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Bradley RN to MSN Administration Webinar

Date: September 29, 2017

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Sarah: Alright, welcome, everyone to our Inside the RN to MSN Administration Pathway Webinar. I’m very excited tonight. We have two wonderful professors joining us to present a deep dive into this pathway and what it might mean for you in your career. So what we will cover tonight includes a brief welcome and introduction where you will have the chance to meet our present – presenters and learn a bit more about their background. We’ll talk about why you should choose to pursue a Masters in Nursing Administration, what are some of the opportunities available to you there. We’ll also speak towards the format of this program. The graduate online programs at Bradley University have a lot to offer and different benefits and so we want to be able to, uh, cover those with you in some detail so you understand, uh, what is the benefit of taking this program online. We’ll also talk specifically to some of the clinical requirements, how long this pathway would take to complete and other RN to MSN Admin pathway facts and figures there. Then we’ll discuss briefly accreditation and we will have a live Q&A session at the end of this webinar. I’m also joined, not only by our presenters, Karen and Peggy, who I’ll introduce here shortly, but by an enrollment advisor. His name is Shaun Moore. He’s one of our senior enrollment advisors. He is also on the line and can speak to or answer many of those questions that you might have here at the end for us. So, without further ado, I’d like to turn it over to Peggy Flannigan, the associate Chair and Associate Professor of Nursing here at Bradley University as well as Karin Smith, an Assistant Professor in the College of Education in Health Sciences for Nursing to take us away.

Peggy: Hi. I’m Peggy Flannigan and I have been at Bradley for 21 years this month. I started teaching here in the undergraduate program and I found that I was teaching in just about every level except the sophomores. I started teaching Med/Surg Nursing right away and then I was working on my Ph.D. at about the same time. I started teaching a graduate class pretty early on because one of our faculty had a large class in the seat and it was too large a class for her to handle by herself so I volunteered to help out. And I found that I really loved working with the graduate students so I took on another class on the graduate level and eventually I have moved into teaching almost all graduate level classes. My, uh, Ph.D. is in Nursing Research with a focus on Ethics and I have experience in, uh, working with students as they work on their focus levels in Nursing Education, Acute Care, Rehab, and my own experiences include those as well, and Adult Health Nursing. So I’ve been here 21 years, like I said, this fall and I’m excited to be talking with you tonight.

Karin: Hi, this is Karin and I have been here eight months. (Laughter) So quite a difference from Peggy. I joined the Department of Nursing here at Bradley in January of 2017. My background is primarily in Critical Care, Adult Critical Care Nursing. I have over 15 years experience there as well as nurse manager experience with Six Sigma black belt training. I, uh, earned my Masters in Science and Nursing Education and also have my DNP in Leadership. I currently teach full time here on online graduate program. A lot of the courses I teach are the leadership courses at the Masters and Doctorate level, the administration courses as well as health promotion and a DNP, uh, seminar. I also have certifications in executive nursing practice and critical care. So it’s a pleasure to be here and we’ll get moving on with it.

So right now you’re probably asking yourself: “Why should I choose, pursue a Masters in Nursing Administration?” Well, we have several reasons here for you. The first is there’s many diverse opportunities in various settings for a degree in Nursing Administration. Some are academic, you could teach, um, full time at a university or you could do adjunct teaching, so part time teaching. Uh, obviously organizational, uh, opportunity, private – you can be a consultant. And you’re really considered a leader and advocate, a communicator, a change agent, educator, research or you wear many hats as an admin. – as an administrator. So there’s wide variety of opportunities. Also many facilities, especially those that are seeking magnet designation or have magnet designation require the front line managers to have a minimum of a BSN with a lot of them desiring that you have a Masters degree. If you are at the director level or above, those magnet facilities will require you to have a Masters degree.

Also there’s a huge increase for the demand of nurse leaders and I have some statistics here for you. There’s an estimated 67 thousand nurse manager vacancies that will be by 2020, just in the U.S. There’s a 15% decrease in nursing leadership talent over the next few years and between 53 and 82% of U.S. organizations report difficulty recruiting qualified nurse managers. Also the average age of nurse leaders in the U.S. is 50 years old so the retirements, uh, that are coming up are going to further reduce the nursing, uh, leadership levels.

