BYU College of Nursing: Instilling Nursing Ethos through Advanced Simulation-based Learning

Our mission is to develop professional nurses who promote health, care for the suffering, engage in the scholarship of the discipline, invite the Spirit of health and healing, and lead with faith and integrity.

Nursing is a profession which is built on the pillars of altruism. People admire and respect this profession due to the reverence and the compassionate care nurses deliver at the time of a calamity. But to inculcate this core ethos, one needs robust curriculum and an advanced simulation-based learning environment that empowers students to uncover and fortify the humane values along with the core technical aspects associated with the profession. One such prominent University providing popular nursing courses across the globe is Brigham Young University (BYU).

Brigham Young University (BYU) is a private research university located in Provo, Utah. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and is one of the largest and prominent religious universities in the United States with 33,363 on-campus students. BYU College of Nursing is one of the 10 colleges that make up the university.

The BYU’s College of Nursing started in the year 1952 with the vision of providing “a community of scholars and educators which engaged in the discovery and application of the Healer’s Art that promotes health and healing and enhances the discipline of nursing.” Soon after its establishment, the College of Nursing had seen a surge in the admissions with 80 students registered in the pilot batch. That was a significant accomplishment for BYU in its very first year, since only 109 nurses had graduated the previous year in the entire state of Utah. Since then the college has grown by leaps and bounds and has seen the attainment of state and national accreditation, the implementation of graduate degree programs, and the beginning of a legacy of international cultural understanding. At the turn of the century, technology became available for simulated learning. A nursing learning center, directed by a national simulation expert, was established. High-fidelity adult, pediatric, and birthing manikins were acquired to give exposure to students for real-life scenarios.

Instilling Real-world Skills among Students with Advanced Learning Center

Exposure to practical learning is crucial in any profession for attaining success. BYU understands this need; therefore, they emphasize particularly on practical learning in all their academic programs. With the praiseworthy intention of instilling real-world knowledge in students, BYU has opened Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC) with the humanitarian assistance of $4 million from Fritz B. Burns Foundation. The gigantic 11,000+ square foot learning center is well equipped with advanced learning equipment and includes six full-simulation experience rooms with high-fidelity manikins, four debriefing rooms, five exam rooms, and a nine-bed skill lab. The ultimate objective of opening this center is to provide students an environment where they can gain skills and practice with medical equipment which they may not encounter routinely until their actual professional career begins. BYU believes that not only advanced infrastructure but quality training and supervision are also needed for preparing students for future success. Therefore, the college provides all of these world-class learning facilities in a safe and team driven environment under the supervision of expert faculties, who also provide insightful feedback to students at the time of need.

Popular Courses Offered by the BYU College of Nursing

BYU College of Nursing offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Science (B.S.) degree in Nursing with the goal of preparing nursing students for a promising professional future and a Christ-centered life. The baccalaureate program leads to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. With the intake of only 384 students per year (92% female; 8% male), it is a highly-competitive limited enrollment program (64 students are accepted each semester with a 48% acceptance rate). Students enter the nursing program in their sophomore year, and the whole coursework takes six semesters. During the 2016-17 academic year, 57% of undergraduate students came from areas outside of Utah, representing 32 states and five foreign countries. An entering GPA of 3.82 and ACT score of 28 is required to take admission into this prestigious college.

The graduate program culminates into a Master of Science (M.S.) degree after 26 months of study. With 45 students (73% female; 27% male), it prepares graduates for advanced nursing practice as Family Nurse Practitioners and for a leadership role in the profession of nursing (15 students admitted each year, with 31% acceptance rate; average entering GPA is 3.76).

Accreditation and Associations of College

The college has been following the utmost guiding principles laid by varied premier nursing regulatory bodies of the USA. It has been associated with National League for Nursing (NLN) in the past. And currently, the college has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) with a certificate granted to operate through 2026.

