership in Healthcare online programs require applicants to have a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Some schools accept applicants with lower GPAs if other criteria are met. For example, schools that offer conditional admission may accept candidates with a 2.55 or 2.99 GPA who can demonstrate a likelihood of success in the program.



WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS?


After deciding that online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs are something you wish to pursue, the next step is to find schools, verify admission criteria, and begin applying. Each school determines the admission requirements for its program. Although some criteria vary, most programs require candidates to have a BSN degree from an accredited nursing program, an active RN license, and some work experience as a registered nurse. You will also be asked to provide supplemental documents, including your college transcripts, a resume, an admissions essay, and letters of recommendation.

To be eligible for admission to the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at the University of Kentucky, you must meet the following criteria. You must have a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally recognized organization and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. You must provide a Goals Statement, three professional references, a scholarly written work sample, a current resume or curriculum vitae, and a copy of your professional, unencumbered RN license.

Lewis University requires candidates for its program to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing earned at an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited school and a current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse. You must provide official transcripts from all post-secondary schools you attended and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for all undergraduate coursework. Additionally, you must complete a Statistics course and a Nursing Research course with a grade of “B” or higher. You must provide two Lewis University College of Nursing and Health Sciences recommendation forms. One reference must be from a master's- or doctoral-prepared nurse experienced in healthcare leadership, and one must be from a current supervisor or manager. Additionally, you must provide a current curriculum vitae or resume and an admissions essay.

Candidates seeking admission to the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online program at Drexel University must meet technical standards for the program. You must have a BSN from an NLN- or ACEN-accredited nursing program. You must submit official transcripts reflecting a minimum 3.0 grade point average for all undergraduate coursework. Additionally, you must provide a Personal Statement, curriculum vitae, or professional resume, and a copy of your RN license. You must also participate in an admissions interview with the program faculty.

At the University of Indianapolis, you must have a BSN from an accredited nursing school, an unrestricted RN license, and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale.

Jacksonville University requires candidates to have a BSN from an ACEN-, NLN-, or CCNE-accredited program. You must provide a resume or curriculum vitae, a Statement of Intent, two letters of professional recommendation, and a copy of your RN license. The university prefers applicants with an undergraduate nursing grade point average of 3.0 or higher. However, if your average is less than 3.0, you may still apply but must submit GRE/GMAT scores.



WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS?


When you pursue your degree through one of the nation’s best MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs, you will study a rich curriculum with special emphasis on leadership strategies, technology and professional development, informatics, and healthcare finance. The following are examples of some of the classes offered in the top programs.

At Marquette University, you will take classes such as Research and Evidence as a Foundation for Nursing, Informatics, Technology and Professional Issues, Healthcare Financial Literacy, Workforce Solutions: Culture, People, and Processes, and Leadership Change, Strategy, and Innovation in Healthcare.

The curriculum for the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program includes classes like Financial Management for Healthcare Leaders, Evidence-Based Performance in Healthcare, Leadership Strategies for Healthcare Administration and Professional Practice, Healthcare Informatics, and Dynamics of Healthcare Organizations.

If you pursue your Leadership in Healthcare Systems MSN at the University of Missouri-Columbia, you will take classes, including Quality, Safety, and Performance Outcomes, Organizations and Human Resource Management in Nursing, Healthcare Financial Management, Translational Evidence-Based Nursing Practice, and Public Health Sociocultural Issues, and Health Policy.

At the University of Western Georgia, some of the classes you will take include Leadership for Quality, Safety, and Health Policy, The Business of Healthcare: Financial and Economic Evidence, Informatics, Technology, and Healthcare Outcomes, Epidemiology for Nursing Education and Practice, and Role of the Caring Healthcare Professional.

The curriculum for the MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at the University of Delaware features 39 credits. You will study topics, including Financial Reporting and Analysis, Managing People, Teams, and Organizations, Policy and Finance for Healthcare Delivery, Population Healthcare Informatics, and Leadership and Innovation in Population Health.



WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS?


MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs include a clinical component. Your practical training is designed to give you real-world experience working in healthcare settings. You will work with preceptors experienced in nursing leadership as you apply the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to real scenarios faced by MSN leaders.

The MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program at the University of Rochester features 224 hours of preceptor-mentored field placement. You will work with healthcare leaders across Western New York to gain real-world management experience.

At Drexel University, you will participate in a 21-week practicum that includes 160 practicum hours. Practicum hours are completed over two quarters. One practicum experience will focus on the management of information to promote sound decision-making, strategic planning, and communication. In the second practicum, you will work in conjunction with an experienced nursing leader and complete a project of value to both you and the organization where you are completing clinicals.

