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MSN Students Achieve 100 Percent First-Time Pass Rate

10 Years of Perfection for Nursing Graduates

December 2013 MSN graduating class

December 2013 MSN graduating class

For the tenth consecutive year, graduates of the Belmont University master’s program (MSN) for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) have achieved a 100 percent first time pass rate on the nursing certification examination. The most recent class of 28 graduates all passed the exam on the first attempt this spring. Nationally, only 80 percent of new FNP graduates pass on the first attempt.

“This is a truly remarkable accomplishment,” said Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean of nursing.  “We are so proud of the sustained level of excellence by our students and faculty and for the leadership of program director and professor of nursing, Dr. Leslie Higgins.”

The School of Nursing began offering the Master of Science in Nursing 20 years ago, and the program has grown throughout the years to a record enrollment of 83 students this past fall. FNP graduates enjoy significant professional flexibility and marketability. Prepared to practice in a variety of settings, FNPs provide primary health care to families and individuals of all ages.


Students Learn About Front-Line Army Medicine, Operating Room

On April 18, the Belmont School of Nursing hosted the U.S. Army 2nd Medical Recruiting Battalion. The battalion travels across the southeast to educational institutions and venues to introduce students to careers in Army medicine. The focal point was the setup of a Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH), a collapsible front-line operating room that was set up in the Inman Center lobby.

Students were given a full tour of the DRASH by active Army medics.

Inside the DRASH, active army medics gave tours and discussed their own deployment experience. “It was interesting to hear how they can set it up so quickly,” said student Ryan Shelquist. “The surgeries and the amount of equipment and the ability to stabilize and prep a patient are really impressive.”

Over the course of the day, more than 100 interested students stopped by to learn more about the tent and potential careers in army medicine. Informational material was made available, along with the option to sign up online for additional information.

Nurses and nursing students also had the opportunity to attend a one-hour continuing education (CE) course titled “Ulcer Prevention and Staging.” The course was taught by CPT Melanie Bowman, who graduated from Belmont’s nursing program in 2005. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Margaret Wilmoth, who served as the assistant for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, also helped lead the CE course. Students also had the chance to talk with Bowman and Wilmoth one-on-one. “This is a great opportunity for [students],” said Martha Buckner, director of Belmont’s undergraduate nursing program. (more…)

Memorial Foundation Awards Belmont $300,000 for Simulation Fellowship, Upgrades

The high-fidelity simulation equipment is housed in the Inman Health Sciences Building.

The Memorial Foundation has awarded Belmont University $300,000 to upgrade high-fidelity simulation equipment, support interprofessional training in the College of Health Sciences & Nursing  and fund a post-graduate Healthcare Simulation Fellowship. Belmont has appointed Dr. Gwenn Randall as the college’s first fellow.

“We are grateful to the Memorial Foundation for this generous gift that will enable us to markedly increase the impact of our clinical simulation program. In addition to creating exciting new clinical experiences for both students and community providers, with this funding we will create new ways of educating future leaders in this emerging field,” said College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Cathy R. Taylor.

The University’s advanced patient simulators allow students to experience the health care profession’s daily challenges in a controlled environment. Computerized mannequins exhibit real patient symptoms and respond accordingly to treatment provided by caregivers, based on programmed scenarios. The use of simulation allows individuals preparing for health care professions to practice treatments and learn technique through simulation before treating actual patients. The University used a portion of the Memorial Foundation grant to purchase a highly specialized obstetrical mannequin that will be used to train nursing students and community partners to respond to high risk obstetric emergencies.

“A program in health care professional training in simulation meets a need in the industry, appeals to professionals who want a unique and growing career and is attractive to teaching institutions who want to become involved or expand simulation,” said Dr. Beth Hallmark, director of simulation. (more…)

Belmont Expands Doctoral Program for Nurses

Belmont University School of Nursing announced today an expansion of its degree program for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to support national efforts to increase the number of nurse professionals prepared for advanced practice and leadership in the healthcare industry. The School is now accepting applications for fall enrollment to a BSN-to-DNP program which provides a direct pathway to the doctoral degree for registered nurses (RNs) who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The new program will prepare students for advanced practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) following three years of full-time study offered in a format friendly to working professionals.

Nursing has joined many other health professions—such as medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology and dentistry—to establish a practice doctorate following completion of the bachelor’s degree. Many national studies and reports have led nursing accrediting bodies to move toward this degree to help meet the demands created by the increasing complexities of health care, serious concerns with safety and quality in patient care and the changing landscape of healthcare reform.

“We believe the DNP will be the education necessary for future practice in the advanced role,” said Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean for nursing in Belmont’s Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing. “This program will open doors in nursing practice, policy. and education that will become increasingly evident in the years ahead.”

Belmont previously initiated the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a post-master’s DNP offered to nurse practitioners who had already attained a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). This two-year program is offered in a unique format allowing working professionals from across the U.S. to complete the DNP and will continue as an option for individuals already certified as nurse practitioners.

The School will also continue to offer a master’s degree program preparing RNs for advanced practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner. “At some point soon the DNP will be the exclusive option to prepare for advanced practice,” said Dr. Leslie Higgins, director of graduate studies in nursing at Belmont, “but until then, we will continue to meet the needs of nurses who want to complete their advanced degree at the master’s level.”


Belmont University School of Nursing Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The College of Health Sciences & Nursing celebrated the 40th anniversary of Belmont’s nursing program this fall. Since its inception, Belmont’s program has produced more than 2,000 skilled nurses who have served patients throughout the United States and around the world.

“This is an exciting time for nursing and especially for nursing at Belmont,” said College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Cathy R. Taylor. “Belmont nurses have always been known as leaders, highly respected for their skill and patient-centered focus. Today, they are increasingly recognized as innovators and change agents for improving health care quality, access and value. We are indeed honored to celebrate and build upon such a remarkable legacy of excellence to meet the health care challenges ahead.”

Associate Dean of Nursing Martha Buckner said, “We are so pleased to be celebrating this milestone in Belmont’s history. Our graduates have forged a tremendous reputation for this program. They are caring professional nurses whose practice is characterized by clinical excellence and compassion. We are proud of our heritage and excited about our future.”

The School of Nursing, Office of Alumni Relations and Omicron Phi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing held a program in November to commemorate the 40th anniversary with a panel discussion of nursing executives on The Future of Nursing in the Era of Health Care Reform. Panelists included Vanderbilt University Medical Center Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree and Middle Tennessee Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Kelly Miles. (more…)

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