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RN-to-BSN Virtual Open House

Video Transcript

DIANA: Welcome to the RN to BSN virtual open house. My name is Diana, and I'm a senior program manager here at the University of Saint Mary. We're excited that you all have joined us this evening. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the university and the RN to BSN program and ask questions that you have.

On the agenda tonight, we have Kathy Ducey joining us to give us insight into the benefits and details of the RN to BSN program. Kathy is an RRN to BSN director and is an associate professor. And at the end of our presentation, we'll open up the floor for your individual questions for Kathy.

Of course, throughout the entirety of the presentation, you can type your questions in the text box, and we'll address them during the Q&A.

So without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker this evening, Kathy. Again, she is our program director for the nursing program and brings a wealth of academic excellence to the university. I'd like to go ahead and give Kathy the floor. Please welcome Kathy Ducey.

KATHY DUCEY: Thank you, Diana. And I'd like to welcome all of you to the virtual open house. And I'm delighted that you've chosen to spend some of your valuable time with us.

I've been at the University of Saint Mary since 2006, and my clinical background is in oncology. I earned my BSN from the University of Saint Mary in their RN to BSN program that was prior to the online program, and my Master's in nursing from the University of Kansas.

Making decisions to go back to school is a huge step, but you're obviously ready. And now, we are here for you to tell you more about Saint Mary's.

DIANA: Thank you so much, Kathy. So just to give you all a general background, the University of Saint Mary has a very strong academic history in liberal arts education dating back to 1923, when we were founded by the Sisters of Charity. And our main campus is located in Leavenworth, Kansas.

We have many accolades, and we've received a lot of them over the years. And one of those that we're very proud of is that we have been named best Midwestern college every year since 2005 by The Princeton Review.

We also specialize in different health care education, and that really is very deeply rooted in our university tradition. University of Saint Mary has a longstanding dedication to health care, health care education, and meeting the most pressing needs of society. As you can see from this list, we offer many health care programs, and all of those can be completed either online or on our campus.

KATHY DUCEY: One of the things that I really appreciate about the University of Saint Mary is their mission. And as you can read-- and I won't take your time, but read the mission-- Saint Mary is dedicated to students of diverse backgrounds to realize their God-given potential. And, in that way, we really support our students so that everyone benefits and uses their own potential and works at their pace to achieve their goals. And we recognize and believe in the dignity of each person's capacity to learn. And that is deeply rooted in our mission and our goals here in the RN to BSN program.

In the nursing program, we focus on the five Cs of Caring. The five Cs of Caring is a philosophy and a theoretical framework of Sister Simone Roach. And Sister Simone Roach had five Cs of Caring, and we all know that you care. You're nurses, and you care. But we take that caring and her paradigm and sort of break it down into those different pieces-- your commitment to the nursing profession, your conscience to do what is right, the confidence that you have to fulfill your practice competencies, compassion as a nurse, and the confidence to do what you do best. And that is our approach in our nursing education here at Saint Mary's.

So why be a nurse with your BSN? Many of you know better than I that you are here because you, number one, want to become a BSN-prepared nurse or that you are being faced with the challenges of your institution asking you to increase your education.

So we know that the Institute of Medicine recommends that health care professionals learn core concepts of patient-centered care. And they're looking to have at least 80% of the nursing profession have a baccalaureate degree by 2020.

This is a challenge. But oh, it's just going to be wonderful for you. I went through the RN to BSN program, and I think this is what is going to make you a better nurse. I know that for sure.

So benefits for nurses with a BSN-- we certainly are facing a nation that has shifted dramatically. And so during our program, we take a deeper look at leadership, health care policy, system improvement, research, and evidence-based practice, and collaboration with other teams to increase your practice.

We're also taking a look at the new technology tools and informatics that are facing us every day. A more educated nursing workforce will be better equipped to meet the demands of our ever-evolving health care system. And I believe that we have developed an RN to BSN program that meets all of these competencies and is built for you as a working nurse to increase your nursing practice and introduce you to a wider range of competencies that you know that you need, and you know that you're facing. And it's all here for you.

