May 21, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Nursing, Forensic Nursing, (Online), M.S.

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Nursing (Forensic Nursing) Online

Graduate Program Chair

Deborah A. Stone, PhD, RN

Graduate Committee

Althea Aranda, MS, RN
Karen Beaton, MS, MSN, RN-BC, CNE

Amy Kendrick, PhD, RNA

Tara Mariolis, PhD, RN, CNE
Deborah A. Stone, PhD, RN


Program Description

The Master of Science in Nursing Degree Program is designed for registered nurses who wish to pursue advanced leadership positions in the community and the health care system. The graduate is prepared to contribute to the development of nursing science, and the improvement of health care, and to pursue doctoral study. The program is offered completely online. The master’s degree in nursing at Fitchburg State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). (  Upon successful completion of all program requirements, the student receives a Master of Science Degree in Nursing. The FSU program does not prepare clinical nursing specialists.


Graduate Terminal Outcomes
  • Integrate knowledge from the sciences and the humanities into the provision of advanced nursing care to diverse populations.
  • Design systems change strategies that improve the care environment
  • Lead quality improvement initiatives that integrate socio-cultural factors affecting the delivery of nursing and healthcare services.
  • Integrate evidence-based strategies and interprofessional perspectives to improve practice and associated health outcomes.
  • Analyze current and emerging technologies to support safe practice environments, and to optimize patient safety, cost-effectiveness, and health outcomes.
  • Participate in the promotion of policies to improve public health and advance the nursing profession.
  • Employ collaborative strategies in the design, coordination, and evaluation of patient-centered care.
  • Synthesize broad ecological, global, and social determinants of health to design and deliver population health interventions and strategies.

The specialty in forensic nursing prepares nurses to apply:

  • Knowledge and skills of nursing and forensic science to the investigation of trauma concurrently with emergency care and emotional support for victims of violent crime
  • The nursing process to public or legal proceedings
  • Aspects of health care to the scientific investigation and treatment of trauma
  • Sensitivity to the health needs and concerns of diverse populations.
  • Direct services such as legal documentation to individual and group clients, including insurance companies and law firms
  • Consultation and education for groups, related agencies and communities
  • Expert witness skills in investigations related to violence and trauma
  • Skills for varied settings, including emergency health services, schools, correctional facilities, varied community health agencies, employee assistance programs in occupational health settings and law enforcement agencies

Admissions Standards and Criteria

To apply for enrollment in the Master of Science in Nursing Program, a student must submit documents as outlined in the graduate admissions section as well as:

  • An official transcript as a graduate of an accredited baccalaureate nursing program.
  • Three professional letters of recommendation including documenting a minimum of one year of recent successful clinical practice or part-time equivalent
  • A current US RN license (Applicants who reside and/or work outside the U.S. are not required to hold a US RN license but instead must possess a current license from the country they reside in or in which they will complete clinical coursework hours.)
  • Written two-part essay to include:

Part I (no more than 300 words): Your reasons for wishing to attend graduate school or your reason for pursuing a post-master’s certificate in a specialty area.

Part II (at least 1200 words): Your specific interests, the type of work you would like to pursue in this field, and how you intend to pursue employment or volunteer work in this area.

  • A Background Check or a CORI (Criminal Offense Record Investigation) may be required by some clinical agencies. The cost of this Background Check/CORI is the responsibility of the student.
  • An alternative portfolio entry pathway is available to the RN, with non-nursing BA/BS degrees



Program of Study— Master’s Degree

The program is currently planned on a part-time, 6-7 credit per semester cycle. All courses are delivered online. The course sequence is designed to:

  • Complete a majority of core nursing courses with the exception of the scholarly inquiry requirement prior to or concurrent with any clinical specialty nursing course
  • Provide students the opportunity to select a research project
  • Cap the program with a practicum experience

It should be noted that nursing courses and required cognates may have prerequisite undergraduate or graduate course work.

Subtotal 12 cr.

Subtotal 6 cr.

Total for Degree 39 cr. (Clinical 420 hours)

Health and Professional Requirements

Submission of Health and Professional Requirements documentation is required before beginning the first clinical course and must remain current throughout the remainder of the program. 

These include:

  1. Annual physical exam: Valid 1 year
  2. FDA approved TB blood test (T-Spot) or Two Step PPD/TB Test: two negative PPD/TB results more than two weeks apart but less than 365 days apart. Followed by an annual PPD/TB test.
  3. Tdap (Tetanus): Valid of 10 years.
  4. MMR: 2 Dates of Immunization OR Titer Date & Results.
  5. Varicella: 2 Dates of Immunization OR Titer Dates & Results.
  6. HepB Series: Series of 3 vaccines.
  7. HepB Surface Antibody Titer: a Positive HepB Titer documenting immunity (documentation of restarting the series is required if Titer result is Negative).
  8. Influenza: Annually by October 15.
  9. Current CPR Certification /recertification for health professionals (Required certification through the American Heart Association - BLS Provider).

RN Licensure

 RN License must remain current and unencumbered throughout the program.

Personal Liability Insurance

Students must have professional malpractice coverage if enrolled in any clinical course. Currently, the University provides this personal liability coverage for all nursing students. If this University coverage should change, students will be responsible for purchasing their own professional liability insurance.


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