MSN Student Perspectives


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Staci Bell: Hello, everyone. I want to welcome you to our Webinar today, the University of San Francisco’s online Masters of Science in Nursing Webinar and I want to start of by just going over some logistics and commonly asked questions. First of all, you are in listen-only mode so what that means is to ask questions all you’ll need to do is type into the chat box that you’ll see provided and you’ll also be able to obtain copies of the Webinar slides after the presentation and we will be sending a recording of the Webinar as well in the future weeks to come.

Now I’d to go over today’s agenda. First we’re going to talk about your support team. We’ll introduce you to your panelists. We’re going to go over the program and curriculum overview. We’re also going to explain the certification affiliated with this program, the CNL, the Clinical Nurse Leader Overview and that way you can kind of learn a little bit more about what that entails and we’re going to move further into the student perspectives. I know quite often we get a lot of questions about students’ perspectives on the program so we’ll have a panelist available today to answer those questions. And then of course at the end we’ll up with a question and answer session. That’s where all those questions that you’re going to put into that chat box will be utilized so please keep your questions coming throughout the presentation. Let me start off by introducing you to your support team. You’ll see myself, Staci Bell. I’m an enrollment advisor. I’ve been working in higher learning education for a number of years, specifically with the Masters of Science in Nursing program. And I’m joined today with my colleague, LaTonya Boyce. LaTonya?

LaTonya Boyce: Hi, everyone.

Staci Bell: And LaTonya will be joining in as well. We have Adrian that is our program coordinator that you’ll see. He’s not on the call today but he’s somebody that you will get to know throughout your time in the program. He’ll be the one who keeps you acclimated with the course curriculum along the way. And then of course we have our panelists, our faculty member, today, Dr. Enna Trevathan. Hello, Dr. Trevathan.

Dr. Trevathan: Hi, everyone – Dr. Trevathan. I welcome you.

Staci Bell: Thank you so much.

LaTonya Boyce: Hello, everyone, this is LaTonya Boyce. Thank you so much for that introduction, Staci. So I’m going to introduce Enna Trevathan who spoke to you here just briefly. Dr. Enna Trevathan is assistant professor at the University of San Francisco. She’s taught in the RN to MSN program for a number of years, received her doctor’s degree from the University of San Francisco and she has extensive experience in leadership development. And her doctoral project was actually the implementation to the MSN program – the RN to MSN program onsite at a large institution in the Bay area. And also today we have Carla Martin

Carla Martin: Hello, everyone.

LaTonya Boyce: Hi, Carla, how are you today?

Carla Martin: I’m well. I’m – a little bit about myself. My name is Carla Martin. I’ve been an RN since 1992. Most of that practice has been as adult ICU critical care and emergency medicine, about eight years at the bedside and the last 12 years in management. About a year ago I transitioned by pure accident into the Infection Prevention role. I love it and began this program and it’s been wonderful. And I’m glad to be here today.

LaTonya Boyce: Thank you, Carla. Thank you so much for the introduction. So, going on to give you a little bit explanation about the University of San Francisco, we are 100% online. You complete your course work online and perform your internship in a work setting close to your home, allowing you to continue with your current career. Our program is totally asynchronous, it doesn’t require specific login times or lectures. Now, in addition to that, it’s designed for associate degree and bachelor’s degree nurses so you can complete actually the program in as few as two years. We are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the WASC, the California Board of Registered Nursing and also the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. So the CCNE definitely recognizes our program as well, and we are also named as one of the best nursing graduate schools of 2013 by US News and World Report. So next I’m going to introduce Dr. Trevathan, so take it away, Dr. Trevathan.

Dr. Trevathan: Okay, hi, everyone. This is Dr. Trevathan and today I have the pleasure of talking to you about what our program does. Actually, as Tonya has stated before, I was the one who helped spearheaded and create the RN to MSN program as my doctoral project and we had it instituted at a large institution in the Bay area because of the need that nurses had to continue their education. And also nurses wanted to have a way of continuing their education that didn’t take them away from work and take them away too much – take too much time away from their family. So I designed it to create that university and take the university to them at their place of employment. So it’s the same concept that we took from taking the university to the student at their place of employment and apply it to bring it to you online. So I’m very happy to tell you that I’m the one that has been spearheading both programs. I’m also the director of the RN to MSN program so I’m happy to be here today to be able to talk to you about the curriculum and how we developed those curriculum.

