Professional nursing is predicted to be one of the most needed and flexible careers in the decades ahead. When you choose nursing at St. Olaf ...
- You will be preparing for nursing now as well as in the future
- You will achieve flexibility and marketability in a variety of areas
- You will be earning a liberal arts education along with your nursing major
- You will be part of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium
- You will have clinical experience in both urban and rural settings
- You will have the opportunity to study abroad through courses offered by St. Olaf, the St. Olaf nursing department, and the Gustavus Adolphus College nursing department.
After four years of study in the St. Olaf nursing programs, you are prepared to take the Minnesota Board of Nursing licensure examination, which certifies you as a registered nurse. With this registration and the bachelor of arts degree in nursing, you are fully qualified for professional practice or entrance into graduate school. Students are eligible to complete the licensure examination for registered nurses offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, and, upon successful completion, can apply for certification as a public health nurse in Minnesota.
The liberal arts base of the St. Olaf nursing program provides the St. Olaf nurse with an intangible advantage. There is an understanding of life and oneself gained from studying language, literature and religion.
I chose St. Olaf due to the reputation of the nursing program.
Reasons for transferring into St. Olaf were because of the highly recommended nursing program. Had I not chosen nursing as a major, I would have remained at the college where I previously was enrolled.
I came to St. Olaf because of the nursing major within a Christian liberal arts school program.
I chose St. Olaf for having a good combination of attributes difficult to find in other nursing programs: good liberal arts, excellent foreign studies program, a chance to live both in an urban area and in a rural area.
Originally I came to St. Olaf for the pre-med program and then switched to nursing during the second semester of my freshman year, when I saw the nursing curriculum of one of my friends and it looked exciting.
Nursing was the last profession I sought, however, after digging into it I became hooked -- applied half way through my freshman year.
I felt St. Olaf would give me a good education. If I hadn't been accepted into nursing as a freshman I still would have come to St. Olaf and be put on a waiting list to get into nursing.
I already had a degree from St. Olaf before returning as a nursing student.
I was interested in St. Olaf because of its size, academic reputation and community setting, but the deciding factor was the nursing program.
St. Olaf is an excellent liberal arts college which challenges the student in whatever field he/she may pursue.
I was impressed by the program of nursing at St. Olaf; its clinical experiences in Minneapolis and its philosophy of nursing.
I am convinced that while at St. Olaf in the nursing major, I acquired an essential framework from which I could learn and grow as a person and a nurse.
Study/service programs, the number one strength, makes St. Olaf unique. The variety of clinical experiences, especially inner-city agencies and med-centers -- great strengths.
The personal interest of the faculty was terrific. St. Olaf nursing faculty really influences your attitude as a graduate nurse.
Important to feel a part of the college campus life as a senior. Excellent relationships in my class. Excellent professional, theory-oriented curriculum. Knowledgeable professional faculty with activity in the profession other than teaching. The faculty propelled many in my class into higher levels of the nursing profession than as a staff RN by their encouragement and examples.
I appreciated the faculty's asking for feedback regarding ways of improving the program.
Many of the strengths are found in the high quality nursing instructors and the instructor-student relationships and ratio.
A major strength was working in a large metropolitan area such as Minneapolis and seeing many different cases which don't always surface in a small town. The low faculty-student ratio also encouraged a much closer relationship.
My nursing experiences were my best at St. Olaf, especially being abroad. If I had my choice, I'd have been off campus more.
A most significant aspect was my experience as an international studies student in the term in the Middle East. It's very difficult to be able to get an experience like that in most nursing programs.
I feel the nursing faculty really cared about the students and one could easily discuss any problems with them.
I feel the strongest point is the student-faculty relationships. Whenever I had a problem there was always a professor eager to help me out.
I find that the one most important thing that has set me above the crowd wherever I have worked is the professionalism and philosophy instilled in me by the Nursing Department, the nursing faculty and St. Olaf College itself.
I liked the emphasis on independence in the nursing profession, assertiveness, self-respect, striving to improve oneself. The experiences we were able to choose in Minneapolis were most beneficial to show the variety of options.
