WSU Nursing innovates to reach record number of students
When the School of Nursing at Wichita State University unveiled its new online RN to BSN program earlier in the year, the goal was to accept 50 new students.
When classes began Monday, Aug. 18, 56 students were enrolled in the program. Compared to a year ago when there were only 18 enrolled in the program, enrollment has more than tripled.
“They exceeded all expectations. They innovated. They created something new. They created something different. And they’re making a difference in people’s lives,” said WSU President John Bardo in his address to faculty, staff and students about the new Innovation Campus.
Brandy Jackson, undergraduate coordinator for the School of Nursing, attributes the success to a great team who shared the common goal to increase enrollment and meet the needs of the adult, online student population.
Meeting workforce needs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 1.2 million additional RNs will be needed in the workforce by 2020. This program will help meet workforce needs and the Institute of Medicine’s goal of an 80 percent baccalaureate-prepared nursing workforce. It also supports academic progression for associate-degree-prepared nurses.
“Education is the great equalizer,” John Sandlin, the online RN to BSN advisor, said. “We are able to reach people we haven’t been able to reach before.”
Lisa Xu, an RN to BSN student from Freemont, Calif., says it makes sense to treat students from all over the country equally in terms of tuition, especially for those who choose online courses.
“Only in this way can more diverse qualified students from different places be attracted into the RN to BSN online program,” Xu said.
Student Samantha Bell from Topeka, Kan., chose Wichita State University and the School of Nursing because of their reputations.
“The faculty and staff have always been very welcoming and helpful with my transition from junior college, making me very pleased with my decision to become a Shocker,” said Bell.
“The School of Nursing is leading change in implementation of online programs at WSU” said Sandra Bibb, dean of the College of Health Professions.
The School of Nursing expects to continue its growth with 100 students next semester with an ultimate goal of 500 RN to BSN students each year.