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Master of Science in Nursing Virtual Open House

Video Transcript

MISTY SALAZAR: Welcome, everyone, to the MSN virtual open house. My name is Misty Salazar, and I'm a senior program manager for the University of Saint Mary's online nursing program.

We're excited that you have joined us this evening. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the MSN program and ask any questions that you have.

On the agenda for tonight, we have Dr. King joining us to provide some insight into the benefits and details of our MSN program. At the end of the presentation, we will open up the floor for your individual questions for Dr. King and myself to answer. Through the entirety of the presentation, you're also welcome to type your questions in the text box, and we will address them during the Q&A session.

So without further ado, I'd like to go ahead and introduce our speaker this evening, Dr. King. Dr. King is our program director of the MSN program and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and academic excellence to the University of Saint Mary. So I'd like to go ahead and give Dr. King the floor. Please welcome Dr. Linda King.

LINDA KING: Thank you, Misty. I'd also like to thank everyone who is attending the virtual open house and let you know that I'm so glad you've decided to spend some time here to take a look at what the University of Saint Mary has to offer you as you continue in your nursing career.

I wanted to first tell you a little bit about myself. I have over 15 years of background in the education field, coming from a history of infection control nursing, OB, critical care, just kind of a background of a little bit of everything. And then, I came into education, teaching baccalaureate students first, and then into the online environment.

I started with the University of Saint Mary in July of '14 as the director of this program. And it's really been a wonderful experience. I have got to tell you, I love the online environment, I love teaching, and I love nursing. And I love working with students. So this opportunity has been great for me. I get to do a little bit of all those things.

So I've been a student most of my adult life, so I think I bring that lens in my role now to help you as you continue as a student. I'm also certified in nursing education. This is a distinction you can test for after completing the educator track. And admin students also have a certification through the American Organization of Nurse Executives that you can test through as well when you get done. So this is something that we're very proud of, and we've built it so that it's kind of the gift of education that keeps on giving.

I started with my baccalaureate degree from Pittsburgh State University. And then I went on to the University of Kansas, where I received my Master's of Science in Nursing. That allowed me to be an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and also a Clinical Nurse Specialist. And then I got the educator programs under my belt and then went on to get my PhD in education. All these things were built and started with a good foundation of a good Master's program, which is what you'll get at the University of Saint Mary, too. Misty?

MISTY SALAZAR: All right. Thank you, Dr. King. Well, let's go ahead and talk a little bit about the University of Saint Mary. So in July of 2003, our college expanded to become the University of Saint Mary, which today offers 26 undergraduate degrees and 6 graduate degrees.

With over 85 years of experience in adult education, the University of Saint Mary has gained a reputation for developing value-centered graduates who are active contributing members of the larger community. The university's concept of applied liberal arts embraces the rich history and meaning of the liberal arts tradition, while intentionally connecting learning into the real world in concrete and very practical ways.

The University of Saint Mary has a strong academic history in liberal arts education, dating back to 1923, when we were founded by the Sisters of Charity. Our main campus is located in Leavenworth, Kansas, and we are a not-for-profit university. We're private and Catholic.

The university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. And our MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nurse Education. These are a few of the reasons why The Princeton Review has repeatedly named USM a best Midwestern college every year since 2005. These are important facts to consider, too, if and when you decide to take your education even further.

University of Saint Mary specializes in health care education, and it is deeply rooted in the University of Saint Mary's tradition. USM has a longstanding dedication to health care, health care education, and meeting the most pressing needs of society. As you can see, there is a list of other health care programs that we offer, either online or campus, or, in some cases, both.

All right, Dr. King, would you mind telling us a little bit more about USM's mission and values?

LINDA KING: No, not at all, Misty. I wanted to share with you all that Saint Mary really does build the curriculum and what we do as educators on the mission and values of the university. And we're very proud of the mission statement where it helps us remember and focus on that we educate students of diverse backgrounds to realize their God-given potential and prepare them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the well-being of our global society.

Also, the fact that we build and believe in the dignity of each person's capacity to learn, to relate, and to better our diverse world. And this includes community, respect, justice, and excellence. And we know that you'll be able to identify this in our curriculum, in our faculty, in our support people as you move on through the university's program.

We also find that a lot of people are drawn to our program because of Sister Ramon Roach's Five Cs of Caring. And both our undergraduate [INAUDIBLE] and RN to BSN programs are built on this, as well as our MSN. And that includes commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and confidence. When we talk with people, it really is one of the basic things that bring people to our program is the focus on caring.

And besides that, you're looking at this for a reason. And we know that the future of nursing depends on Advanced Practice Nurses. So we need to make sure that we continue to focus on this. So if you're an educator, you can help prepare these baccalaureate students by 2020. If you are practicing nursing in the 21st century, you'll be taking the place of folks that are retiring. Our population will be more diverse, so we need to know about the cultural and socioeconomic factors that are there. And like I said, the baby boomers-- which, if you can tell by my picture, I'm one of those-- are going to be retiring. So we need replacements that have this advanced practice education under their belt.

