PSU nursing students exceed expectations

Pittsburg State University’s Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing class of 2019 surpasses the national average.

The School of Nursing’s first group of students has passed the Family Nurse Practitioners National Board Certification, which is a must for them to be able to practice in most states as Family Nurse Practitioners when they graduate in May. The Class of 2019 has surpassed the national average.

“I look at our DNP program and think of how far we’ve come since the inaugural BSN-DNP class was admitted in 2016,” said Director Cheryl Giefer, “and I can’t help but smile.”

The program is called the Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor in Nursing Practice program. It’s a 74 credit-hour terminal practice degree that allows those who earn it to practice at an advanced level of nursing. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a growth of around 19 percent in the field by 2020. Graduates willl be qualified to work in advanced practice nursing roles that include the role of a primary care provider, and the role has expanded to also include hospitalists, director of medical services, and more.

“But in order to be able to recieve payments from Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance companies, nurse practitioners must first pass the National Board Certification exam,” said Giefer, “so this is a major milestone in their journey.”

Initial planning for the BSN to DNP degree at PSU began in 2009, and in the Fall of 2010, two faculty members were awarded sabbatical to begin preliminary formal planning. In 2012, the nursing faculty had formed a DNP task force, and in 2014, the nursing school recieved approval from the Higher Learning Commission, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Kansas State Board of Nursing to transition the Master of Science in Nursing program to the DNP program. The first cohort of students began in BSN-DNP program when PSU rolled it out in 2016. Giefer said that in addition to the students’ passing rate, their scores were noteworthy: to pass, they had to have earned a score of 500.

“Our students averaged a score of 648,” she said. “This speaks to the quality of instruction they’re getting from our faculty, to the program as a whole, and of course to our students’ own dedication and commitment. We’re very, very proud.”