So our curriculum has three components to it. We have the foundation courses which include the basic writing and research class and the reason we start with that course is that there’s a tremendous amount of writing that is required in graduate work as opposed to your ABM and other courses that you’ve taken where you have to demonstrate your skills and at this level, at the graduate level, there is specific writing requirements. You have to write an APA format and there’s a lot of technical writing that is required. And some of you may have been out of school for a little while so it’s a good way to get back into the swing and to, you know, really hone in on what is required from graduate writing. And those two courses – the next course Transition to CNL Graduate Education, they kind of go hand-in-hand. They get you prepared to reenter the academic world and get you prepared for the graduate writing and also transitioning to the discipline of studying and writing and doing a lot of your other course work, etc.

The next course in the foundation is also the Community Health Nursing and Community Health Nursing Practicum. Those two courses are required to move onto the Bachelor’s level because that’s also how you would be able to obtain your PHN. So if you decide to apply for your Public Health Nurse license that is – those two courses are definitely required; they are key. And the next level of the foundation courses is Clinical Nurse Leadership Program. That course is required for both ADN and obviously an entry student, that gets you prepared and gets you to the next level of requirements to get you fully integrated in the Master’s Program. And also what we have of course the Lifespan. This is your assessment course that is required for both ADN and BSN to move on. As you can tell, if you look at some of the requirements from WASC and CCNE which are all accredited bodies – those courses are definitely required for any nurses that are continuing with advanced degree, even if you go – especially if you going to be pursuing an NP or doctorate level, those courses really help, they help prepare you to the next level. And also we start introducing you to the CNL role class to let you know what the clinical nurse leader role is all about. And it is strictly that, an introduction and it’s a transition to get you to the next level. Some of our core courses that we have is looking at Epidemiology and Population Statistics and that is at the Master’s level. This is where we are getting into the core courses and I don’t know if some of you may have heard that about the three P’s are now required for advanced practice at the Master’s level and that includes your advanced Patho, Physiology and Pharmacology. Those are considered the three P’s. Anytime you hear that three P’s it’s your patho, physiology and pharmacology. So, you know, we do have to take that into serious consideration and you take that course, it’s combined and it’s offered to you all at once and it is great. You don’t have to take three separate courses to meet that requirement for CCNE and WASC.

The next one is that Nursing Inquiry. This is an introduction to research, how to use research, how research is developed. You will not be a researcher by the time you finish this program but it will teach you about basic research and it would let you know how do you utilize and how do you read a nursing research article, for example, and how to put it into use as an evident based practice into your day-to-day practice as a nurse. To be very well rounded we also have included a Financial Research Management. That is something that was not always introduced in a nursing program but it is very, very much needed these days. Because if you’re going to be a nurse in the area, not – you don’t have to be a nurse manager or assistant nurse manager or the director to be able to be financially savvy and to know, you know, how to use your resources and what resources should be available to you so that course really takes care of that aspect of as well, to make us a very well rounded nurse. We also have Health Care Policy and Ethics and Health Care Informatics which is a very interesting course and, to tell you, I’m in the process right now of developing that course for our online program and I think it’s very exciting – maybe I might be a little biased because I really have an avid interest in nursing informatics but how can we, as a nurse today, not be involved in health care informatics? Every single one of us have to be doing some kind of entry online. Most of our health records are going electronic so this course really provides you a broad base on how to use health care – the electronics health care records and some of the futuristic use of items just like a PVA and other – and social media in health care today.

And to round it up we have the other CNL core courses and to teach you how to be a patient educator, a team manager and leader so you will be able to lead your interdisciplinary teams, for example and also, as a clinical outcome manager. As a CNL one of the things that we become responsible for is to improve the quality of a patient’s care, to make it a safe care and to also be able to provide some kind of cost control into the health care arena. As you know, these days we cannot avoid not hearing in the news that health care cost is out of this world so part of our work as a clinical nurse leader is to be able to find ways to provide the best care, the safest care possible and at a very manageable cost. So, of course the third leg of this program is the Capstone Project. And this is where you get to integrate every course that you’ve taken, the courses in foundation and the core courses – you take all that knowledge, you roll it into one and now you will be creating this beautiful end of program project to prove to yourself, to your institution and to the university, that you have been able to assimilate and master all the topics that we have covered the previous months and you will put that into a beautiful end of program project. And so that consists of about 220 hours at the end that you would use to integrate that role and for you to be able to prove and show your knowledge.

