Nursing offers new master’s progam

The dean of Florida A&M University’s School of Nursing is attempting to implement a new program for the fall 2007 semester called the Clinical Nurse Leader program.

Mary Graham, the dean of the School of Nursing, said this new program was proposed to her earlier this year by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing as a new way to improve patient care outcome and address the shortage of nurses in the nation.

“It will aid the state-wide need for nurses. It will aid national concerns to provide quality care,” Graham said.The board of faculty in the School of Nursing approved the CNL unanimously in October. However, the program has yet to be approved by the university.

This program will allow FAMU students who were unable to get a bachelor’s in nursing because of the limited access to get a master’s in nursing.

The Board of Governors would not need to approve the new program because the FAMU School of Nursing already has a master’s program. Individuals who are not nurses must meet the requirements of the board of nursing.

Currently students must have a bachelor’s in nursing before they can obtain a master’s. If they had a bachelor’s in another field, they would have to get another bachelor’s in the nursing school at FAMU before they could get a master’s. This program is supposed to alleviate those problems for students.

The American Nurses Association Web site states that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, “A 21 percent increase in the need for nurses is projected nationwide from 1998 to 2008 compared with a 14 percent increase for other occupations.”

According to the Web site, “This growth, coupled with current trends of nurses retiring or leaving the profession and fewer new nurses, could lead to a shortage of more than one million nurses by the end of this decade.”

The school is one of several limited access programs on campus. A limited access program is one that has a limited number of student slots in its program. The school does not allocate any amount of slots specifically to FAMU students.There are several transfer students who apply to the program each year. There is a state mandate that requires state schools to admit anyone who has received their Associate in Arts degree into the university. But because the nursing program is a limited access program, admission is not guaranteed.”I don’t like to have students out just taking classes. I’m pretty realistic with students,” said Cheree Daniels, director of student affairs for the School of Nursing.

She said that she might suggest students consider other options or go into another field in the allied health department.Giselle Mendez, 21, a junior from Miami who is pursuing her bachelor’s in nursing, said she was admitted into other nursing programs, but she chose to come to FAMU.

Mendez is a transfer student from Florida State University and was admitted into the School of Nursing in fall 2006. She said she feels she had to do more to get in because she was a transfer student.

“I had to make sure I had my AA first,” said Mendez.In the fall of 2006, 100 students were budgeted to enter the program for the school year, up from the 80 students admitted in years past. Enrollment for the nursing program depends on how much they are funded, Daniels said.

The administration said their standards for acceptance are high because of the large number of students who apply. The minimum grade point average to apply is 2.5. However, students and faculty both agree that students are rarely admitted with less than a 3.0.

“The only fair way to do it with the selection is to admit the highest GPA,” Graham said.

The CNL program will give those students another avenue to pursue their goal of becoming a nurse.

The program is at a master’s level. Applicants can have a bachelor’s degree in another field besides nursing. It’s an accelerated program that can be completed in four semesters. Graduate students must have a 3.0 for admission and have completed their natural science requirements.”There will be scholarships for students which will pay all of their tuition,” Graham said. “I am excited.”

The School of Nursing is ready to admit a class for fall 2007, Graham said. BlueCross BlueShield gave the school $25,000 for scholarships, and the dean plans to use that money for students in the CNL program.

The second part of the program will be for registered nurses. They will go from a registered nurse to an R.N. with a master’s of science in nursing. Once a student gets their master’s in this program, that student could then become a nurse leader and become faculty.

Just like patients have to be satisfied with the care that they get from nurses, Graham said, students must also be satisfied with the treatment they receive from the faculty and staff.

“If I have a student that is academically prepared and committed to becoming a nurse, I am committed to making that dream happen,” Graham said.