BOURBONNAIS — Olivet Nazarene University was recently ranked third in the list of Best Online RN-BSN Programs in Illinois by RegisteredNursing.org. This is the first time the university has received this designation.
Each year, nursing programs are assessed on several factors which represent how well a program supports students during school, towards licensure and beyond. Susie Enfield, director of both Bachelor of Science in nursing (RN-BSN) and Master of Science in nursing tracks (RN-MSN), and Tiffany Greer, associate dean of the school of nursing, both stated they felt “honored” by the recognition.
“I think it’s a good boost for us to know that we’re doing a good job and that our program is reputable,” Enfield said.
Olivet’s RN-BSN program is completely online — outside of practicum hours completed at a site of the student’s choosing — and is designed to be flexible for students. The program is also done without exams.
“Because it’s an RN-BSN program — these are working nurses,” explained Greer. “And we all have realized how important nurses are to our community. That flexibility is really important.”
Greer also mentioned that Olivet makes it as easy as possible for nursing students to get all of the education they need in one place. If students are ready to go back to school, they can start the RN-MSN program, go all the way through the BSN courses, stop and graduate and then continue on to get their master’s without skipping a beat.
Because many students are working nurses, the biggest challenge with going back to school is time management. Many are balancing work, school and family. Enfield expressed that if students are aware of the time management component coming in, “it will be easier to be successful.”
With the flexibility and online setting, the program is designed so that students can fit classes and discussion boards in with their schedule. The RN-BSN program began at Olivet in 1991 and later moved to a virtual space.
Nursing students are also able to take any necessary general education courses as part of the program. With the program, students have a number of options — the fast-track route allows them to be done in 12 months with the core, depending on how many general education or pre-rec courses they need that might be added on.
If fast-tracking isn’t necessary, they can take it however they need — one class at a time.
“Many students don’t worry about the time frame, but if they want to be done in a quicker amount of time, we have those options, too,” said Greer. “We’re here to make it doable for them.”
In addition to assisting in completing coursework, the university also implements the Christian-based mission into the nursing program. Enfield said that they have devotions and professors pray with the students and will take the time to help them with any challenges that come up with work, school or life in general.
“Nursing and Olivet have gone hand-in-hand for many years,” said Greer, who noted that the RN-BSN program had its first on-campus graduation in 1971.
“We’ve been around a long time and have a long history of these quality programs. We just want the community to know we’re here for them, we appreciate all nurses. If and when you’re ready to get your bachelor’s, we’re here.”