DIANA: There are certainly a lot of other benefits to our RN to BSN program, of course starting with the support system. You'll have a program manager like myself that will guide you throughout the enrollment process. You'll also have an online student services team that will be with you throughout your academic journey, all the way to graduation. And you have a 24/7 technical support team and center that is dedicated to helping you if you even have any problems at 1:00 in the morning, and you need help. And of course, our dedicated professors are available to help you with any questions or concerns.

And we understand that most of our nurses are very busy and have demanding schedules. And that's why we do offer our campus program 100% online. There are no required log-in times or proctored exams. So we really, really try to make this as flexible as possible. And of course, keeping our class sizes really small-- that way, our faculty can have a much higher level of engagement with our students to foster their success.

KATHY DUCEY: So one of the things the nursing program here at USM is designed to help you improve your patient outcomes-- that's what we're here for-- and their quality of care, while allowing you to take the next step in your career.

And I just share this with everyone. When I was going back for my BSN, I remember talking with a friend of mine who was, at that time, a clinical nurse specialist. And I said, "Oh, Pam. I'm a really good nurse. I've been a nurse for 20 years. Why do I need my BSN?" And she looked at me, and she said, "Kathy, it's going to change your way of thinking." And I thought, yeah, right, OK?

And you know what? I don't know how to really explain it, but it does. It changes you. It increases your thinking. Your critical thinking skills are enhanced. It just makes a really big difference to you as a nurse, and to our profession as a whole, as you achieve this degree.

DIANA: I agree with you, Kathy. You know, we do hear a lot of stories-- I'm sure you do as well-- about different students in the program that have seen success, even before they've been awarded their BSN.

One example is we had a student that was in the nursing program, and she was working two part entry-level nursing jobs and was really struggling to find something full-time. And it was difficult. She had a husband, three children. And it was just very difficult to juggle two jobs.

So three weeks after starting her RN to BSN program, she got offered a full-time day shift position on the floor where she had been applying to for months. And after she was hired, her employer told her that the reason they looked at her before other candidates was because she had started her BSN.

And so we've seen many cases where just even starting the BSN program can be extremely influential. So imagine all the possibilities and the doors that will open up once you're actually in the program.

So as I mentioned before, we do have a lot of accolades for this program. The most important thing, of course, to consider is that we are CCNE accredited. This is the gold standard for nursing programs. I'm sure a lot of you know about CCNE. But really, its main objective is to encourage continuing self-assessment for nursing professionals through different nursing programs and support continuing growth and improvement of collegiate nursing education.

We also offer our prospective students to have the opportunity to have their unofficial transcript evaluated to gain a better understanding of how many general education courses or electives they're going to need that are remaining for their program.

To give you a little bit of a kind of idea, most of our nurses graduate between anywhere from one to three years. And all have the option to take one or two classes every eight weeks. So although many students choose to complete their degree in a short time, we can actually give you up to five years to complete your degree.

And this program does not require any clinical hours, and instead, we have a course, a community health care course, that gives you an opportunity to have a clinical component of the program without logging hours.

So, Kathy, could you share a little bit more about that with us?

KATHY DUCEY: Yes. There are two courses, actually-- leadership and community. They're four-hour courses. And they have an in-class community component. And what that is, is that you do a project-- either on your own, or you can do it on your unit. But that's not a requirement. You can do it on your own.

And I'll just give you an example. For a community health care course, you would develop a project, for hopefully in your community, like [INAUDIBLE] setting up a health fair would be one, or a flu shot clinic. And then you would write about that. You would look into it, and you would write about it. So you don't have to go out into the clinical world, but you need to think about what you would do and how you would do it.

So that's how we do our clinical. And it meets CCNE requirements. And actually, I think the students really like it better and gain more from it.

So I'd also-- as we go to the next slide. These are the nursing core courses. And you take them not in exact sequence. You always come in with-- Nursing as a Profession is always our first course. That helps you learn how to navigate some of the programs, the Engage system and some other things that we require of you, and it just kind of gets you going into the program.

And then the other courses, we fit them in as well as they work with your schedule. And if you need any other additional classes-- if you need a math class or something, we'll get that in there for you.

And then the last class that you take, or almost the last class, would be your senior seminar. And so those are the bookends of our nursing curriculum. There are 29 hours in our nursing curriculum. And that's pretty average. We really like the way things are set up, and I think you will, too.