Salary is another big, um, bonus with pursuing your Masters in Nursing Administration. Depending on where you live and your experience, the average salary probably starts around 70 thousand a year and can go up into six figures, so very lucrative. And finally you make a true difference in the work environment. You make a difference in how you manage and it trickles down into, uh, impact patient care. Also your role has a direct link to organizational performance including quality of care, patient and employee satisfaction and financial stability. Managers play an important role in making sure nurses have a voice in making decisions. You really have a broad scope of practice as you need to be knowledgeable about several different aspects of health care, such as technology and risk management, financial analysis, human resources and I could go on and on. You really have a wide range of skills and competencies. So I really want to say that the managers are the glue that hold the organization together. Peggy, do you have anything to add?

Peggy: I would just say that when you mentioned what you said about, uh, working part time as nursing faculty, many of our part time faculty here at Bradley are nurses that have a Masters degree and they do clinicals for us on a part time basis and some of them find that they love it. They can have the flexibility of continuing their full time positions in the hospitals or clinics and work part time as nurse faculty so that’s what I would add.

I would like to speak to the benefits of the online program. I would say that, as faculty member, teaching online, I can really appreciate the benefits of online education when I remember my own program. It was – neither my Masters or my Ph.D. were online and for my Ph.D. I had to travel weekly from my area here in central Illinois to Chicago for a few years (Laughter) I would say, while I was taking classes and working full time. So, uh, when I was lucky enough to have classes that fit the train schedule I found myself studying for class on my way to Chicago and grading papers on my way home but here I am teaching online and I have the flexibility to check in with my students any time of the day or night and I know that some of them are working online throughout the day and throughout the night because I can see when they log in and that gives them a lot of flexibility because they have such diverse schedules. I really try to be cognizant of that when I get e-mails from students asking about an assignment because, uh, we kind of have those little rules here that students need a response within 24 hours during the work week – what we call the work week, Monday through Friday – but on weekends, uh, we allow faculty 48 hours to respond. I think a lot of us are a little more, uh, on top of e-mails when we know that students have a critical assignment they’re facing and we try to get back to them quicker if we can – I know I do. And speaking of those assignments, there are due dates for online classes and as a student in an online class you do have a full week typically to figure out when you’re going to get to that assignment and get it done. You attend class pretty much at will as long as you get your homework done on the due date.

And you have the syllabus for your class really, uh, typically a week before the class opens and so you can get your books ordered and plan your schedule and if you have a vacation coming up or some, uh, especially rough times at work, you can try to plan around that. Um, you know, several of our courses utilize interactive multimedia case studies and discussions that allow students to participate in different ways in the learning process and we found that the students have really enjoyed those different activities. For the clinicals and Practicums that we have our Masters in Nursing Administration students do, they can participate in that within their own state. We use an electronic data base system that allows students to record their clinical hours in real time from wherever they are. You can use a computer or a laptop or typically even a Smartphone to access the data base and record that and, um, students who are in the online program have the benefits that they would have if they were here on campus. They can work with the library, the writing center, the student support coaches that are available through the online program and, uh, just any other resource that’s available to an in seat student the online students have as well. The writing center proofreads papers for students. They won’t actually, uh – I shouldn’t say that. They don’t proofread the whole paper but they will give you feedback on papers. Uh, and they will help you if you have a draft that you need to revise.

I would say lastly that the most, uh, flexible – flexible benefit of this program is that it allows you to continue to work while you’re earning your degree. What can you say about that, Karin?

Karin: Well, I can say both my graduate degrees I earned online. Now, I – my BSN was in a brick-and-mortar and I waited 10 years to go back to school so I was definitely fearful of like how this even works. I was apprehensive about the whole online program thing because I’m just – I just really didn’t understand it. Like how does this even work? But I kind of got over my fear. I, like you, attended a few webinars just to kind of get some more information and I really found a school that I found was very supportive and so when I started I had good support system from the school as well as from my family. But I got into a rhythm, uh, I got into a routine, I really found, you know, good time management and discipline worked in my favor to be able to balance work, working full time and going to school full time. So it was definitely flexible, it was perfect for work/life balance and, of course, having the support which I know Bradley has a good support system that can be responsive to your questions and help you with, uh, any technology questions, uh, is definitely helpful to your success. So…

Peggy: Okay. Well, moving on, uh, RN to MSN Administration by the numbers. I think this is a pretty interesting slide in that when I looked at it I thought: “Oh boy, what does this mean?” Let me explain. When we say 2.6 years what we’re looking at is that each calendar year has three academic semesters so every calendar year with three academic semesters will then total up to 8 terms over 2 years and 6 additional – um, I’m sorry, 2 more semesters with 6 courses. Um, 45 credits over that time frame and 350 clinical hours. The clinical hours are broken down in a manner that shows that 50 of those are undergraduate clinical hours for the RN to – that would cover the RN to BSN portion of the program and then the other 300 are Masters level courses. For each clinical course you would, uh, select your own preceptor in your area and your own facility where you would do the work and we would approve those once you’ve selected them and you would be able to have the clinical experiences closer to home rather than coming here to the Peoria area to do those.

