The School of Nursing at Nevada State College is continually implementing innovative programs to enhance the educational opportunities of NSC students and address the needs of the community. The RN-BSN and the Peer Advising programs are examples of this commitment to excellence.
Since 2002, the RN-BSN program at Nevada State College has offered professional nurses the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in a convenient online setting. Over 80 students are enrolled in the program, many of whom are working as registered nurses while earning their bachelor degree.
The BSN degree curriculum extends the scope of the nursing practice, building upon the skills acquired through associate degrees and diploma education. BSN students develop leadership skills in addition to enhancing their knowledge of economic and cultural issues. For every 10 percent increase in BSN nurses, the risk of death decreases in healthcare facilities by almost 5 percent. BSN trained nurses have also demonstrated fewer medication errors, greater job satisfaction and increased retention.
The RN-BSN program has created new pathways for Anne Schwartz, a NSC BSN graduate and current Simulation Lab Instructor in the School of Nursing. The RN to BSN program really opened the doors that are leading me to my career goals, said Schwartz. With her work and family commitments, completing the online program offered convenience and flexibility. The biggest advantage of the online program is that you can take the classes in your own time, depending on your job and family, said Schwartz.
In recent years, peer advising has become increasingly popular in many advising programs across the country. The School of Nursing peer advising program, a pilot program which began during the fall 2008 semester, employs four peer advisors, provides a unique forum for prospective nursing students to receive guidance from current nursing students.
In just the first few months, there has been an overwhelming response of interest on the part of the student body. On a daily basis, there is a huge volume of calls and emails, in addition to student walk-ins and scheduled appointments, said peer advisor Gerri Bartolo. The peer advisors provide assistance to students already enrolled at NSC, as well as those seeking to transfer into the Nursing program.
The peer advisors are also trained to teach students how to read their Degree Audit Reporting System report (DARS) and provide referrals to the Student Academic Center (SAC) when necessary.
Peer advisor Robert Wilkinson says of the new program, it’s a more personal approach to advising. This is such a benefit, because it gives a student-to-student look about how to navigate the program. The peer advisors are able to mentor prospective students and even alleviate some of the anxieties they may feel entering the nursing program. Whether it be sharing experiences about how to balance academics with part time work and family commitments, or just learning what to expect, having someone to talk with who is actually experiencing it is a tremendous asset to students considering nursing.