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Graduation day at Missouri State University is Friday. Many graduates are wondering what lies in store for their futures. However, most students graduating from the nursing program already have jobs. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann talked with the head of the nursing program, as well as a soon-to-be graduate.
“I’m Sara Ellis. I’m a senior and I’m about to graduate on Friday [May 13]. I have a job. I’ll be working in the NICU, the neonatal intensive care unit, at Cox. And I start that, I guess officially June 1st, but my orientation is May 25th,” Ellis said.
Ellis is one 47 graduating seniors who will receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree this week. Of those graduating, most have had jobs lined up since spring break, and even a few had offers back in December. She says that the program is hard work, but she says she feels it has been a very rewarding experience because of its wide range of opportunities. However, Ellis said she originally had other plans when she first started college.
“I started out at Missouri State wanting to be an elementary education teacher,” said Ellis.
Ellis said she switched majors because she felt that nursing was a better way to help people more directly. She says she’s especially passionate about pediatrics, and says that nursing still uses many of her teaching skills. One thing she especially loves about nursing is the diverse positions available, and feels that someone with this background will never be bored.
“Nursing. You can have a job in any area. I mean just among my friends I can tell you, I have a friend that’s will be working as a charge nurse, right off of the bat, in a long-term care facility. I have a friend that’s going to be working in an orthopedic unit. Another friend is going to be working in mother-baby care. So, you can do anything in nursing,” Ellis said.
The BSN program is a four-year program that has students studying 15 to 17 hours every semester. Students also provide countless hours within many community programs. Ellis says this has not only made her a better leader, but also much more prepared for the job market.
[sound- tour of simulation labs]
Kathryn Hope, department head of the nursing program at MSU, takes me on a tour of the simulation labs upstairs in MSU’s Professional Building. The labs give nursing students simulated first-hand experience in life-threatening situations. Hope says this is just one of the many things that makes MSU’s program successful.
“What makes our program unique is that we’re community based. Our students do 40 percent of all their clinical as acute care and 60 percent is in the community. So our students do a lot of service learning. That’s one thing that a lot of the employers have said, is they’re so impressed with all of the service, volunteer work and leadership our students have,” Hope said.
Hope adds that many students in the program already have degrees, and come back for their BSN. As a result, the program is competitive and only takes about 50 percent of those who apply each year.
“Hospitals are moving toward magnet status. Magnet status is recognition as good quality care. Part of the requirements include that they must have a certain percentage of baccalaureate prepared nurses. So BSN nurses are in higher demand,” said. Hope.
As for Sara Ellis, who will receive her degree in a few days, she’s anxious about her next adventure. She says she will be graduating without any debt because she was able to take advantage of scholarships, grants and financial opportunities for nursing students. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.