Okay, so to cover a little bit and to talk about the Clinical Nurse Leader. Now the Clinical Nurse Leader – when you finish this program not only you are eligible to sit for certification as a clinical nurse leader but you obtain your degree as an MSN, a Master’s in Nursing Science, okay? And what some of that consists of you learn to design, implement and evaluate patient care at the bedside. Now a lot of you think is that I don’t want to become a nurse manager, I don’t want to become an assistant manager, I don’t want to become a director, but you want to be a leader at the bedside. You want to be a patient care coordinator, you want to be able to make a difference in the quality of care that you provide to that patient but not necessarily as a manager. You may want to work alongside with the manager or you may want to be working alongside with your administrator, depending on the structure of your institution, you may be working alongside with advanced practice nurses, such as NP’s, clinical nurse specialists or nurse anesthesiologists – those three are considered advanced practice nurses by the standard definition of AACN, CCNE and WASC. But you will become a Master’s prepared advanced generalist; that does not cage you like a lot of the other advanced practice nurses. Like clinical nurse specialists they become specialized in one particular area – it may be in Oncology, it may be in Gerontology, for example, but a clinical nurse leader can go to any unit, any department. It could be Outpatient, it could be Inpatient, it could be Home Health, it could be Palliative Care and you will be able to make a difference, as Carla will be talking a little bit and answering some questions and tell you how she’s making a difference in her own area. So, in order for you to pass this program, you do not need to become a certified CNL to use the degree. You could use your degree as a Master’s in Nursing but what I like about this program, it’s like getting two for the price of one. Not only do you come out with a Master’s in Nursing Science, before you even graduate you could sit for certification, which a lot of the other programs you cannot do. You cannot do that with the CNS, you cannot do that with the NP because you have – you’re required to complete so many hours after graduation in order for you to sit for certification. So, pound for pound, this is a very great deal. And so I just wanted to point that out. So we could go to the next slide…

Okay, so you’re probably asking yourself: What are some of the things that I can do with this Masters in Nursing Science or with this certification? Some institutions do have a position that they call Clinical Nurse Leader, like the Veterans Administration, Baptist Health, some of those already have some positions already named that way and including they have positions that are called Care Managers or Case Managers, Clinical Coordinators, Patient Educator, Patient Care Coordinator. Some people – you could also, if you want to stay in the management, this degree also you could go as a Nurse Manager or Assistant Nurse Manager and some people as Directors, as well. Risk Management is one area that a lot of Clinical Nurse Leaders have been really making a difference because you are taught how to analyze risk, how to look at outcomes across the entire unit so not only are you trained in the microsystem but what you learn in the microsystem can be applied to the mesosystem and also to the macrosystem. A lot of our graduates have become Quality Leaders and they lead in the Quality Department and sometimes that department has Risk Management and Quality Department together so it all depends on your institution. And I’ve also already talked about case managers. So I hope that kind of helps you see the tremendous opportunities that are offered to you as a graduate of this program.

Staci Bell: Thank you so much, Dr. Trevathan. Now we would like to turn the next segment over to our student panelists. You know, a lot of times as an enrollment advisor we get a lot of questions from students who just would like to kind of get a feel for the program, not only from a faculty perspective but also from a student perspective and we’re fortunate enough today to have Carla Martin on the phone and, Carla, how are you doing, Carla?

Carla Martin: Hi, I’m good, Staci, thanks.

Staci Bell: Oh, good, good. I wanted to start off by asking you the first question which is: Why did you personally choose the University of San Francisco’s Online MSN program?

Carla Martin: Well, I think Dr. Trevathan covered a lot of the reasons why. Not only is University of San Francisco got a great reputation, the nursing program, but I really thought it was important for me, for my Master’s degree, you know, to have that advanced degree at a bricks and mortar school that’s got a real nursing school, that’s a highly respected school, that, you know, got the certifications by WASC and the CCNE and all of those other recognized things are important to me. Then when I saw the curriculum – because, I’ll tell you, my background – I’ve spent many years in management and I really did come very close to considering an MBA. MBA’s though typically – like I said, you’re not a bricks and mortar school typically and also I really felt like that the nursing part – I became a nurse to be a nurse and so when I looked at the curriculum and saw how well it blended health care leadership, financial, nursing, risk management, everything together, I knew it was the program for me. Does that help?

Staci Bell: Oh, absolutely. Thank you so much, Carla. Now another question is: “How does the program help you in your career so far as a nurse?”

Carla Martin: Well, again, like I said, Dr. Trevathan covered it all so wonderfully but I think what she said is the flexibility of the role of the CNL and it listed all the areas that you could apply this, but for me every day – and we need to add Infection Preventionist, I think, to the list – but for me every day, everything that I’ve learned, whether it has been at the bedside as a bedside nurse or as a clinical manager or now I’m in the role of Infection Prevention, everything that we’ve learned in class I can take it and actually apply it in my real world. It’s helped me incredibly with my communication, it’s helped me incredibly understand how the microsystems work within the mesosystems and it’s just really been something that I can take and learn and apply the very next day at work. I love it.

Staci Bell: Wonderful. We can hear your, certainly your enthusiasm for the program. And speaking of enthusiasm: What do you think you’re the most enthusiastic with or enjoy the most? And let me guess, Dr. Trevathan has said it all, right? (Laughter)

Dr. Trevathan: (Laughter) No, I think Carla has a lot more to say.