Are you Masters material? You know I do a lot of advising for our brick-and-mortar BSN program and I am often asked the question: Why would I with my associate degrees pursue a Masters degree instead of a Bachelors? And I think some of the nurses who ask that question feel like it’s a major step for them to come to the university in the first place to get their Bachelors degree and I might be pushing them just a little too hard when I’m suggesting they go ahead and get the Masters degree instead. But, uh, I think that – in fact, they even tend to shy away a little bit from the Masters degree. But I really try to encourage them and this is why. We took a long look at our Bachelors program and we found that there were 38 prerequisite hours for the BSN that the university required. Now, each university has its own requirements for – in order to administer a degree and those are our university’s requirements. By taking away the Bachelors degree we can award a Masters degree with only requiring students to complete 9 undergraduate hours that would bridge them from the ADN level cross what would be the BSN content and into the Masters level and allow them to complete the Masters degree. So we don’t award a BSN, we bypass the Gen Ed type courses and you can get your Masters degree actually more quickly then if you got your Bachelors degree.

Another thing I hear from students who come to my office here on campus is that my facility tells me that I need to get a Bachelors degree. Karin, what would you say to that?

Karin: Well, I would tell them, you know, that earning a Masters degree definitely opens more doors and provides you with a greater number of career choices. Also there are far more career advancement opportunities. Courses at Bradley really prepare you for advanced knowledge and development of skills that will make you more desirable to employers, such as communication, leadership and informatics, policy ethics. So if you decide you also – also if you decide you want to specialize in other fields, maybe become a nurse practitioner or you want to, uh, get into informatics or mental health, you already have many of those credits completed so you’re just that further ahead.

Peggy: I think what their facility is telling them really is that you have to have at least a Bachelors degree and the Masters is really the icing on the cake, don’t you agree?

Karin: Definitely.

Peggy: Okay, so talk about what a program study looks like, what you see on the screen now is just a list of all the required courses for the RN to MSN program and the first course on the list is the statistics class and its taught by someone who’s an expert in the field and has offices here on campus. The next four classes are the what we would call the bridge courses, the RN to MSN level courses and they are taken first in the sequence. Beyond that the core courses for the administration degree and all of the support courses that are required for nurses in all of our Masters, uh, level program tracks for the nursing department. Uh, the Nursing 697 is the capstone course and it is for the admin majors as well. And that’s kind of a nutshell look at it but it includes 45 hours. The difference between that and the nurse who comes to us with a Bachelors degree in hand is taking away the four courses that are under 500 level and leaves it with 36 hours.

Next we go to the accreditation slide. Uh, Sara, can you talk to our accreditation?

Sarah: Sure, Peggy. I’m actually going to pass this over to Shaun and he will go ahead and speak to the next two slides, if that’s alright with both of you.

Peggy: Yes.

Shaun: Good evening, everyone. I just wanted to share a little bit about the, uh, accreditation of Bradley University and then I’ll be talking about the admissions requirements. My name is Shaun Moore and I’m with Recruiting Services. Uh, Bradley University’s Graduate Nursing Program is nationally recognized and has an outstanding reputation. We are accredited by CCME and the university is one of the high ranked universities in the country and the nursing department enjoys very high graduation rates and success rates with their students.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the admission requirements here at Bradley University. Each potential student for Bradley University’s Graduate Nursing Program gets to work with an enrollment advisor. Our role here is to make sure that Bradley is a good fit for you. It is an evidence based degree program and emphasizes teaching and practical training and we want to make sure that this is a good fit for you. So if you’re a good fit for Bradley, Bradley’s a good fit for you, we’re a good fit for everyone involved, then we’ll go through the admissions, uh, considerations. The application’s online. It’s a very user friendly application and there’s some documentation that will require in order to have a complete application package. We’ll need to get proof of your current valid nursing license. Uh, the application does include a $40 application fee. We will need your transcripts – official transcripts for you to continue on the program but during the admissions process we will allow you to submit your unofficial transcripts. We require two letters of recommendation and the application form itself has a section where you’ll list the recommender’s name, e-mail address, relationship to you and their occupation and, as a courtesy to you and your recommender, we’ll send a recommendation form electronically that they can complete, E sign and submit back to us. We’ll also need a personal statement from you, 500 to a thousand words where you simply want to speak to what your professional goals are, your motivation and commitment to going back to school, why now, why this degree, why Bradley. And we’d love to see a statement about any potential preceptors that you may be using in the program and/or clinical locations to complete the personal statement. Additionally we’ll need a resume, a current, up to date resume that includes your education and professional information.