We also have a course-- if you'll notice, 490 is Palliative Care. That's becoming a new requirement for accredited institutions. And we have had that class now since 2007.

So I think we're looking at the Engage platform next.

DIANA: Yep. So many of our nurses haven't been in school for a long time. And a lot haven't done online classes. So here's a snapshot of our Engage platform. This is what your classroom actually looks like. If any of you have done online classes in the past, you may be familiar with other platforms, such as Blackboard. And it is very similar.

But what we've heard is that it's a little bit more organized and a little bit easier to follow. And you can see here that every time you log in, you have a Getting Started section that has everything, from your syllabus, to different resources, to an ask-an-instructor section.

And because we're on an eight-week schedule, you can actually see here that you automatically get access to all of your assignments, week one through eight. So if you ever needed to plan ahead and submit something in a little bit earlier on time, then you definitely have the opportunity to do that as well.

We also offer you access to our De Paul Library, which is the campus library. And you get access to the entire electronic database of academic journals, articles, and anything really that you need to be successful in the program.

KATHY DUCEY: So I get to talk a little bit about the degrees that we have beyond the BSN. And we have a Master's in nursing, MSN. and there are two tracks-- education and administration. And you can choose either one.

We also have an MBA in Health Care Administration. And I know that we're in the process of working on possibly two additional Masters in Nursing Master's in Health Care programs.

So one of the things I wanted to just bring up is you have the opportunity to take three graduate-level MSN courses in your BSN program for an undergraduate-level price. So you're really getting a good deal, plus that Master's course will meet the requirements for your undergraduate course. And you can transfer that course into the MSN program.

So we talk to you more about that. The courses that we have in the Master's level are pathophysiology and pharmacology, health assessment, and nursing informatics. And a great deal of our students are taking the opportunity to take those courses and either take them because they want to take a graduate-level course, or they are planning on moving on into a Master's program and want to either take that course with them or show that they have the ability to master a Master's-- you know, graduate-level course.

So we don't offer a course for nurse anesthesia. But oh, so how would that look on your resume if you already had nine hours of graduate nursing courses to apply to that program? It would really be beneficial.

So I think I'm done.

DIANA: Thank you so much, Kathy. Thank you for sharing all of that information with us. And now, we're going to open up the forum for some questions. If you do have a question, please type it in the text box to the right, and we'll answer them in they order they are received. We are on a time limit for the presentation, so if your question is not answered within the allotted time, on of our dedicated program managers will be more than happy to assist you.

So I'm going to go ahead and start with some of the questions that I received during the presentation. And one of those questions is, what sets University of Saint Mary apart from other online nursing programs.

KATHY DUCEY: So do you want me to answer that, Diana?

DIANA: Yeah, Kathy, yeah. Yes, absolutely.

KATHY DUCEY: OK, sorry. You know what? The things that set us apart, I believe, are-- one of the biggest things is the support that you get. Diana talked in the beginning about how you start out with a program manager. And you will always have a program manager or a student services coordinator right there for you, guiding your way through the program. And you are always assigned a faculty advisor, which in most cases is myself, to work with you to make decisions about what is the best for you to do.

And the student services coordinator and I work together all the time to look to see, hey, can this student-- this student needs sociology. Maybe she could CLEP that sociology course. Or it would be better to take one course above the other.

So just to give you some ideas, the support is just incredible. And I think that's really what sets us apart from other programs.

DIANA: Great. Thank you so much, Kathy. I have one more question. How much group work is there in the program? Would you be able to chat a little bit more about that?

KATHY DUCEY: Yes. I think that almost-- and not every nursing course has some group work. Some courses may have more than others. And some don't have any at all.

Now, when we talk about group work, it's not overwhelming. But we have to remember that, as nursing professionals, we work in groups, and we share with each other. So there will be a certain amount of group work. And the groups are-- we try to assign the groups so you can be with each other in your area of practice or possibly in your regional a location. We work it out in every class to benefit the students. Yeah, but there's group work.

DIANA: Great Thank you so much, Kathy. So if you have any additional questions, please reach out to us at the phone number listed below. And if you are ready to get your admissions process started, you can follow the link in this presentation to start your application. And one of our program managers will reach out to you immediately to assist you through the process.

Thank you again, Kathy, and thank you all for joining us this evening. We look forward to helping you achieve your educational goals.