Carla Martin: (Laughter) I do. Don’t make me go forever. What do I enjoy the most? I think like all of us – many of us, you know, we go “Gosh is it a great time to go back to school” and that sort of thing. And I think sometimes you just have to jump in and do it. The thing that I’ve enjoyed the most is that I love learning, number one. I think that life is all about learning and if you’re not learning and moving forward every day then you’re not progressing. So for me it’s about the learning opportunities and the ability to learn every day new skills, new concepts, new theories that I can apply both to my own profession but to my own personal growth as well. I think the other things that have been really fun – I went back and got my Bachelor’s of Science and completed it in 2006 and so online learning was just really coming online but I will say we’ve really advanced now with online learning and so that’s been another fun thing. It’s a little scary, a little challenging but just some of the being able to blog, the discussion posts, I think working with some of the newer things, uploading videos, the screencast-o-matic, so I think the technology has been fun and exciting as well. But for me I think that I enjoy the most is just the learning opportunity and the curriculum has been very good so far.

Dr. Trevathan: Clara, may I add something to what you said?

Carla Martin: Sure, absolutely.

Dr. Trevathan: I would love to embarrass you a little bit.
Carla Martin: Oh no.

Dr. Trevathan: Carla is being very, very modest. I mean, she has made tremendous strides. It’s twice, you know, in her work life and the school work that she has been undertaking for the past few months. And Carla was in one of my classes in the first CNL role class and Carla did such a wonderful job with the last assignment and I was preparing for a presentation that I was doing nationally for the Clinical Nurse Leaders Summit in New Orleans and also I was invited to speak at the graduate conference in Florida and I thought about – you know, what is a better way to kind of identify and, you know, kind of signify what we put into our program. So I asked Carla for permission to use her final assignment as part of my presentation and she gracefully agreed and, you know, lo and behold, her final assignment for that first CNL role course she took has become viral. So she’s being pretty honest here, which is great, you know, and what I’m saying is that this is a potential for all of our students to be able to do great work like that. She created the screen-o-matic assignment that is also is going to be featured in one of the manuals, isn’t that, Carla?

Carla Martin: That’s correct. It’s going to be in the second edition of the Sustaining the Role of the CNL.

Dr. Trevathan: So Sustaining the Role of the CNL by Dr. Roussel and company. So as you can tell, there’s tremendous growth opportunity for students, even to be able to be in the publications very early on in their nursing school career, academic career. So I want to congratulate Carla for a job well done.

Carla Martin: Thank you. I don’t want to scare any of the new students away. I didn’t intend to start out to do that but I think that speaks the strength of the program is that you begin to think about the role of CNL and you begin to apply it every day and from that, just it begins to blossom and come forth and it just was something that happened, so…

Dr. Trevathan: Yes, it was. It was something that happened.

Staci Bell: That’s so awesome. Thank you so much for that. So, speaking in terms of busy life, you know, because as an RN I’m sure you guys are very busy and one of the concerns that we get often is, you know: How can I incorporate schoolwork into my busy life, both personally and professionally? So how were you able to do that?

Carla Martin: Well, I think, you know, I laugh because who knows – I mean, most nurses work more than one job, right? And so our lives are very busy with families and I know for me I spend a great deal of time outdoors with golf and cycling and a lot of things and so you don’t want to give that up, you know, you work so much, you want to keep your free time. And I will say, number one, is just, you know, you’ve just got to commit, this is something that I want to achieve and I’m going to have to work the balance, you know, into my life. The beauty of this program is because it is asynchronous I don’t have to log on at certain times and a lot of times my post, you know, right at the last minute – I hate to say that because I work Monday through Friday and so I’m doing a lot of, you know, evening time and things like that so – but the thing of it is the flexibility is there with the asynchronous online program and you don’t have to be stuck at a computer at a certain time. That doesn’t really work well for a lot of people’s lives. So I think that’s how you just fit it in. You just make it a commitment that this is what I want to do and frankly, once you make that commitment you’ll find the time to do what you need to do.

Dr. Trevathan: Yeah, I kind of second that. It’s just to make that commitment. I, myself, completed my Masters and my Doctorate degree the same way, working full time and attending school, you know, that’s almost full time for graduate study. If you’re taking more than six units it’s considered full time. I’ve done it the same way and I’ve ______(*27:44) that you have to plan it. You have to schedule it. You have to, just like you schedule everything else that you do in life, you have a work schedule, you should plan to have some relief time for yourself where you’re going to go biking or you’re going to go walking or you’re going to go to the movies with your husband and your kids or your significant other and then, you know, have the time to sit down and do your assignments. So it’s all about balancing. Sometimes it is very challenging. You might, you know, if you tend to work 60 hours a week you might cut that down a little bit in order for you to get your quality of the work, of your schoolwork, and then once that school’s over you could pick your additional hours again. You may not need to because you might be making a little bit more money or you might be looking at a different job that is more challenging, that you’re enjoying more. But it’s all about balance, it’s all about scheduling and it’s all about discipline.

