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Clinical nursing program reduces graduation requirements

Nursing major changes offer more options to students.  |  Thecla Li/THE CHIMES

 

The nursing department decreased its number of required clinical training years from three to two and a half to better compete with surrounding colleges starting this past fall.

a shortened roadmap

Biola’s previous policy of a five-year nursing program was largely due to the addition of a biblical studies minor for non-Torrey students. However, after years of deliberation, the departmental staff has effectively created a shortened roadmap, which will not only respect the students’ finances but also equip them to become a well-rounded registered nurse.

Director of nursing Rachel Van Niekerk personally spearheaded the initiative along with other administrative team members. Once the faculty agreed to go through with the plan, she was thrilled to finally begin the adjustments. With a new staff member hired to find more clinical sites, the department is now willing to accept 30 pre-clinical students a semester instead of the limited 40 a year. Certain classes, such as Nursing Research and Pharmacology, will be available for online completion, while an increased emphasis on medical-surgical classes will prepare students to care for a wider variety of patients.

“We are given the opportunity to be better stewards of our students’ time and money,” Van Niekerk said. “This will overall strengthen what’s already a great reputable program in the area.”

All these changes directly affect this semester’s newly accepted clinical nursing students, who have already begun their hospital rotations and upper-division nursing courses. Despite the decreased number of clinical hours and increased amount of units per semester, many students remain confident that the modifications made will not compromise the quality of the program.

a joyful surprise and relief for everyone

“I trust the professors a lot, [because] they know what they’re doing,” said Caela Lunde, junior clinical nursing major. “It will still work out well.”

Although the transition is largely a joyful surprise and relief for everyone, the pressure in pre-clinical nursing students continues to build up as approximately 100 freshmen and 70 sophomores work hard for a spot in the program, according to Van Niekerk. Fortunately, some of them are coming in with enough Advanced Placement or transfer credits to possibly expedite their graduation by an additional semester. Freshman Stephanie Herzog is determined to save $35,000 in tuition by transferring over her AP scores and looking at future summer classes.

“Less time in college means more time in the working field to serve God through my occupation,” Herzog said.

With Biola joining in on the online centralized nursing application system with hundreds of other schools, students like Herzog will be able to apply to multiple nursing programs across the country.

As the 50th anniversary of Biola’s nursing program comes up at the end of October, the department is geared for more reviews and potential changes in the future to follow its mission of preparing students for Christ-centered care.

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