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Northern Utah schools share nursing program

Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 12:11

USU Nursing Program 110310

USU NURSING STUDENTS work to become a registered nurse in class. Students can earn their associates degree from Weber State University while going to school here in Logan. ANI AGHABABYAN photo

The WSU/USU Cooperative Nursing Program gives students an opportunity to obtain a nursing degree from Weber State while attending USU.

    "I am really glad that Utah State has a nursing extension because I love Logan and wanted to go to school here, and now I can because of the extension," said Amanda Bell, an undeclared freshman and prospective nursing student.

    The Nursing Program is accredited by the Utah Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, according to the nursing program's website.

    "You get the best of both worlds. Weber State brings the curriculum, staff and success in teaching nursing and USU provides all the facilities and labs we need," said Jon Kelly, WSU/USU Cooperative Nursing Program Campus Coordinator.

    Kelly said the nursing program has a 25 percent acceptance rate and applications are reviewed by the nursing program admissions and advancement committee.

    According to the course requirement sheet, a point system is used to determine acceptance. Applications received by Jan. 15 will earn extra points.

    Support courses will be evaluated, but points will not be awarded for courses that are in progress when applications are sent in. Students must have their applications in by Feb. 1 and will be notified of their acceptance status by April 15.

    "I wasn't scared about the program until I started taking physiology. Now I am a little nervous about it," Bell said.

    Kelly said he would advise students who want to get into the program to work toward another degree at the same time because it will give them another point on their application. Also, applying, even when the prerequisites aren't finished, can give students another point.

    "It is hard because we have a lot of studying to do. I have over 15 textbooks this semester," said Jessica Price, a junior in nursing.

    Kelly said once a student is accepted into the Weber State University RN program they become WSU students taking courses on the USU campus. The required nursing curriculum and clinical experiences can be completed in Logan as well.

    When students have finished the program they will graduate from WSU with an Associate of Science degree in nursing. If desired, students can then apply to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at WSU.

    "It is hard going to USU for all my schooling and then not being able to graduate from here, but I am glad that they do have the nursing program," Bell said.

    According to the nursing website, coursework covers such aspects as nursing care, diagnostic procedures, the use of specialized equipment and medical and surgical intervention, as well as prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology and chemistry.

    All students admitted to the program and required to join the Utah Student Nurse Association (USNA) for opportunities to interact with members of the profession while developing professional attitudes and responsibilities.

    In addition to normal coursework and joining USNA, nursing students have to complete a clinical experience.

    "We are not like traditional college because we add a clinical portion to it, which takes a lot of time. Most of the time it requires going to a hospital once a week and working a 12-hour shift," Kelly said.

The number of clinical hours a student has to complete is determined by the course and professor.

"There are a lot of assignments that must be completed every week for clinical but I enjoy going and following a nurse around and perform the skills I have learned," Price said.

The program is designed to prepare students to provide nursing care in beginning staff nurse positions as registered nurses.

According to the nursing requirement sheet, the nursing program is based on the concept of career mobility; it takes into account the various types of nursing programs and job possibilities. This allows flexibility for student's career aspirations and goals.

"I want to be a nurse because I enjoy working with people and I want to help those who are sick," Price said.

Bell said she didn't always want to become a nurse. She wants to open an orphanage in another country. She said she since so many developing countries need medical help, a nursing degree would help her reach her goal.

"I just want to help those in need," Bell said.

– chelsee.niebergall@aggiemail.usu.edu

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