Now, your enrollment advisor will be working with you throughout the enrollment process to make sure we have all the documents on file so we can submit a complete application packet to the nursing department and admissions is done on a case by case basis. We do have a preference of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale but once we get that completed application you’ll be given every consideration to be a viable candidate to the program and you should get an admissions decision back in about 1-2 weeks. So that’s it for the admissions considerations.

Sarah: Thank you so much, Shaun. So at this time we’re going to go ahead an move into the Q&A section and we will try to answer as many questions as possible, again on a first come, first served basis, but if your question is not answered I would like to encourage you to reach out to your enrollment advisor as they are here to assist you and we have left the number her if you would like to jot that down just in case you want to give us a call later and just continue to ask questions. So to start, we’ve had a few questions already come through while Kar – Karin and Peggy were talking and so I just wanted to make sure everyone got the answers to those. So there was a question about how often do we offer start dates for classes? And I’d like to throw that over to Shaun.

Shaun: Okay, thanks Sara. Uh, we offer starts – we have an academic calendar that has starts in the fall semester, spring – our spring 2018 semester will begin the first week in January and a summer semester. The summer semester will begin late April, 2018, so we do accept applications continuously throughout the year so if you’re considering applying to Bradley University I encourage you to do so.

Sarah: Thank you, Shaun. Our next question I’d also like to send over to you. This question just came through. Are you eligible to receive VA benefits?

Shaun: Yes, we are. We are a yellow ribbon university, uh, we accept military benefits whether it be post-9/11 GI bill, vocational rehab or any other VA or active duty military benefits.

Sarah: Another question I wanted to make sure the whole group was able to hear. Is there a minimum amount of time needed to be an RN before you would be eligible to start the program? Peggy, did you want to speak to that?

Peggy: Uh, no. You can start the program – once you’ve got a license you can start the program, uh, right away. We just require you to have a nursing license in hand.

Sarah: Thank you, Peggy. Uh, I think this would be a great question either for Peggy or Karin. The question is: Can I take more classes at a time to finish more quickly?

Peggy: Well, since we offer specific classes on a rotating schedule, it really works well if you kind of stick with the schedule that your academic advisor helps you develop. Um, it – we think that that usually works best for you and we only offer the classes on a – at a certain time. Each class is offered a certain time of year so I – it’s impossible to take too many classes at one time. I hope that answered the question.

Sarah: Thank you, Peggy. This next question to either Peggy or Karin: What happens if someone is unable to find a preceptor or location in time for the start of their clinicals?

Peggy: Unfortunately they’re not able to start the clinical without that in place so it’s really important to get a head start on that. For example we – you don’t have a clinical course right out of the gate when you first enter the program. You have quite a bit of time before you have to get that lined up so I would encourage anyone who’s starting the program to look ahead to their program of study that they work out with their academic advisor and figure out when their first clinical course will be and start looking around early and try to get that lined up, uh, soon, because that gives you plenty of time in case something falls through, you can always have a backup plan in place.

Sarah: Thank you, Peggy. Uh, the next question is: How long are the courses or the classes individually? Shaun, would you like to speak to that.

Shaun: Yeah, yeah. Uh, you have lots of flexibility with the online classroom here at Bradley University. Classes are 7 ½ weeks long or 15 weeks long and our semesters are 15 weeks long so the benefit for you is that you’ll have the, uh, ability to be able to balance work, life and school and get a quality education at the same time.

Sarah: Thank you, Shaun. Uh, another question just came in. What requirements or credentials are required for a person to serve as a preceptor? Peggy, would you like to take that one?

