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A Degree That Works For Working Nurses

Nursing student.

March 2017


Starting this fall, registered nurses can earn a St. Ambrose Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree entirely on their own schedule.

The SAU Nursing Department will offer the RN-to-BSN degree program fully online. The 27-credit hour program will be taught on an accelerated, eight-week class schedule and can be completed in as few 15 months.

Registration is open now. Interested candidates can contact Deborah Frankie-Lasher, the program's adviser/recruiter, at 563-333-6082 or via email.

For the past two years, the program has been offered as a hybrid, with classes conducted mostly online but with one seated classroom session per week.

Program Chair and Associate Professor of Nursing Kathleen Andresen, DNP, RN, said the change is being made at the request of working nurses, whose work schedules and private-life demands require a more flexible learning option.

The eight-week, online courses will be asynchronous, meaning students can complete the classwork at anytime, day or night. Andresen said the program will also offer flexible sequencing, allowing degree candidates to begin the program in either fall or spring semesters, and to work full- or part-time toward degree completion, choosing the pace that suits their lifestyle.

"Working nurses really wanted a more flexible option," Andresen noted. "Now, they can complete their education on their time and at their convenience."

Andresen stressed the program still will offer the individual faculty attention that is a hallmark of all St. Ambrose degree programs. "We want to primarily meet the needs of our local nurses, to be a local presence with a flexible schedule," she said. "Students may want to come in occasionally to meet with their professors as they progress through the program.

"If you're going to study online," she added, "study locally, with a reputable organization like St. Ambrose."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates nursing jobs will grow at 26 percent rate through 2020. According to an American Association of Colleges of Nursing study, 59 percent of BSN graduates have a job awaiting when they complete their degree.

Approximately half of all SAU nursing alumni work locally at Genesis Health Systems and University of Iowa Hospitals, but many work as far away as Alaska, Florida, Arizona and Texas. Employers include Mayo Clinic Health System, Baylor University, and Rush University Medical Center.

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