Staci Bell: That’s awesome and it is so accurate, Enna, because everyone has their own differences in personal life and the things they have to do in their personal life and that is an awesome answer. So another question: What advice do you have for potential students going through this program?

Carla Martin: When I looked at this I thought about what advice do I have for potential students and I think, number one, for all of us obviously who are on this call today, you’re thinking about going back to school and I would just say to you don’t over think it. Finally I got up one day and I thought how long am I going to postpone this and I just did it. And so I just kind of call myself the Nike Girl, “Just do it.” Be the Nike Guy, “Just do it.” Staci is helpful, all of these coordinators are so helpful to help keep you on track and get your stuff going and they made it very easy for me. And now I look and I’ve almost been in the program for a year, it’s hard to believe that it’s gone by and I just did it. So I think, number one, is just that you’re on the call. Don’t, you know, put it off anymore. You’re obviously thinking about it. I did the same thing. Just pull the trigger and do it. I think, again, when you look at the school, look at the reputation of the school, are they affiliated with a real nursing school – I think that’s important. Look at the curriculum and the balance and then again you’re speaking with other students and with instructors. Everyone here has a great commitment to your education and learning and the coordinators, the program coordinators and enrollment advisors have made it very easy. And, like I said, it’s almost a year and here I am.

Dr. Trevathan: I totally agree with what Carla said. The other part to consider and to think about is that we have the curriculum preset. Now you could follow the curriculum as we offer it and be done; if you were an ADN, you’d be done in seven semesters. If you are a BSN you could be done a little bit quicker. The other thing that we can do, we can also, if you find yourself being submerged and it’s too much and you need to slow it down somewhere in between during, while you’re going that program, we can customize that and work for you as well. The other thing, the other thing to look at is that if you are in financial aid you’ll have to do at least three units which is usually one course. We have some courses that are two units and the CNL role courses, most of them are one unit. So in order to continue to qualify for the financial aid you’ll have to do three units per semester. So we could slow it down or you could do it the regular way, just as it is designed but if you’re in a position where you can’t it that fast, that quick, we can also customize it for you. I just want you to know that right up front.

Staci Bell: Wonderful, thank you so much, both of you, for your insight on that. Now we’d like to go ahead and, of course, turn it over to some of the questions that everybody has been typing in and we’ve gotten some great questions. And the first question that we received is: Can you do the program doing specifically one Practicum with one preceptor or do you prefer to have multiple health care systems and multiple preceptors – which is preferred and recommended throughout the entire program?

Dr. Trevathan: Carla, do you want to try to answer what you’re doing and then I will give them my take?

Carla Martin: Sure. So initially, early on, now I work for a health care system and in our health care system we have five sister hospitals where I’m at in the local vicinity. So there’s an MOU that you get signed and our corporate signed it and so it covered all five of our hospitals. So then I went about and I kind of looked to see, you know, there’s the educator part and there’s the team leader part and I kind of thought of some people throughout the various organizations that I know, that I look to, that are, you know, have advanced degrees and that sort of thing, and so I turned in actually I think one or two or maybe a third now CV for approval for preceptors and so it’s been kind of nice. I have more than one and, depending on kind of what I need from that person, I’m able to get it from them. And so I’ve primarily worked with one, though, however, but I think that there is advantages to having more than one preceptor, depending on what role course you’re in. Sometimes people have different strengths. And also, too, it’s always nice to have the perspective, I think, of different preceptors, as well. So that’s kind of my take on it.

Dr. Trevathan: Okay, so I’ll add a little bit to it. So, depending on where you’re starting in the program, if you’re starting as an ADN there’s one clinical course that you take first which is 506. Usually, depending on what area you add or what institution that you are using for your different clinical courses or your Practica, will depend whether you’re going to stay with the same institution or not when you get to your other CNL role courses. Okay? Sometimes it so happens that the student is able to use the same institution but because the 505 I would say increases the assessment, the community assessment course has a different aspect than the CNL role courses. Because you’re looking at the community, you’re looking at how does community health care operate?. So the take is a little bit different. So that said, you may have one institution that is different from that or it may be the same, so we’ll have to take and see at that time if it would fit the needs for you for your entire program.

