University speeds route to nursing degree

Monday, April 3, 2006

New nursing program.Classes begin in August for the 16 students who will be chosen for the charter class of a new nursing program that makes it possible for anyone with a bachelor's degree – in any field – to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing in 16 months. The program prepares graduates to take the exam for licensure as registered nurses (RNs) in the state of Minnesota.

The program blends classroom instruction, online courses, simulated learning laboratory and clinical practice to build on previous knowledge and learning experiences. Nursing science faculty members point out that college graduates already know how to be successful students, making them good candidates for a "fast-track" program. "These students will be different from traditional college students," says Assistant Professor of Nursing Science Mary Hoenig. Many will say "I've always wanted to be in nursing" or "I've decided to change careers because I want to make a difference." Others will be interested because of an experience, such as the illness of a relative, which has shown them the value of a career in the healthcare profession.

SCSU also continues to offer a traditional baccalaureate nursing program, which had its first cohort graduate in May 2004. The university's nursing program was developed in cooperation with the greater community, including St. Cloud Hospital, HealthPartners, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other regional healthcare industry partners.

The first group in the accelerated program will graduate in December 2007 with a new class every other year.

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