Health Care Systems

Increase font size
Decrease font size

Today’s health care system requires new skills of nurses to transform the delivery of health care. The Post-Master’s Certificate Programs in Health Care Systems (HCS) are designed for nurses who have earned a Master’s degree in Nursing (MSN) and desire to expand their advanced nursing knowledge and skills into the areas of Nursing Leadership or Informatics.

Nursing Leadership

The Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Leadership prepares nurses who have earned an advanced graduate degree in nursing for clinical leadership roles in complex health care systems by combining knowledge and skills from both clinical and health care systems practice.  The graduate is prepared to provide and manage care for individuals and groups of patients, with emphasis on understanding patients’ clinical progression, care transitions and processes, evidence-base practice, quality improvement and patient safety.

Graduates will be eligible to sit for national certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). The program of study is individualized for students based upon their prior education and clinical experiences.  The Health Care Systems Advanced Practice Coordinator or designated faculty advisor will review submitted materials to determine an applicant’s specific plan of study.


The Post-Master’s Certificate in Informatics is designed to prepare nurses for clinical leadership roles in the design, selection, implementation and utilization of information technology (IT) systems in support of improved quality, safety and outcomes of care. Students will also apply knowledge in real-world situations during a practicum (residency) in a clinical informatics setting.

The program is 15-18 credits in length and can be completed in 2-4 academic semesters (1-2 years). The curriculum combines content in health care informatics, systems analysis, database management and outcomes. Students take courses from the School of Nursing and the School of Information and Library Science.

The plan of study for the Post-Master’s Certificate in Informatics is individualized, based upon a student’s prior education and work experiences. The Health Care Systems Advanced Practice Coordinator or designated faculty advisor will review submitted materials to determine an appliant’s specific plan of study.

Limited scholarship support is available.

Who May Apply?

Individuals who have earned a master’s degree in nursing from accredited programs, are currently licensed as RNs, and have at least one year’s clinical experience are eligible to apply.

Application Materials

You will be asked to submit the following documents with your application:

  • One employee letter of recommendation from a current, immediate supervisor
  • Curriculum vita or resume, detailing experience since completion of entry nursing degree
  • Cogently written professional statement (3-5 pages) addressing all elements requested as detailed in Application Instruction
  • Current unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the state in which the student will do clinical course work. Note: an “unencumbered license” means neither the license, the licensee’s practice, nor the licensee is associated with any type of restriction, encumbrance, or probationary limitations imposed by the applicable Board of Nursing or any judicial entity.
How Does the Program Work?

Students in both of these Post-Master’s program areas take courses with Health Care Systems graduate students in the Master of Science in Nursing program. Transcripts of Post-Master’s candidates are reviewed by the Advanced Practice Coordinator in the selected area of study. Additional or alternative coursework may be recommended based on this evaluation.

Students are expected to complete the program as planned. Students who drop out are generally not eligible to return in the following year and must reapply. (You can see how it is on the other areas if needed).

Health Care Systems faculty members are sensitive to students’ learning needs by employing a variety of instructional modalities including seminar or classroom settings, on-line and/or Web-enhanced instruction. As a result, the courses may be offered in traditional classroom settings and/or via distance technologies.

The final residency course (NURS878) has a preceptored practicum requirement. There are many excellent clinical sites and residency preceptors in the Triangle area including hospital, home health, long-term care and ambulatory care settings. Learners may also suggest sites and preceptors in their local area, which will be evaluated by the faculty to assure that course objectives can be met. The classes you will attend are courses offered in the Health Care Systems Advanced Practice Area of our Master’s program.

How Long Does it Take to Complete the Program?

For students who begin during the Fall semester, the HCS certificate options take up to 2 academic years to complete.

How Much Does the Program Cost?

Under revision. Please check back soon for updates.

When Should I Apply?

Admission to the Post-Master’s Certificate Program is offered only once per year (Fall). The deadline for applying is January 14th, 2014.

What Will I Gain From Completing the Program?

Upon satisfactory completion of this program, students are eligible to sit for national certification in their area of specialization.

Additional Information
Suggested Plan of Study

How to Apply


School of Nursing
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Office of Student Affairs
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460
(919) 966-4260