The other part is, as Carla has stated, she has reached out to three different preceptors and we do require that you fill out a bio sketch for each preceptor because we have to attest whether that preceptor will do for your program and your learning needs. Now, as you are learning, as you are going through the program, you’re actually setting up your own learning needs. You know where you’re at. I mean, we’re providing you with all the theory but as you’re putting those theories into practice, you are determining what do I need to learn? Okay, for the first CNL role class I did my – I did some take some hours in Quality. Okay, that has opened my eyes. Now I would like to look at Infection Control. I would like to look at Risk Management. Or I would like to take a look at management, administration, while I’m a student to see what that’s like. Or I may want to spend some time with a clinical nurse specialist to see how could a clinical nurse specialist and a CNL work together, especially we have students that are looking at staying in their own area where they are working at right now and become a leader in that area so that might be an area they might be concentrating in. Now, for different aspects of what you need to learn you could stay with the same precept that kind of guides you, that kind of oversees all your program development under the clinical nursing role and this person can also use a different advocate and can relay you to work with another person that could provide you the best experiences that you need for that particular class. Let’s say when you get to Financial Management, for example, to get the managerial financial aspect you may want to work with somebody who does budget, you may want to talk to someone who is working in decision support analysis, for example. So you don’t have to give up your regular preceptor for that but you may get an additional preceptor to kind of guide you through that process. When it comes to Outcome Management, for example, you may want to get somebody who is working in Quality or you may want to, when you’re doing Patient Education, you might want to work with somebody in the education department. So you can change preceptors as needed or you could keep the same preceptor but it’s a decision that you need to make as you’re guiding your own learning needs as far as participating in your Practica hours. I hope that answers the question.

Staci Bell: Absolutely, thank you both. That was very helpful. Now another question, and Carla you might want to answer this one specifically is that I always get the dreaded question about the group project. (Laughter)

Carla Martin: (Laughter) I just finished one last night. Okay we just posted one last night. I’m not going to tell you, everybody dreads the group projects, you know. But the thing of it is I will say it – I don’t know what to say – a group project is a group project and you just, thank goodness, there’s always one person in the group that, you know, kind of takes the lead and kind of coordinates everybody and that’s always nice. And when you’re done, though, the collaboration has been really wonderful and I know we just – I’ll just speak from the course – we just finished our financial or 629 and we just posted our business plan. It’s beautiful and we collaborated beautifully and it was nice not to have to write that whole big thing, you know, by yourself, and your team worked on it and it was divided up, you know, into manageable pieces. At the end of the day it’s just a beautiful piece of work and you’re so proud of it. And, you know, at first you dread it but then it really comes together and it’s, like I said, it’s done online and we all kind of exchange phone numbers and there’s all kinds of great tools, too, on the website for your discussion boards, to post things and to be able to collaborate together in an online kind of manner as well. So it works out and you get through it and at the end it’s a beautiful, beautiful project – projects, I should say.

Dr. Trevathan: That’s right, you have a lot of projects that are done in group but not all the work in the program is through group work but there are some projects that lend themselves to group work. Just like Carla said, if you had to write a whole business plan by yourself in eight weeks, that probably was not going to be doable unless that’s all you were doing for those eight weeks and not working full time. The other thing that you learn about group work is that when you’re at work you are not an island. You don’t work in silo all the time. So most of the time to get something done and you are working in a group, it’s either part of your team, either your day shift people are doing this or you’re doing interdepartmental or interdiscipline collaboration to get some work done, especially if you want to make some changes in policy and procedure and let’s say for example you wanted to change or improve the time of discharge in your particular unit, that’s not something that nursing can do by itself because nursing is not the only discipline making all the decisions. You have to collaborate with the physicians, you might have to collaborate with nurse practitioners, you might have to collaborate with the volunteers, you might have to collaborate with patient advocates, etc, etc. So team work, the group work, teaches you how to work within the group, how to negotiate, how to mediate. So these are all skills that are built in into a program for you to be able to learn because as a clinical nurse leader when you get out there, we expect you to be able to run meetings, create meetings and get the flow to go right and to be able to work not just with nursing by itself but also with other disciplines, so you learn those skills by practicing them. So it’s not all of your work will be done by group work, only the stuff that lends itself to that and also because you need to be exposed to that kind of learning because there are a lot of give and take when you’re working as a group. But, like Carla said, it could be a beautiful thing when you get that final project and then when looking at the outcome and you think: “Oh, my God, thank God I didn’t have to do it all by myself.” It’s wonderful.

Carla Martin: I agree.

Staci Bell: Okay, another great question here is this is a student who has a concern with using the computer. You know, not everybody who’s going to be in our program has the same level of comfort with the computer in everyday functionality. So, and I think, Carla, you would be a great one to answer, you know – How knowledgeable does someone have to be? How savvy do they have to be in order to be successful in the program? And then, Dr. Trevathan, if you can add to that as well.