Brain behind the Simulation-based Training

Patricia K. Ravert is the Dean of the College of Nursing since August 2012. She is a PhD in nursing with 20+ years of vast professional experience. Patricia is a pioneer in nursing simulation and is a national leader in the development of virtual learning scenarios. After being appointed as the Coordinator for Nursing Learning Center and Clinical Simulation Laboratory, Patricia focused immensely on increasing the amount of simulation training used in the College’s curriculum. Under her direction, the College has created the multimillion-dollar Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC), a unique facility that combines leading-edge simulation technology with innovative teaching methods to help students bridge the gap between studying didactic theories and employing skills in clinical rotations. She is one of nine national experts for the initial NLN/Laerdal Medical Simulation Innovation Resource Center (SIRC) project.

Her profound knowledge and passion to make a distinct mark in the field of nursing earned her many prestigious awards and fellowships. In March 2015, Mometrix Test Preparation released a listing of the 30 most influential nursing deans in the nation. Patricia was at the 19th position on that list. She also holds Fellowships in the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy of Nursing Education and has served on the board of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL).

Noted Alumni and Prominent Faculties

Dallas L Earnshaw, one of the most notable alumni currently serving in Utah State Hospital as a Superintendent. He is recognized as one of the first administrators to bring the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) sponsored programs into the hospital setting. He is also a board-certified clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatry and oversaw the development of one of the first electronic health records in a state psychiatric hospital.

Mary Ellen Edmunds is a prominent public speaker, author, and nurse. She is an alumnus who has also served as a faculty member in the BYU College of Nursing. She has worked as a missionary in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Indonesia and also directed a child health project in Nigeria, West Africa.  In the recent past, she had also served as a member of the Relief Society general board for eleven years as a Director of Training at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

Elaine Sorensen Marshall is one of the prominent faculties in the BYU College of Nursing who also served as the chairperson of the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management, University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing, San Antonio in the past; and a former dean of the BYU College of Nursing. She has authored four books and has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as 11 book chapters.

Julie Valentine is currently an assistant professor and also a certified adult sexual assault nurse. Julie focuses on multidisciplinary, collaborative research studies uniting the various disciplines in sexual assault case reform to benefit victims and case processing. Her profound knowledge about assault cases has resulted in the prosecution of many cases.

Career Opportunities ahead in the Field of Nursing

A certified nurse can choose a wide range of services after completing graduation such as providing healthcare services, monitoring patient progress, educating patients and their families about their health condition or disease and explaining various medical care options to provide a full spectrum of care. Individuals who complete the master’s degree programs can also practice as a family nurse. The quality of education and association with many medical institutions in the area is delivering a 100% employment rate for their nursing graduates.

Apart from academics, The BYU also emphasizes on the extracurricular activities for the holistic development of their student and hence they encourage them to take part in various on-campus clubs like the rugby team, cheer squad, track team, ballroom team, and youth symphony.

A Top Ranking College with Top Class Results

Robust curriculum, quality training, and dedicated supervision by faculties always resulted in student’s success in real life exams. BYU College of nursing feels proud when it sees that their teaching is helping students to qualify crucial nursing exams. Last year, in the nursing licensure examination (NCLEX-RN), more than 97.3 percent students who had appeared for the very first time cleared the examination with flying colors. This passing percentage (97.3%) is far above the national average of 84.6 percent and the state average of 82.1 percent. Moreover, their graduate program and family nurse practitioner students enjoy a thumping 98 percent pass rate on the American Nurses Credentialing Center certifying exam.

The BYU college of Nursing has won several prestigious awards for its services in the field of nursing. In 2016, the Nursing school hub, a leading rating agency, had awarded no. 3 rank to BYU College of Nursing in the list of progressive nursing programs in the United States based on investment in advanced technology, experienced teaching staff, and opportunities for learning experience while in school. Recently, BYU College of Nursing has garnered the number 1 position in the 50 best College Values Report, for its bachelorette program.

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