My liberal arts base and the importance it played in my development as a person in my college years are what make me a good nurse today, not necessarily the strength of the nursing program. Strengths of the program: stressing leadership in your job; being a caring, thinking, responsible person.
Is there really cause for concern about current health care and the demand for more nurses?
Yes! We have a nursing care shortage of a magnitude unseen in decades. It is affecting all health care settings - hospitals, nursing homes, home health and outpatient facilities!
Yes! An estimated 126,000 registered nurses are needed to fill current full time vacancies in just the hospital and nursing home sectors alone! By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 400,000 nurses will be needed to meet the demand in all health care facilities.
Yes! Risks to national health from the nursing shortage are highly acute because nursing is not only the nation's largest health profession but also comprises the largest percentage of hospital labor force and is the primary provider of long term care!
Why is there a nursing shortage?
The current supply of nurses cannot meet the current and future demands for nurses.
Of the nation's nearly 2 million RNs, about 80% are currently in the workforce, the highest level ever recorded for nursing and the highest for any profession.
However, nurses are aging. In 2000, the average RN was 43.3 years old and only 10% of the workforce was under the age of 30 years.
The physical and psychological demands on nurses in practice settings related to high acuity patients with multiple, complex health problems and staffing shortages have discouraged people from entering or remaining in nursing.
Although nurses are perceived by the public as trustworthy and valuable to the health care system, the work of nurses is often misunderstood and images of nurses portrayed by the media are frequently inaccurate and demeaning.
In the mid-1990's nursing school enrollments and graduation rates began to decline as the college-age population diminished and rising career opportunities for women in business, medicine, engineering and law forced nursing to compete with other professions for qualified candidates.
At the same time, fewer nurses entered the field of nursing education and current faculty are aging toward retirement. Some nursing schools have been forced to turn away qualified students because of insufficient numbers of faculty to teach them.
Baby boomers are aging and people are living longer. Consequently they will require greater levels of health care as they experience more acute and chronic health problems over a longer period of time.
The nature of health care has changed. Treatment advances, more complicated drug and therapy regimens, and new technologies have helped more people survive a health crisis and live with ongoing health problems. Changing health care delivery and payment systems have resulted in more rapid hospital discharge, increased use of outpatient and home care services, greater demand for long-term care for the elderly, and increased utilization of health promotion and illness prevention programs. All of these require additional professional nurses with expertise to meet the changing needs of patients.
What are the advantages of a four year professional nursing program leading to a BA degree versus a two year technical nursing program leading to an AA degree?
Top nurse executives and administrators believe that compared to technical nurses, baccalaureate prepared nurses:
Have more comprehensive understanding of the nursing process, patient assessment and documentation.
Have broader exposure to concepts of CASE MANAGEMENT and CARE COORDINATION , essentials of continuity of care which is necessary with increased intensity and complexity of patient needs.
Demonstrate better understanding of the LIBERAL ARTS as a basis for nursing.
Have experience in community health which brings insight and resources to continuity of care and the discharge planning process.
Have better ORAL, WRITTEN and GROUP COMMUNICATION SKILLS .
Are able to deal with change and conflict in flexible and objective ways.
Are more comfortable involving families in care and defining appropriate parameters for them.
Demonstrate better patient teaching skills in assessing needs and setting priorities in teaching because they have a better understanding of the teaching/learning process.
Relate in a more collaborative manner with other health professionals. They are oriented to an interdisciplinary philosophy .
Have increased ability to THINK CRITICALLY, solve problems and make decisions by being able to see beyond clinical/physical manifestations and to incorporate a more comprehensive and holistic view .
Are aware of underlying concepts of care that can be transferred or modified. They do not rely on 'rote' skills but on knowledge bases.
Have more exposure to leadership theory and preparation for SUPERVISION and DELEGATION of care provided by other health team members.
Where can I go to learn more about a career in Nursing?
Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nursing, offers an online resource - Career Profiles in Nursing - featuring 30 nurses in different career stages and in 15 specialty areas at www.nursingsociety.org/career
Johnson and Johnson sponsors a new web site at www.discovernursing.com containing a searchable database of more than 1,000 nursing education programs and hundreds of scholarships nationwide. In addition, the site profiles dozens of nurses and students and provides descriptions of numerous nursing specialties and career paths.