New graduate students in the Online Clinical Nursing Leader Program (CNL) early next year will be able to “Change the World from Here” with the aid of a virtual medium.
The program is designed for students who do not have the time for a traditional, classroom education the opportunity to take classes online and maintain a full-time job. Classes range from healthcare leadership to instructional design.
On January 3rd the School of Nursing and Health Professions will also open their doors, or rather their screens, to a brand new class of students working towards a two-year program in attaining their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
With a popularity of CNL programs in the East Coast, Jacquelyn Coronel, Coordinator of Distance Learning at the Nursing School, said the USF School of Nursing and Health Professions would like to be a pioneer for such a program in the West Coast.
USF already offers a traditional MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program. However Enna Trevathan, Director of the Online Program said, “Even though it’s the same class, we have our own instructors who are acting as course developers to take the curriculum and have it written in a way that it can be delivered online.”
The program will be delivered through Blackboard software which will utilize tools such as discussion boards, videos, and chat rooms for collaborative work. “People come from different backgrounds in nursing so they are learning from each other. The instructor is moderating and helping reinforce,” Trevathan said.
Currently, the Nursing School offers a Master’s in Nursing CNL, a hybrid program where students meet in the classroom and online.
Jana Barkman, a current Masters Nursing student said, “The BlackBoard approach to online learning at USF is very interactive and effective. My professors are always easily accessible via email and phone and response time is always swift.”
In partnership with Embanet Compass, the company designing the online website, the program is a collaborative effort through multiple departments across the university including ITS, Gleeson Library and One Stop.
Providing the USF learning experience on a nationwide level is expected to increase the nursing workforce. Dean of the School of Nursing and the Health Professions, Judith Karshmer said,“Too many nurses are interested in increasing their education, but have limited access to a program — what better school than ours to offer a high quality program in as part of the Jesuit education tradition.”
Renei Ventura, earned her MSN CNL last spring through the hybrid program with classroom and online meetings. She said, “Online learning requires that the learner be extremely disciplined and self-directed. No matter where you are in the country, the staff at USF will ensure that your learning and success are the top priority. From his own experience Anthony Santos, a Sophomore Nursing Major, thinks online courses are more difficult because they lose elements of a classroom setting. Regardless, he said, “ADNs or BSNs from other parts of the country should be interested in our program because USF has something unique to offer. USF is not an RN or CNL factory, they care about every individual that walks that down their hallway. Especially in today’s economy where teachers spend less and less time focusing on their students as individuals, USF still maintains that.”
I was able to finish MSN program online. I can tell you from personal experience that there are two things to consider if you are thinking of doing it. First, find a school that has a traditional campus that also offers an online program. That way in the future when you send your resume out those that are still closed minded about online education will not be able to determine just from your resume how you got a degree. Second, if you are not a strong self starter do not do an online program. When you are at home and have all the distractions of your normal life available to you it can be hard to sit there and read four chapters, or to write a paper. I got my degree with Jacksonville University (http://www.jacksonvilleu.com). There are lots of choices out there now. Take your time and find the right one for you.