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LSOE and CSON Offer Varying And Intersecting Paths With A&S

Asst. Features Editor

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 01:02

The abroad experience is also something the Lynch School appreciates immensely. “Generally, anyone who has wished to go abroad has been able to go abroad,” Kenny said. “We have sites that provide practica, so students can do teaching abroad.” Friedman added, “We work very closely with the Office of International Programs because we want to make sure the coursework students take abroad transfers. We are very careful about that.”

The mission of the William F. Connell School of Nursing is also closely affiliated with the mission of the University as a whole. CSON works to “prepare professional nurses whose practice reflects a humanistic ethic and is scientifically based, technologically competent, and highly compassionate.”

CSON requires similar practica experiences as Lynch that serve the same purpose of providing hands-on learning. Clinical practica are served at teaching hospitals and community health care agencies throughout New England. Like Lynch, the practical experiences of leaving campus allow nursing students to develop advanced competencies in their specialties. BC has contracts with most of the major health care providers in the city. Susan Genarro, dean of CSON, noted that where possible, they listen to students  in terms of placing them in clinicals in their area of interest. Clinical experience is the most vital aspect of the nurse’s education. Without the hands-on experience of actually working with patients, the knowledge learned in the classroom proves inapplicable.

“One of the amazing things about nursing is that in this country we don’t see birth at home and we don’t see death at home,” Genarro said. “We’ve taken things and moved them to institutions, so it is very unusual to be a 19 or 20-year-old and actually be with someone when they die, when they’re born, or when they are asking you tough questions. It is the greatest blessing to be with people in those intimate moments.”

Nursing students get almost 1,000 hours of hands-on clinical in their curriculum. Starting sophomore year, nurses begin a five-semester clinical nursing course sequence. Depending on whether or not a student plans on going abroad, he or she will take either the “A” track, or the “B” track. The “B” abroad track is not compressed, but rather, the order of courses and the clinical schedule is altered, to make room for a semester out of the country.

Generally, all undergraduates in nursing have the same curriculum requirements. All undergrads who graduate from the nursing school with a BS are eligible to take a State Board of Nursing in any state. A nurse that has just graduated from BC has the ability to work immediately as a generalist (nurse at the bedside), and any profession different than that would be attained by completing education at the graduate level.

The web of nursing options post undergrad is convoluted, but offers many varying opportunities for students. The master’s and post-master’s Programs are designed for individuals who are looking for a pathway to advanced nursing practice as a nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist, or a nurse anesthetist. There is also a doctoral program. While the graduate level of nursing is a rollercoaster of different tracks, the undergraduate program is pretty universalized.

An interesting opportunity CSON offers is its two-year Direct Master’s Entry Program, a program that someone with a different degree can enter and become a nurse. “If you’re in A&S, it’s never too late to be a nurse,” Genarro said. The Direct Master’s Entry Program is an accelerated program that allows students to graduate with a specialty. This is a great cost effective option for people who know what particular facet of nursing they are interested in pursuing.  

The core curriculum is also extremely important in CSON. “Lucky for our students, they take the core,” said associate dean of the undergraduate program Catherine Read. “It’s a real advantage to being a BC nurse. The employers want nurses from BC because they have a lot of clinical experience, plus they have a liberal arts background.” With some exceptions, nursing students take the same core as everyone else. “People don’t come to BC just to get a nursing degree,” Read said. “They come to experience the core, to get involved in service, leadership, volunteer programs, and to get to know people. The mission of the University in terms of service, dedication, and knowledge makes our students really marketable and desired in the workplace.”

The Lynch School of Education and the Connell School of Nursing’s emphasis on the core, on practical applications, on service, and on research create a dynamic curriculum that aims, like the University as a whole, to educate the whole person. Although some students may assume the different schools are isolated entities, their paths actually prove to cross in multiple ways, fostering a complementary relationship.

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