Carla Martin: So I’m gonna – this is my skill level. I can type and not great and I can use Word and not great and I can use Excel barely and I can get on the Internet, okay? So there you go, that’s your starting point. Really once you do that the tutorials and the things that when you start school, you know, understanding how to do the discussion posts and creating threads and things like that, you’ll get very comfortable with that and that’s actually, you know, kind of straightforward and easy. Some of the projects and everything, like Dr. Trevathan said, we’ve gotten exposed to like screencast-o-matics so you’re going to laugh. Thank God there are 5th Graders on YouTube who showed some of us how to use this technology and that’s all I can say is that these kids today can just use this stuff and YouTube is full of it but everything we’ve used has great tutorials and we’re able to get through it and I’ve, like I said, I am not a computer person in any way, shape or form. I’d rather talk to you in person, I’d rather deal with you in person and I think that’s the case with most nurses – we’re people persons. And so the computer, unfortunately or fortunately, is something that has now become a part of our everyday world and so it is with school and I think that as you get in and you get comfortable with it, like anything else, it’s a little bit scary at first but you know it’s a learned skill and you learn it and it’s part of that learning and it gives you great confidence and now I’ve got these wonderful skills that I can make a screencast-o-matic and put out for my staff if I want to get a little quick education out on something. So it’s really a great resource and, like I said, you don’t have to be a computer whiz at all, you just have to be able to go step by step and follow some very simply instructions.

Dr. Trevathan: I agree with Carla. You do not have to be a computer wizard. If you have great computer skills you probably have a little added advantage to the other students. If you could send e-mails, if you know how to read a e-mail, that is great. That teaches you how to navigate with the keyboard, for example. But at the beginning when once that you get accepted for the program, before you get started, we have an orientation course and that orientation course helps you to become familiar with our learning management system. You know, it asks you to send us an e-mail, it asks you to look at if you have this program and that program, whatever program that you need in order for you to be able to open most of the assignments that we give you. It is good if you have a pretty good computer. If you have something that’s a little bit too outdated, I would say it might be time to invest in a two or three hundred dollar laptop for example. They are pretty inexpensive these days. You can use a MAC or you could use a PC, whatever you’re most comfortable with. We do not advocate one over the other. It’s up to you what you’re familiar with. But we’ll let you know upfront what you need to have and what kind of software that would make your life miserable and you get – or not so miserable – I didn’t mean miserable but not so miserable so you get to practice those and test them out before you even start your first class. So your orientation course is kind of your door opener into the learning management system, into the academic world. If you’re very comfortable with Word, that is great. If you’re somewhat comfortable with Excel – I’ve never been, let’s say moderate on Excel – I’m kind of low to moderate person as far as using Excel and some of the other programs. You’re going to also learn how to do a POWERPoint or do a voice-over in POWERPoint, how to do a screen-o-matic, and like Carla said, there are instructions for all of those programs and YouTube is one of the guides – it has really opened the doors for us to be able to learn everything that we need to do within a few minutes or an hour. So I wouldn’t stress that much. I would say get very familiar with the keyboard, get a very reliable computer because you don’t want to have a computer that’s going to break down on you, make sure that you have – that it is protected, you know, as far as viruses and stuff like that, and I think you should be in good hands.

Staci Bell: That’s awesome, Enna. And I have another question for you from one of our participants. She wants to know: How does this program prepare her for her route in nurse practitioner because that’s her ultimate goal for her future career?

Dr. Trevathan: I think it prepares you very well because there was a time when to be an NP – well, there was a time you didn’t need a Master’s to be an NP. And then it became required that you would have a Master’s degree in order to become an NP and then, now it’s heading to where to have an advanced practice degree, like as a nurse practitioner, for example, it’s going to pretty soon require to have a DNP level. We at the University of San Francisco, we’re already taking the NP to that level and our students that are in our Master’s in Nursing Science articulate very well into the doctoral project program for NP, for example. Like I said it before, the three P’s are a requirement and assessment, advanced assessment. Now if you’re going to become an NP the assessment course that you take in the Master’s program, you will have to take one that is much more advanced in addition to that. But you are required to take a lower level Master’s degree assessment and since you’re going to be writing prescriptions and understanding how medication interacts with the patients and now it is required that you’re looking at not just one area as a nurse practitioner – you have to be trained across the spectrum, the life spectrum, you’ve got to go from Pediatrics all the way to Gerontology, so your assessment course, you advanced assessment course and your advanced Pathophysiology that you would take in addition to what you take in the Master’s program but those you take in the Master’s program totally prepare you to be able to be ready for the advanced one that you will be taking at the doctorate level, if you’re going that route. Now there still have other universities out there that have not adopted the role of a nurse practitioner at the doctorate level because they said they’re too small, they cannot afford to have doctoral staff in order to be able to do that – those are options that people have out there – but just to be aware of it, that it is going – the train has left the station and it’s going to be required sometime in the very near future that, if you’re an advanced practice nurse, that you have a terminal degree that is going be required will be the DNP for an NP. So the MSN will totally prepare you for that. And there are a lot of NP’s that end up running a clinic or open their own clinic and all the courses that you take at the Master’s level at the MSN prepare you for that because you are financial savvy and you’re going to need the financial aspect to understand how Medicare works. You’re going to need to know how policies affect you as an NP or affect your practice. So all of the courses that are in the MSN prepare you for the doctorate level and our courses was specifically designed for that. I presented in February at the graduate conference teaching other universities how did we do it at the University of San Francisco to teach them how our courses articulate very well from the graduate all the way to the doctorate degree. So it is a very good preparation.

