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On our radar: Baccalaureate education

Saturday June 21, 2014
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Duquesne to offer first joint nursing, biomedical engineering bachelor’s degree

This fall, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh will become the first academic institution in the U.S. and globally to offer a dual degree in nursing and biomedical engineering for undergraduate students, according to a news release.

“Duquesne has pioneered the integration of clinical knowledge and patient care with engineering techniques in a single program, creating the first bachelor’s degree of its kind,” Provost Timothy Austin, PhD, said in the release.

The five-year program will provide students with a foundational body of knowledge that keeps patient care and practical application at the core of studies supporting innovations and technological advances.

The joint degree could prove a tremendous value to employers and patients, said John Viator, PhD, director of Duquesne’s biomedical engineering program.

By gaining actual clinical experience, students also will develop new perspectives with respect to a patient’s health and functional needs. “Engineers do not always fully appreciate the hospital culture and the clinical needs of patients,” Mary Ellen Glasgow, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean and professor of the School of Nursing, said in the release. “This dual degree gives our students both the engineering and nursing perspectives to solve real world clinical problems.”

In addition to learning engineering and nursing, students will benefit from class and clinical experiences that incorporate the Toyota Production System principles (used to address safety, cost and efficiency) and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Synergy Model.

Job opportunities for biomedical engineers are expected to grow 27% between 2012 and 2022, and nursing careers are expected to expand by 19% in the same timeframe, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the combined knowledge and skills of the two disciplines, opportunities may be limitless for the “nurse engineer,” Viator and Glasgow predict.

“Our students will begin their careers with the preparation, knowledge and worldview usually seen in those with years of experience in the field,” Austin said in the release. “This exciting BME/BSN partnership illustrates Duquesne’s innovative academic programs and the university’s focus on preparing students with the knowledge and skills to serve others.”

Eastern Kentucky University to offer RN-to-BSN program 100% online

Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., is preparing to meet the needs of working nurses by offering its fully accredited RN-to-BSN program 100% online starting this fall, according to a news release.

Program Coordinator Beverly Hart, APRN, PhD, said in the release the online RN-to-BSN program will offer stimulating curricular opportunities students expect in a format that is convenient to adult learners.

Students can choose from a full-time option that allows them to graduate in as little as one year or a part-time option that will take about two years to complete. Students will receive credit for previous learning and can complete their clinical projects in their own community, according to the release.

EKU nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and also incorporate the standards of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, including evidence-based practice and professional nursing communication and collaboration, according to the release.

Applications are due July 15 with classes beginning Aug. 19. For more information, visit go.eku.edu/RN-BSN-Online or call 859-622-8560.

RWJF announces scholarships for 52 nursing schools

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced awards to 52 schools of nursing that will comprise the final cohort of RWJF’s prestigious New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, according to a news release.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, the schools will receive grants to support traditionally underrepresented students who are making a career switch to nursing through an accelerated BSN or MSN program. NCIN is a program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Each NCIN Scholar already has earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, and is making a transition to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program. The program prepares students to assume the role of RN in 12 to 18 months.

In addition to a $10,000 scholarship, NCIN scholars receive other support to help them meet the demands of an accelerated degree program. All NCIN grantee schools maintain a leadership program and a mentoring program for their scholars, as well as a pre-entry immersion program to assist scholars in learning essential study, test-taking, and other skills needed to succeed in their program of study.

“Nursing and nursing education are at a critical juncture right now, and NCIN’s exemplary approach to supporting nursing schools is helping to strengthen both,” AACN President Eileen Breslin, RN, PhD, FAAN, said in a news release. “NCIN’s creative, innovative and responsive approach to providing grantees with tools to ensure academic success will result in lasting changes at nursing schools nationwide. The NCIN program has truly raised the bar for recruitment, retention, mentoring and leadership development for nursing students from groups underrepresented in nursing.”

Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,517 scholarships to students at 130 schools of nursing. This year, funding for 400 scholarships was granted. The following schools received grants: Bellarmine University; Boston College; College of St. Scholastica; Columbia University; Duke University; Duquesne University: Edgewood College; Georgia Regents University; Lewis University; Linfield College; Marquette University; Medical University of South Carolina; MidAmerica Nazarene University; Mount Carmel Health System Foundation; Nebraska Methodist; New Jersey City University; New York University; Oregon Health & Science University; Pace University; Quinnipiac University; Rush University Medical Center; Saint Louis University; Samford University; Samuel Merritt University; Seattle University; Seton Hall University; Southern Connecticut State University; Stony Brook Foundation; SUNY Downstate Medical Center; The University of Texas at El Paso; Thomas Edison State College; Thomas Jefferson University; University of Cincinnati; University of Delaware; University of Hawaii at Manoa; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Miami; University of Michigan, Flint; University of Minnesota; University of Mississippi Medical Center; University of Missouri, Kansas City; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of Rochester; University of San Diego; University of South Alabama; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Valdosta State University; Winston-Salem State University; and Yale University.

Nurse staff levels and education affect patient outcomes, study finds

Hospitals in nine European countries where nursing staff care for fewer patients and have a higher proportion of bachelor’s degree-trained nurses had significantly fewer surgical patients die while hospitalized, a recent study found. The findings underscore the potential risks to patients when nurse staffing is cut and suggest an increased emphasis on bachelor’s education for nurses could reduce hospital deaths, according to a National Institutes of Health press release.

The study, which was supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme and the National Institute of Nursing Research, part of the NIH, provided a detailed analysis of patient outcomes associated with nurse staffing and education in Europe.

Known as Registered Nurses Forecasting, the study estimated an increase of one patient in hospital nurses’ workloads increases the likelihood of inpatient hospital death by 7%. A better educated nurse workforce also was associated with fewer deaths. For every 10% increase in nurses with bachelor’s degrees, there was an associated drop in the likelihood of death by 7%. Results of the study were published earlier this year in The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal.

“Building the scientific foundation for clinical practice has long been a crucial goal of nursing research and the work supported by NINR,” NINR Director Patricia A. Grady, RN, PHD, FAAN, said in the release. “This study emphasizes the role that nurses play in ensuring successful patient outcomes and underscores the need for a well-educated nursing workforce.”

For the study, a consortium of scientists reviewed hospital discharge data of nearly 500,000 patients from nine European countries who underwent common surgeries. They also surveyed more than 26,500 nurses practicing in study hospitals to measure nurse staffing and education levels. The team analyzed the data and surveys to assess the effects of nursing factors on the likelihood of patients dying within 30 days of hospital admission.

Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated patients in hospitals where 60% of nurses had bachelor’s degrees and cared for an average of six patients had a nearly one-third lower risk of dying in the hospital after surgery than patients in hospitals where only one-third of nurses had bachelor’s level education and cared for an average of eight patients each.

In the U.S., analysis of patient outcomes associated with nurse staffing practices has resulted in proposed or actual legislation in nearly 25 states. The study also lends support to the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that 80% of nurses in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree by 2020, according to the release.

University of Louisville nurse residency program receives accreditation

The nurse residency program at University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, has been awarded a five-year accreditation, the maximum term, from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. CCNE is a leading accrediting body for nurse education and nurse residency programs.

“This is considered the industry’s ‘gold standard,’ and provides the metric by which all other residency programs are measured,” Velinda J. Block, RN, DNP, NEA-BC, CNO of KentuckyOne Health, said in a news release. “Over time, it is our goal to expand the success that has been achieved at ULH to additional sites in KentuckyOne,”

The goal of the 12-month program is to further develop and transition new baccalaureate-prepared graduate nurses into the workforce, a key recommendation of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report on “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.” In 2010, the inaugural 14 residents were all graduates of the University of Louisville School of Nursing. Since then, more than 250 nurse residents from nursing schools across the country have completed the nurse residency program, according to the release.

“Patients have complex healthcare needs, and it can be very demanding for new graduates,” Marcia Hern, RN, EdD, CNS, dean and professor, University of Louisville School of Nursing, said in the release. “The ULH nurse residency program is an extension of our senior-level transitions to practice course, providing new graduates the additional support they need to be successful.”
Hern said the program is similar to the concept of the residency for other health professionals and is moving the nursing profession to a higher level within its scope of practice.

“ULH is proud to be a leader in creating thriving workplace experiences; our nurse residents report improved confidence, competence, ability to organize and prioritize, communication, leadership and a reduction in stress levels,” ULH CNO Mary Jane Adams, RN, MSN, said in the release.