When you choose the University of Indianapolis to earn your MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems degree, you will complete 525 clinical hours. Clinicals are divided into three practicum experiences. You will assess leadership theories, organizational dynamics, and evidence-based leadership practices as they apply to the nurse leadership role. You will also participate in practicum hours focused on multidepartmental strategies and daily methods of operations.

The University of Auburn at Montgomery incorporates 540 clinical hours into its MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems program. You will begin clinicals in the second semester of the program and continue them each semester until graduation.

At Indiana Wesleyan University, you will participate in 520 clinical practicum hours. The program features six clinical courses with corresponding practicums and a Capstone Project, which focuses on applying and integrating skills, attitudes, and knowledge acquired throughout the program.



WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?

(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 20 Best Online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems Programs in the nation for the year 2024.)


1. University of Rochester - Rochester, NY


2. Kent State University - Kent, OH


3. Marquette University - Milwaukee, WI


4. Lewis University - Romeoville, IL


5. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA


6. University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO


7. University of Indianapolis - Indianapolis, IN


8. University of West Georgia - Carrollton, GA


9. Jacksonville University - Jacksonville, FL


10. Auburn University at Montgomery - Montgomery, AL


11. Regis University - Denver, CO


12. University of Delaware - Newark, DE


13. Campbellsville University - Campbellsville, KY


14. Excelsior University - Albany, NY


15. Grand Canyon University - Phoenix, AZ


16. Indiana Wesleyan University - Marion, IN


17. Indiana University - Bloomington, IN


18. Norwich University - Northfield, VT


19. Rivier University - Nashua, NH


20. University of Kentucky - Lexington, KY



VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY



3 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAMS


After graduating from online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs, you can choose from a wide variety of job opportunities. Whether you wish to work in an administrative position, a clinical role, or in academia, the possibilities are endless. The following are three of the best jobs for graduates of these programs.

1. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO):

The Chief Nursing Officer is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of nursing departments within a healthcare facility. You will review and implement new nursing and patient care strategies, conduct performance reviews, and collaborate with administrators to promote better patient and organizational outcomes.

2. Clinical Services Director:

The Clinical Services Director provides guidance and leadership in healthcare settings. You will oversee all medical staff, recruit and train new staff members, and collaborate with departmental leaders to promote safe, high-quality patient care.

3. Clinical Nursing Instructor:

If you love clinical nursing and like the idea of teaching others about nursing, becoming a Clinical Nursing Instructor is an excellent option. In this role, you may work with nursing students in educational environments and healthcare facilities and supervise all clinical activities.



WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?


The starting salary for new graduates of MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs is $72,060 per year. This salary breaks down to the equivalent of $34.64 per hour, $1,386 per week, or $6,010 per month.

Hourly$34.64
Weekly$1,386
Monthly$6,010
Annual$72,060



WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS ONLINE PROGRAMS EXPECT?


The average annual salary for graduates of online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs is $102,860. This pay equals $49.46 per hour, $1,978 per week, or $8,570 per month.

Hourly$49.46
Weekly$1,978
Monthly$8,570
Annual$102,869



10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS ONLINE PROGRAMS


If having a job with a good long-term outlook is what you want, MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs are the way to go! The ten-year job outlook for program graduates is excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs in this category will increase by 45.68% between 2021 and 2031.

2021-31
+45.68%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



BONUS! IS THE COST OF AN ONLINE MSN LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?


Naturally, when deciding about going back to school, an important question is whether the cost of earning your degree is worth what you will gain financially. The best way to determine if the cost is worth it is to compare program costs to your earning potential after graduating.

For example, online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs typically cost between $19,000 and $30,000. New graduates of these programs earn around $72,000. More experienced graduates earn an average annual salary of $102,869. What is more impressive is knowing that the average earning is not a limit but that you can earn higher wages. When you compare the cost of programs to earning potential, it is clear that the cost of MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems online programs is worth the return on investment.



MY FINAL THOUGHTS


If you love nursing and want to transition to a role where you can make a difference in healthcare systems and the quality of care, earning an MSN and specializing in leadership and healthcare systems is an excellent option. Maybe you considered this type of degree but need a program that offers flexibility. When you found this article, you may have been wondering, “What are the best online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs?”

In this article, I shared the 20 best online MSN Leadership in Healthcare Systems programs for 2024 and gave some insight into what you can expect from them. With an excellent job outlook, awesome earning potential, and diverse roles you can pursue, there is no time like the present to begin your dream of earning this degree!


Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).