(Feb. 4, 2004)
As hospitals and health care providers struggle to fill empty nursing positions, the School of Nursing
at East Carolina University has found a way to bring more students into its classrooms.
The N.C. Board of Nursing has given the school approval to offer "alternate entry" into the master of science in nursing program to students who have earned a bachelor degree in another field. ECU's nursing school is the first in North Carolina that will recognize bachelor degrees from other fields toward MSN degree requirements.
“In our traditional bachelor of science in nursing program, we have had a high number of students with bachelor’s degrees in other areas whose goal is to become an advanced practice nurse,” said Dr. Ann Schreier, coordinator of the new offering. “The alternate entry option allows these students to progress more quickly toward their ultimate goal.”
The Alternate Entry MSN option at ECU is a two-step accelerated course of study that prepares a student to take the registered nurse licensure examination as well as complete requirements in a nursing concentration leading to a master of science in nursing degree.
The ECU School of Nursing offers graduate concentrations in the areas of Adult Health Nursing, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Midwifery, Community Health Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education and Clinical Services Administration.
At a time when the number of nurses falls short of the number of jobs available, it is important that nursing schools attract students from a variety of sources, said Schreier. This new option is especially attractive to those seeking a career change or wishing to return to school for graduate education.
Interest in this Alternate Entry MSN option has been high. The School of Nursing Graduate Program office has mailed nearly 150 information packets to prospective students. The application deadline is April 1, and the option is limited to 20 students in the first year. The plan is to increase the size of the option as demand and resources permit.
“We are seeking people with bachelor’s degrees who desire to change fields and are highly motivated to advance their education,” said Schreier.
The new option will produce additional benefits for the school, freeing up seats in the traditional BSN program while increasing the size of the master’s program.
“In addition,” said Schreier, “after one year, alternate entry students will take the North Carolina licensure exam and will be encouraged to seek a nursing job while completing the option.”
The ECU School of Nursing offers programs that lead to the BSN, MSN, and Ph.D. degrees. These degree options give students variety and flexibility in their nursing education.
For more information, call the School of Nursing Graduate Programs Office at (252) 328-4302.