Southern New Hampshire University celebrates inaugural baccalaureate nursing class

Southern New Hampshire University’s Department of Nursing celebrated its first class of baccalaureate nursing graduates at the inaugural nursing pinning ceremony on May 9 in Manchester, N.H., according to a news release.

Surrounded by family and friends, each nursing student received an SNHU nurse’s pin, signifying completion of the program and dedication to the profession. The students graduated during commencement ceremonies on May 10.

“To the nurse educators who made this happen, I cannot tell you how grateful we are that you’ve gotten this program up and running in a short time,” said Patricia Lynott, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “And it’s going to be the best nursing program in the state of New Hampshire.”

The nurse’s pin is inscribed with the school and program names, as well as three important words: “service,” “scholarship” and “practice.” These words symbolize a nurse’s charge to serve, participate in scholarship and uphold the standards of practice.

SNHU nursing graduate Tammey McCloud, BSN, echoed these sentiments in her student address.

“With the help of our peers and faculty, we have challenged ourselves to further our knowledge of the science, and have explored, reshaped and reframed our perceptions of the art of nursing and solemn responsibility of caring for our community,” McCloud said in the speech. “On this day, we can again rededicate ourselves to our vocation with a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of purpose.”

The mission of the SNHU Department of Nursing is to be a leader in providing quality undergraduate and graduate nursing education with distinction in scholarship, service and practice.

Gold Foundation, AACN announce pilot nationwide White Coat nursing program

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have announced plans to pilot the first Gold Foundation Nursing White Coat Ceremony at 100 nursing schools nationwide to emphasize the commitment of incoming nursing students to provide compassionate care, according to a news release. The groundbreaking program was made possible by a lead gift of $500,000 from APGF trustee Elaine Adler and her husband, Mike.

First initiated in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony has been held at medical schools for many years to initiate new classes of students and emphasize compassionate, patient-centered care. Now, about 96% of the schools of medicine in the U.S. accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges hold a White Coat Ceremony.

To capitalize on the success of this widely hailed program, the Gold Foundation and AACN support expanding the White Coat Ceremony to nursing.

“Inviting nursing into this initiative sends a clear message that all health professionals have an essential role to play in providing compassionate care,” AACN President Eileen T. Breslin, RN. PhD, FAAN, said in a news release. “AACN applauds our colleagues with the Gold Foundation and the Adlers for supporting this visionary effort that promotes excellence in healthcare delivery and interprofessional engagement.”

For the pilot program, AACN will identify 100 schools interested in hosting a White Coat Ceremony for new nursing students enrolling in fall 2014. The deadline for schools to apply for the pilot program was May 30. Participating schools will receive financial support to host a ceremony, which would feature the recitation of an oath, receipt of a commemorative pin, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests. Schools selected to participate will receive $3,000 in funding to defray expenses related to hosting the ceremony as well as a supply of commemorative pins. Following the pilot program, the Gold Foundation and AACN are planning a nationwide rollout of the White Coat Ceremony to a larger number of nursing institutions in 2015.

Simmons College to offer new online BSN in fall

Simmons College in Boston announced the launch of an online RN to BSN program, its first online undergraduate degree program, according to a news release.

Simmons also announced a new online RN to MSN program. Both programs are designed for RNs holding an associate’s degree in nursing and will be offered through a partnership with 2U, a provider of cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions.

The two new programs are available through the Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences’s Nursing@Simmons, which offers the school’s online MSN for family nurse practitioners program to students across the country.

“Just one year ago, we successfully launched our first online nursing program,” Helen G. Drinan, president of Simmons College, said in the release. “The success of Nursing@Simmons has exceeded our expectations and has proven that a quality online program can meet the same academic rigor and standards found on campus. With Simmons now providing online degree offerings in both undergraduate and graduate programs, we are excited to be at the forefront of a paradigm shift in higher education.”

Both the RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs began accepting applications on May 1. Classes will begin in October 2014. The programs will be delivered online with live, interactive sessions on 2U’s state-of-the-art learning platform.

“Last May, we began an important and productive partnership with Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences,” Chip Paucek, co-founder and CEO of 2U, said in the release. “To date, we’ve supported this highly regarded, liberal arts college through three cohorts of Nursing@Simmons students from 36 states — extending the prestigious Simmons brand far beyond the local Boston community.”

To see what else is trending, visit www.Nurse.com/BSN-Education.


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