Staci Bell: Wonderful. And speaking about preparation and degrees, another very important question that students ask and our panelists asks and I get this question all the time: Do I actually need to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing along the way en route to earning my Master’s? In other words, if I do the bridge program, if I go from RN to MSN without earning a BSN are there any repercussions?

Dr. Trevathan: No, there aren’t. There are some institutions that may say, well, you know, you have to have it. No, you don’t have to have it. It is totally recognized – we’ve been doing this for a long time, not just us. Many institutions have done this for years now. There are some employers that have asked some of our students to get a letter from us to say that they have reached or have achieved that level at the BSN level and they would put that on the employee’s file if the employee is applying for a new position that says Bachelor’s preferred. So most of the time we’ll write that letter and say those are the courses they’ve completed, that they’ve reached a Bachelor’s level and that has been totally accepted. Most of the time by the time you get to a Master’s level you don’t even put BSN behind your name anymore. I don’t even use the word BSN or the acronym BSN behind my name. That’s just a given that if you’re at the Master’s level you have achieved the Bachelor’s level.

Staci Bell: Wonderful. Thank you so much. And the other question that we have here is going back to Bachelor’s. There is a student who asks the question that I also hear quite often and that’s they have an ADN and a Bachelor’s in another discipline. Now they maybe started some BSN course work and had completed a significant portion but haven’t actually conferred, you know, haven’t actually earned their BSN. How would they fit into the program? Would that make a difference in the courses that they would have to take for the program?

Dr. Trevathan: There are two ways of looking at that. Because they don’t have a BSN, have not received that degree as a BSN, they would come in as an AND. We don’t have a choice in that matter. Now what we can do is looking at some of the courses that they have completed, we will need the description of those courses from the other institution, and compare them to our courses at our institution and see if any of them are comparable that we could give and what – some courses because of the way a program is designed, some of those courses we cannot substitute the CNL role courses and a lot of those we cannot substitute, but if somebody took health care policy and ethics, for example, we can substitute that, you know. So we will have to take a look at it and see, you know, how many units was that course, what was the course content, how did they compare to ours, and the maximum number of units that we can accept is six units, usually that’s about two courses.

Staci Bell: Thank you so much. And it appears as though we are just about out of time so I want to thank everyone for their questions and remember, if you had posted a question today and didn’t have an opportunity to receive an answer or wanted more clarification, we will be following up with you as enrollment advisors, both myself and LaTonya, so please do not worry, we will make sure we address each and every question. And as far as our time here today, we certainly have appreciated this very unique opportunity to not only speak with you, Dr. Trevathan, you’re always very much appreciated, and also today we’ve had the special guest of Carla Martin, one of our own students, who has kind of shared with us what it’s like to be a day in the life of a student in the program. So, I want to thank you both very much…

Dr. Trevathan: You are very welcome. It was a pleasure.

Carla Martin: Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity, too.

Staci Bell: Thank you. Well, that concludes our presentation, our Webinar for today and just to make sure you stay aware of any deadlines that are coming up, of course right now we are having our fall deadline and that’s coming up on July 17th and that is the deadline that we’re pushing for in order for you to get an early – an earlier decision on the program. If you have any concerns about that, please follow-up with us, let us know. We’ll be sure to work with you as enrollment advisors to ensure that we do our best to accommodate everybody’s specific needs. And as far as our start date, our classes are starting August 27th so we will be – LaTonya and myself are eager to get back to each and every one of you. We are here to answer application questions and our e-mail addresses and phone numbers are listed in the information provided below. So thank you everyone for attending today and we will look forward to speaking with you very soon.

Dr. Trevathan: Okay, take care.

Staci Bell: Thank you.

Carla Martin: Bye, bye.

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