25 Nurses Become First Graduates of UA College of Nursing RN-MS in Clinical Systems Leadership Program

Since the launch in January 2013 of this one-of-a-kind, online master’s degree program for working registered nurses, enrollment has grown from 20 students to more than 350.

Twenty-five nurses have become the first to graduate from the Registered Nurse to Master of Science (RN-MS) in Clinical Systems Leadership online program through the University of Arizona College of Nursing.

The inaugural class was honored during the UA College of Nursing Convocation on Dec. 18, along with 49 candidates earning the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), seven earning the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing and 13 earning the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

“The first RN-MS graduating class is prepared to lead transformations in health care and create innovative health-care delivery systems for a wide variety of clients with acute and chronic health-care needs,” said Cheryl Lacasse, MS, RN, OCN, clinical professor and faculty coordinator for the RN-MS program.

Development of the program began in 2010 with an innovative proposal to educate clinical systems leaders through a one-of-a-kind, online master’s degree program for working registered nurses (RNs). Led by Lacasse and Ki Moore, DNSc, RN, FAAN, professor and division director of biobehavioral health science, the program was launched in January 2013 with a group of 20 students, and enrollment has since grown to more than 350.

During the RN-MS program, in 8-week courses, students learned multiple facets of clinical systems and leadership, care transitions and evidence-based, patient-centered care. They engaged in synergistic online discussions, electronic presentations and podcasting and connected through social media, such as Twitter. Students conducted collaborative team-based activities and were exposed to innovative online work environments and highly practice-applied experiential learning.

The RN-MS program is ideal for working RNs with leadership aspirations who are seeking professional development and career advancement, especially within health systems. Offered are two distinct pathways: one for RNs with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), who follow a 44-credit, two-year curriculum; and one for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), who follow a 31-credit, 15-month curriculum.

For more information about this program, please visit http://msnonline.arizona.edu/ or contact a college representative at 1-855-789-7046.


Faculty at the University of Arizona College of Nursing envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities. Established in 1957, the college ranks among the top nursing programs in the United States. For more information about the college, please visit its website, www.nursing.arizona.edu