Registered nurses going online at Southeastern to gain degree
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Danielle Acker was looking for a way to get her bachelor’s degree in nursing while balancing a full time job and the family life of a mother of two.
She discovered a new program initiated this year at Southeastern Louisiana University that allows registered nurses who hold diploma or associate degrees the opportunity to earn bachelor’s degrees without having to attend classes on campus.
A resident of Slidell who works at Ochsner Foundation in New Orleans, Acker enrolled in Southeastern’s online, accelerated degree program, and this semester completed four nursing courses in her quest for the degree. The program is part of a statewide special adult learning initiative known as CALL – “Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana.” The initiative is sponsored by the Louisiana Board of Regents and targets adults who have some college credit but have never earned a baccalaureate degree.
Currently 38 students are taking nursing and other courses online at Southeastern, and seven were expected to get their degrees at the university’s fall commencement December 13. More than 20 new students are expected to enroll next semester.
“Our online, accelerated RN to BSN program is one more example of how Southeastern is working to address critical workforce needs in the region,” said Interim President John L. Crain.
“Louisiana has a considerable number of licensed, registered nurses who are graduates of diploma schools or two-year associate degree programs,” explained Jean Urick, who coordinates the Southeastern program. “Most are working full time, and it’s difficult for them to return to college to earn the bachelor’s degree, which is an important step in career advancement.”
Urick explained that applicants to the program are individually assessed to determine which courses they need to earn the bachelor’s degree. Registered nurses can receive up to 30 nursing credit hours, and transfer credits may be awarded for any equivalent general education courses.
The online courses are offered in accelerated eight or 15-week formats, allowing the nursing students to complete a number of courses in a typical semester.
But don’t think online equates with “easy,” Urick explains.
“The courses are rigorous and require considerable attention and work,” she said. “Learning online is a different experience than a traditional classroom environment. It requires discipline, dedication and time management skills.”
Acker agrees. “I found that it takes a lot of discipline and hard work,” she said “It can tend to be rough with a career, two kids and the amount of work and reading that needs to be done.”
A graduate of the Charity School of Nursing with an associate degree in nursing, she entered the program because of the independence and flexibility it offered, and the potential payoff down the road.
“It will definitely help me move up in my career,” she said.Additional information on the CALL nursing program can be obtained by contacting the Southeastern School of Nursing at 985-549-5288 or by going online at www.selu.edu/CALL.