Division Spotlight: Nursing
Change is a constant in most colleges, from schedules to students to regulations or rules. Some divisions or professors feel it more so, however, and this includes the Nursing Division, which must balance regulations and mandates issued from local and federal levels. With the recently issued Affordable Care Act (dubbed Obamacare) along with the Old Library building renovations, the Nursing Division has a lot to accomplish with the next few years.
The Nursing Division contains numerous programs and majors. They include a Certificate in Practical Nursing (LPN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN), as well as a Bridge Nursing Program. The Bridge Program strives to create a “bridge” between the levels of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or an Associate’s Degree Nurse to a baccalaureate (BSN) prepared nurse.
Shelly Luger has been the head of the Nursing Division for two years. She says she owes all her success and accomplishments to the great faculty and staff working with her, “without them, the program would be nothing.” This position has allowed her many opportunities to network and build relationships with the school as well as hospitals and state and federal organizations. Luger is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Nursing Practice in Organizational Leadership (DNP). With this, she is hoping to better serve her faculty and students as a whole.
The Nursing Division strives to enhance its curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve the overall quality of the nursing program. Currently the faculty is working on evolving the Bridge Program into more hybrid delivery formats. This would mean a combination of face to face and online courses, which would hopefully make going to school easier for working nurses. Lastly, the Nursing Department is completing a comprehensive crosswalk of the NCLEX test plans with the curriculum for both practical nurses (PN) and BSNs. This cross-walk will assure that the MMC nursing curriculum aligns with the licensure exams. These are just a few of the many goals the Nursing Division sets for itself and strives to achieve.
Managing the Nursing Division is not an easy feat. There are several levels of regulation the whole division must adopt and exercise in order to meet the requirements, with an overall goal of preparing its students for entry into the rapidly changing health care field. Organizing clinicals requires time and effort in order to verify information on both the students’ end and the requirement of the clinical facilities. Regulations governing nursing programs are abundant including but not limited to: the South Dakota Board of Nursing, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), as well as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These organizations and several more dictate the nursing curriculum and the methods of delivering nursing care. All their standards must be met in order to ensure the best education for the students as well as continuing to operate an up-to-date program.
Science and Medicine are continually changing, and for that very reason, Luger shares the responsibility for changes to the major. She states that there is a shared decision making philosophy through the faculty. It is rare that a decision is made solely by one person as it could affect another coworker or area of nursing. This type of collaboration between the faculty members creates more open communication and ensures the building of positive relationships between them.
The MMC nursing faculty is engaged in a variety of activities. For example, three faculty members are currently pursuing their Masters Degrees in nursing (two in Nurse Practitioner programs and the other in Nursing Education). This summer, several nursing faculty members will be attending the National Council of State Board of Nursing Regional Workshop in Sioux Falls. There, they will be learning how to improve and write assessments, similar to the NCLEX licensure exam.
Something new is always happening in Mount Marty’s Nursing Program. The Bridge Program has been increasing in size, which calls for changes and improvements to make it more efficient and up-to-date. The Nursing Program is also working on leadership skills to make nurses stronger in decision making and teamwork. The Institute of Medicine has requested that by 2020, 80% of the nursing working force be baccalaureate prepared. This prediction has caused renewed interest in this particular area of nursing.
The Nursing Division at Mount Marty College is constantly updating and making changes where they are needed. As the largest major on campus, the faculty relies on other divisions to help ensure their students are taking the required classes. For this, Luger states the gratitude they hold for other divisions of the college. Many divisions reorganize their schedules and courses to meet the needs of nursing students. Luger states, “It takes a village to grow a nurse.” The Nursing Division provides the best for their students, so they may succeed in their future careers. The professors work as a team and help each other to ensure the success for not only them, but for their students.