And then besides this, we've really prepared you to be aware of the changing needs and improvements that are out there to guide us as nurses and guide us as nurses helping our patients. In the program, we'll talk about health policy, health care financing, community and public health-- which is where a lot of our focus is heading-- leadership, quality improvement.

And one of the most important is systems thinking. This is a big buzz word in health care. But we can't improve if we don't improve the system. So this is very important, and you'll have lots of support in learning these things. And USM can help you lead the way.

MISTY SALAZAR: Wonderful. Dr. King, I often get asked about some of the benefits of getting an MSN at USM. And we offer quite a few benefits for online students, starting with our support system. You'll have a program manager that's going to guide you throughout the entire enrollment process. You'll also have an online student services team that will be with you for your academic journey, all the way through graduation. In addition to this, you'll have access to our 24/7 technical support center. And your dedicated professors, like Dr. King, will be available to help with any questions or concerns via email, in a virtual face-to-face environment if need be, or even by phone.

We understand the busy and demanding schedules of our nurses. This is why we offer our program 100% online. We do not have any required log-in times, and our courses do not have proctored exams. Our MSN program does not require designated clinical hours, so you can focus on your career. And we also like to keep our class sizes smaller, so our faculty can maintain higher engagement with our students to help foster their success.

The MSN program is written to the 2013 Master's Essentials from the American Association of Colleges on Nursing and the CCNE accrediting standards. CCNE accreditation supports and encourages continuing self-assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education. CCNE serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices. Gold standard-- and that was awarded to USM, their MSN program, here in March of 2014.

LINDA KING: Right. And we're very pleased and proud of this status. And I really want you to know and understand that it means a lot to you when you choose to continue your education as well.

So Misty, if I could, I'd like to talk a little bit about the tracks or the concentrations that we have. And the first one I want to talk about is nurse administration. And when you choose the admin track here, you have some great opportunities. You're able to explore and apply your education in order to perform leadership functions of governance and decision-making.

So if you have a project, or if you have been a charge nurse or are interested in administration, you get to work with some folks that can help you with those career opportunities. And then you get to demonstrate it in a final project that uses both a nursing and business focus.

If you are in the admin track in a magnet facility, you have to have your MSN if you hold a leadership position. So if you are thinking about furthering your career path there, be sure and consider the MSN as the place to go.

And then we have the nurse educator track. And as an MSN in nurse education, this prepares you for career opportunities in academic and clinical settings. We explore both of those. You can teach in community colleges, universities, hospital settings.

So in this track, you learn about the learners of today and how they learn and how to use these teaching methods and technologies to get the need-to-know information to nurses and nurses that are already on the job. So we know that just because you are a great nurse, that doesn't always mean that you're a great teacher. But we help you learn how to do that.

So we do that through what we call the practicums, or sometimes we call it an immersion experience, because you have three practicum courses. You have practicum 1 and 2 and the capstone. And you have 120 hours that you're required to have over the time frame of those three courses. You'll find a preceptor that you can work with that is Master's prepared, and you work with them in a real-world setting.

And then this is an opportunity for you to put your theory into practice. And then you have a final project that you present to the educators here at the University of Saint Mary virtually. And then you have your MSN. So you can do these practicums in a hospital, in a clinical learning setting, or if you have a university in your area, you can do your practicum there if it's in education. So we work with you and help you find the places that will best help meet your needs and fulfill the requirements of the USM MSN track.

MISTY SALAZAR: Great. Thank you. All right, well, what I wanted to do is give you a glimpse as to what our online classroom looks like. We know that many of our nurses haven't been in an online classroom. So here's a snapshot we can go through.

Our online learning platform is called Engage. It's similar to Blackboard or Moodle, if you've ever taken any online classes. As you can see, it's laid out week by week. For example, you click on week one. Within that first week, it will outline everything you need to read, any technology you need to have, what your weekly discussion is going to look like, and what your weekly assignments are.

Also, we find that it's really important for nurses to have some resources. So on the right-hand side, you'll see where it says access De Paul Library here. We have quite a few articles, databases, research guides, a lot of great tools there. And we have a librarian on staff that can also assist you if you need assistance with gathering data or possibly APA writing style.

LINDA KING: Yeah, and I really do feel like our library is one of the greatest resources you have, besides the standardized course presentation, where you know-- no matter what course you're in, you know exactly where your assignments are listed, where your discussion questions are listed. You don't have to spend a lot of time looking for those either. So we try to standardize everything so you can spend your time learning and not trying to figure out where things are. And then, like Misty said, so proud of our library and the librarians that we have here to help you.

