Interest in second degree program accelerates

Healthy Times, Winter 2002

Things happen quickly when it comes to the McAuley School of Nursing’s Accelerated Second Degree Program. The School launched the program this fall, and already is reviewing applications for next year, when it is anticipated that enrollment will grow from 18 to 48 students.

The program allows students who already have undergraduate degrees in other fields to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in only 12 months. The School has received more than 75 applications so far for the 2003 class. The deadline for applications is March 1.

“It’s going to be competitive,” says Sarah Halter, Second Degree Option program chair and assistant professor of Nursing. “We’re getting inquiries from around the country. We’re even hearing from candidates who want to enroll in 2004.”

The program is so well designed, its popularity is no surprise, says Christine Pacini, associate professor and associate dean and chair of the McAuley School of Nursing.

“The entire curriculum is attentive to the fact that these students have already earned a degree. Part of its appeal is that it’s for learners who are mature, ready and motivated,” she says. “It’s hard, but students can see that it has a beginning, middle and an end.

“Many of our students are already looking at what master’s programs they want to go into next. The program will be a stepping stone to advanced practice for them.”

Because it is a year-round, full-time commitment, Halter urges those interested in the program to begin looking at financial aid options now.

“With tuition, books and uniforms, it’s a $30,000 investment,” she says. “Fortunately, there are many funding programs out there. The Federal Nurse Reinvestment Act passed in June should make funds available soon. There are loan forgiveness programs at the state and Federal level, and at many hospitals. Numerous corporations and organizations offer scholarships.”

For more information, Halter suggests candidates visit the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions.

Additional information on the Second Degree Option program can be found at the website.

“The program is an investment, yes,” adds Pacini, “but one with a great return.”