As we progress through the final semester of the 2016-17 academic year and as I look back on my first year at Norwich University, I am happy to report on several favorable updates to our School of Nursing program.
Accreditation: Much of the past year focused on preparing our accreditation report and ensuring that program documentation was organized and accessible for our visit from the Vermont State Board of Nursing (VBON) and our national accreditation team from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The two teams jointly visited NU in February for two and one-half days. While on campus, they reviewed documents, interviewed University and nursing leadership and faculty, met with students and members of our community of interest, attended classes and simulation sessions and visited clinical sites. The visit culminated with an onsite meeting where the visitors provided a positive report that summarized their findings. Shortly thereafter, the VBON granted the BSN program Vermont a formal 10-year program approval. The CCNE accreditation team also provided their similar report CCNE at the end of December. The report was overwhelmingly favorable regarding the SON meeting accreditation standards. The SON had the opportunity to respond to the team’s report. Both the report and the response are now under review by CCNE with an accreditation determination expected sometime in April. I want to thank the all of those who were involved in the accreditation visit including President Schneider, Dean Tempkin, our nursing faculty, our nursing students, our clinical partners and all of the University -wide departments and resources that support our students and the nursing program.
NCLEX: Senior nursing students this semester are heading down the final stretch of courses and clinical experiences that will culminate in graduation and preparation for the NCLEX licensing exam. This rigorous national exam is the gateway to the nursing license and a career as professional nurses. The exam tests critical thinking skills and the ability of nursing graduates to provide safe, high quality nursing care across multiple clinical settings. Our 2016 graduates had great success with the exam – 94% first time and 100% overall passing rate. Also during this final semester, students are in their final clinical practice where they will spend 168 hours with a practicing RN mentor and an additional 40 plus hours in a community clinical practice.
Clinical Rotations: The Spring semester is also a busy clinical semester for underclassmen and faculty with sophomore students entering their first clinical rotation in the mental health nursing area and junior nursing students in both obstetrical and pediatric nursing rotations. All of these rotations are overseen by full time faculty and adjunct faculty taking small groups of 5 or 6 students to our many clinical partner sites. Like other nursing programs across the country, NU is challenged to find sufficient numbers of clinical faculty who are prepared with the required Masters degree in nursing and able to take on the clinical instructor role. We are fortunate to have a dedicated team to our program!
International travel is a new opportunity for nursing students. A group of 10 junior and senior students are preparing to travel to Nicaragua over spring break. While there, students will participate in mobile clinics providing basic health care services to individuals in poor rural villages. This experience will also allow them to complete course requirements and clinical hours for their community nursing course. Preparing for this trip includes fundraising and collecting donated items to support the rural clinics. Students fundraising efforts include plans for a bake sale in February, a bottle drive and a request for a Corps dress down initiative, where cadets will pay $5.00 for a dress down day! Needed donated item include light clothing, shoes, personal hygiene products including soap, shampoo, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products and over the counter medical supplies. Especially needed are adult vitamins and children’s chewable vitamins (not gummy), tylenol, ibuprofen, hydrocortisone cream and baby care products. Please contact Sara in the nursing office if you have any items you would like to donate. (485-2600)
Wounded Warrior Initiative: Finally, the School of Nursing is also launching its third cohort of the Wounded Warrior Initiative. The program partners wounded warriors with student athletes for physical fitness workouts and enrichment classes that cover holistic topics such as nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. Student athletes are still needed for our large group of warriors. If you have time for a work out twice weekly, contact Dr. Llynne Kiernan in the nursing office. The program is eligible for work-study.
Paulette Thabault, Director, School of Nursing