IPFW & USF Make Continuing Nursing Education Easier (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose
By Michael Klopfenstein

June 26, 2013 Updated Jun 26, 2013 at 6:24 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Nursing students have been taking classes at IPFW for nearly 50 years. This fall, those with nursing diplomas or associates degrees can get bachelor’s or master’s degrees online.

The Purdue "RN to Bachelor's" degree program will admit 35 nurses this fall, with more in the master's program.

As the country's population ages, so does the need for nurses to have additional skills to deal with difficult diagnoses. Advanced degrees provide those skills.

Dr. Carol Sternberger, IPFW nursing department chair, said, "The acuity of our patients is so great now that you really need to have additional skill set and knowledge. The research shows that patient morbidity and mortality decreases when you are cared for by a nurse with a baccalaureate in nursing."

Here at the University of Saint Francis, the school began its online RN to BSN and master's degree programs a year ago. Now that it's enrolling its third class, the administrators here say the response has been better than expected.

Dr. Mindy Yoder, USF health sciences dean, said, "Our enrollment numbers have exceeded our expectations of what we initially anticipated because with online you can go outside of your local market and regionally and nationally. We’ve had inquiries nationwide for our nursing programs because you don't have to be on campus or have access to the physical campus to do the program."

The Institute of Medicine wants 80% of nurses to have bachelor's degree by 2020. That number is compared to the current roughly 40%. These two local universities hope non-traditional students will be attracted to the continuing education opportunities here.

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