MISTY SALAZAR: Great. Wonderful. Well, you know, I want to thank you so much, Dr. King. What I'd like to do now is open up the forum for your questions from the attendees. So if you could, folks, please type your questions in the text box to the right, and we'll answer them in the order they are received. We are on a time limit for the presentation, so if your question is not addressed within our allotted time, one of our program managers would be more than happy to assist you.

I'd like to start with the first question we received during the presentation. Dr. King, it looks like Jamie would like to get an idea as to what an example of a project could be for her practicum.

LINDA KING: Sure, one of the recent ones was we had an educator who was teaching at a private university in the South, and there wasn't an online version of a theory course. And so that meant that if students needed this course, they had to wait until the next term that came around.

So what our student did was to create the online version of an in-seat course. And that met her requirements for the educator outcomes.

So she got to work with the administrator of the program. She got to look at what teaching learning methods were best for online versus in-seat. She got to examine curriculum and theory that she needed to present. So all those educator competencies were met through that project.

Then an example of the administrator, we had a student who was looking at a quality improvement board. In her hospital, there was one unit that had a board where people could bring ideas, and put them up there on a sticky note or write them in, of improvement for the unit.

So she wanted to compare the satisfaction of people working in that unit, as opposed to a unit that didn't have the quality improvement board and to see if it was any different as far as their retention, their feeling of contentment, their feeling of being able to advance.

So she was able to do that over her immersion experience by finding the data. We worked through looking at the data to see if there were any differences. And then she presented that.

And there was a higher satisfaction, we found out, when people felt like they had a say in their processes. So it's that type of thing, but it really is whatever you, as a student, have been wondering or thinking, oh, I think that could be done better. You know, we'll work with you to make that happen.

MISTY SALAZAR: Wow, that's really insightful. Thank you so much for sharing that. It looks like we have another question for Tyler. And Tyler would like to know, what is the typical amount of time that it takes to complete the program, start to finish.

LINDA KING: Well, it depends. We've had some students who will double up. But if you're taking a course every eight weeks, and you continue through the summer, then about two years. So that's what we're talking about, at the slowest.

But again, you can double up. You could take research and policy and ethics, if it were offered, or when you get to the end, if you have your project in mind, and you've worked with the instructors to get things laid out, you could combine practicum 1 and 2 into eight weeks, and then your capstone into the next eight, and finish that a term earlier. So with the every-eight-week terms, you have that possibility of doubling up. Did that answer it, do you think?

MISTY SALAZAR: OK. Yeah, I think so. I think that was perfect. Oh, I just got a message back. They said, yes, thank you. So wonderful.

And then I do have just a couple more. Leslie would like to know, as far as-- she says-- let me read it word for word. Will this degree allow me to continue on for my DNP?

LINDA KING: Yes, and that's one reason that we ask you to keep track of your hours. Now, as you continue on to your DNP, some of our courses may or may not transfer into your DNP program. That really is up to their admission criteria.

But I do know that if you keep track of your hours, many institutions will take up to 1,000 hours of criteria that you've already met. So you have that documentation. We only require 120 hours through the practicum. But what we're finding is the average is about 200 that students put in to their MSN. So those are documented. They're verified by the instructors. And you can take those to your DNP program and say, here, I have this documented and certified from the University of Saint Mary. What will you give me towards my DNP?

Now, that being said, an MSN really is, in theory, a basis for continuing on to your PhD. So you have a research background. You have a research course that you're looking at. So it can really help you if you decide to go that route as well.

MISTY SALAZAR: OK, great. And it looks like there's another question here from Melissa. I'll go ahead and take this one, because it does pertain as to getting started in the program. Melissa would like to know when our next enrollment dates are.

And that's a really great question, Melissa. We are accepting applications for our next two enrollment periods. Keep in mind, we do work off of eight-week sessions. So really, we're a good full semester out. But we are reviewing applications for any time between now and then.

Feel free to go ahead and contact one of the program managers here directly. If you have questions about that, we're more than happy to assist you. You can even apply at our link that's listed there. Or you can go to and find that exact link if you're not able to save this before the presentation is over.

Our first step is to fill out the application. We'll then reach out to you immediately to assist you in the admissions process and make sure that this is helping you get on the track that you're wanting to proceed.

And we really appreciate you, Dr. King, joining us. And I want to thank everyone who came and joined us this evening, as well. We really look forward to helping you achieve your goals here at USM.

LINDA KING: And I agree, Misty. It's very important to us to help you in this health care environment to be all you can be as an advanced nurse leader. And we're here to help, and USM really wants you to come and look and see what we have to offer.

We have great feedback from our students as to how it's helped them. And many people have had promotions before they even leave the program. And I think a lot of that is due to the project that they're able to show to their employer, as well as their own drive to continue their education, like you guys are looking into.

So thanks again for coming. And Misty, thank you for putting together this seminar for the students to learn more about USM.

MISTY SALAZAR: Of course. Well, we're excited just as much as you are to have students working toward their goals. Everyone have a great evening. Take care.

LINDA KING: Thank you. Bye.