Peggy: A preceptor must have a, um, a focus in the area that the clinical course is focusing on. For example, if it’s a nurse administration student then the preceptor must be a nurse administrator. Um, for example, we look for the preceptors to be upper level managers preferably. Several of the students recently have been able to – many of them are coming from more rural areas and they’ve been able to arrange for the, uh, Chief Nursing Officer in their hospital to be their preceptor and that’s just been a wonderful experience for them. And some have arranged for, uh, an upper level manager in a smaller – or, I’m sorry, a larger hospital to be their preceptor. That works well, too, because it gets them into lots of different types of meetings as well. If it was – but it must be someone who has a specialty area in the same area that the clinical is focused on, such as admin..

Sarah: Thank you, Peggy. We also have some wonderful resources on our website Online Degrees.Bradley.EDU/Resources. There’s an article written by one of the current students about tips and tricks for how to find a preceptor that may be valuable for anyone who is curious about that. Our next question, though, is: What are the assignments like? Peggy and Karin, can you shed some light on what, you know, students might be able to expect in the program in terms of assignments?

Karin: Well, uh – this is Karin and as far as I can speak to the nursing administration courses we have a, a – you can either have an assignment, a written assignment or there’s a lot of discussion as well so there’s a lot of interaction and engagement with your classmates. There might be a question posed based on a reading or a case study and you discuss that, you put your post up, your initial post and have a discussion with your classmates. Or it could be a written assignment. For example, developing a floating policy for a nursing unit. Or, uh, writing an SBAR, something like that or examples of assignments. You also have papers that may be due. I think I have a paper on succession planning in one of my admin courses so there’s a variety of different assignments. Peggy, what are some of the assignments that you have?

Peggy: Well, I have recently finished, uh, teaching a clinical course and I’ve also recently teach – finished teaching one of the support courses which is Ethics. And in the Ethics class I have the students do some case studies and one of the other assignments I have the students do is read a novel that has a strong ethical dilemma in it and we discuss the ethical dilemma in class and, uh, it gives the students a little break from some of the heavy duty textbook readings but also gives them an opportunity to see how ethics is a part of our everyday life as well as something you encounter in your workplace setting. And it’s a health care oriented, um, novel as well.

In my clinical, uh, course that I’ve just finished teaching I had my, uh, assignment related to developing an organizational plan and, uh, the student was able to with this specific assignment that I had, uh, a student of mine he had a great organizational plan that he put together for, uh, a new process that he wanted to implement on a floor to, uh – well, I don’t want to give it all away. (Laughter) It was a new process that would be implemented on the floor to prevent some serious consequences for the patients that were having some infection issues and his preceptor loved it, the hospital loved it. He was able to get approval to do it and it was a wonderful assignment. It worked all the way through his, uh, 15 week course.

I think what’s important is that we really try to apply reading or case studies that are applicable to your practice setting. So we did a business case in, uh, nursing administration theory and a student, uh, presented a business case on a new fetal monitor her unit was trailing and ended up actually buying. But we really try to bring the practice setting into the course. It just makes more sense that way for you.

Sarah: Thank you so much. That’s really fantastic and very interesting to hear about what you’re currently doing in the classes and Peggy, just as a follow-up, if you don’t mind me asking, what was the novel you ended up reading in your ethics course?

Peggy: (Laughter) Me Before You.

Sarah: Oh, wonderful.

Peggy: Yes. And it’s – well, it’s a good one.

Sarha: Yes, I know you always choose something that’s, you know, really relevant or, uh, kind of trending at the moment so I think that’s really interesting.

Peggy: Um-hum.

Sarah: Uh, this is probably going to be our last question and so I – I’m going to pass this one again to Peggy and/or Karin. Are there any mandatory log-in requirements?

Peggy: You mean for the class?

Sarah: Yes.

Peggy: Well, yeah, basically it’s like attendance. You have to – you have due dates for your assignments and you must do those on time or there – you do lose points if you don’t log in and do things when they’re due to be done. Now, I will say that if you have a valid reason for being late you can talk to your instructors ahead of time and we’re pretty understanding people. We know that life happens but it’s not something that after the fact we can fix. So we do like to find out ahead of time that you’re going to be having surgery, for example, or, uh, you’re about to have a baby or you know – life is going to happen differently for you so give us a heads up when things might be on the horizon. But yes, there are mandatory log in dates for every course.

Sarah: Thank you so much, Peggy and Karin. And just overall I would really like to say thank you to both Shaun and Peggy and Karin for joining us tonight and presenting all this wonderful information. I would like to thank all of our attendees. I hope this was very beneficial for you and, as I mentioned before, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to your enrollment advisors, that’s the number on the screen. Thank you again for joining us tonight.

Peggy: Thank you.

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