Pre-Nursing partnership makes degree more accessible

New program shortens path to a BSN by one year by partnering with
Indiana Wesleyan University.
Wheaton nursing students can now complete their nursing training in 14 months instead of two years after leaving Wheaton through the college’s new partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU). This option allows students to leave Wheaton after three years to pursue a clinical degree from an affiliated nursing school, according to the Wheaton College website. The track is designed for students who wish to enter the nursing field and earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) in slightly over four years after starting their collegiate studies.
To earn a liberal arts nursing major in the “three plus two” program, an option that allows students to gain a BSN two years after leaving Wheaton as opposed to IWU’s 14 months, students have the option of attending the Nell Hodgson Woodruff Nursing School at Emory University. Rush University, Johns Hopkins University and Case Western Reserve no longer offer BSN programs; however, these institutions will accept students into entry level master’s nursing programs with a baccalaureate degree. In this situation, students would be required to graduate from Wheaton after a full four years before applying to the Case Western Reserve program.
According to Candice Eisenhauer, director of health professions at Wheaton, 63 students in the 2016-2017 school year demonstrated an interest in a pre-nursing track out of 420 students currently interested in the health professions field. Fifteen percent of these students plan to pursue nursing; however, not all of them partake in the 3-2 or 3-1 nursing programs with the affiliated schools. Many students choose to stay at Wheaton all four years and then apply to enter an entry-level master’s nursing program at the institution of their choice, Eisenhauer said. She speculated that the reason behind this trend may be students’ desire to spend their senior year on campus and partake in all that Wheaton has to offer, or take more time to decide which path within the health field best suits their plans post-graduation.
The Office of Health Professions offers personal assistance in helping each student determine exactly which path is best for them. To interact with prospective nursing majors, the health professions office has scheduled events with medical alumni throughout the year so students can hear real-world accounts of what it is like to be a Wheaton graduate in the medical field. This summer, Eisenhauer organized a trip with five pre-health students to meet other students, faculty and clinicians at Johns Hopkins University, the National Institutes of Health and local organizations.

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