Purdue’s New Online 2-Step BSN Program Aims To Help Nursing Shortage
By Jacob Uitti
It’s no secret that we are in the middle of a nursing shortage crisis here in the United States - and it's only projected to get worse.
- Healthcare jobs are expected to grow faster than any other industry, at a rate of 14% between 2018-2028.
- Baby Boomers are quickly aging out of the workforce and many hospitals are having difficulty finding and retaining talent.
- Colleges and universities are now forced to radically readjust their nursing program structure to meet the needs of today’s students.
That’s why Purdue University has launched the first public online university to offer what they are calling “extreme personalization” for working adults. With this approach, students are encouraged to “hyper tailor” their associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing to meet their individual needs and schedule.
Even more, Purdue is revolutionizing the field of nursing education by making it seamless for students enrolled in the Associate of Science (ADN) program to start earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the same time.
By working towards their BSN in conjunction with their ADN, nursing students will be able to:
- Nursing students complete their BSN faster and more affordably
- New nursing graduates enter the workforce sooner
Purdue’s New Online Approach To Nursing Programs
Dr. Melissa Burdi is the Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at Purdue University Global, an online adult education-focused program that prides itself on offering a diverse array of courses and programs to teach both aspiring and working nurses.
She works diligently to create learning environments for people in need of schedule flexibility and the ability to work around day jobs.
Why does she do this? Many reasons! But chief among them is the country’s current nursing shortage. Today, there is more need for nurses than there are nurses to fill them. And people like Burdi are working to fix that.
We caught up with the educator to ask her about her program at Purdue University Global and how it helps its students.
How is Purdue’s School of Nursing helping to stave off the nursing shortage crisis?
Purdue has a variety of offerings that we are providing to either new nurses coming into the profession, as well as established nurses that are wishing to advance their degree through advanced education opportunities or specialty certification.
At Purdue Global, we offer a wide pipeline of programs starting with our Associate Degree of Nursing, going on through our Baccalaureate Degree of Nursing all the way through our Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which is our terminal degree. So, we have many offerings for nurses at various stages of their career and that’s really helping to fill the need with the great shortage that we’re experiencing across the country.
What are the top reasons for the nursing shortage?
We have an aging population with more chronic diseases than we’ve ever seen before. We have many nurses who are at the age of retirement. And it’s a very complex profession that requires a lot of dedication, commitment and it’s just difficult to get enough nurses trained as quickly as possible. So, I think having that bottleneck contributes to the shortage, as well.
It’s a combination of our disease population changing - we have a lot of Baby Boomers that are upon the age of retirement - and then, of course, just the bottleneck and being able to create opportunities for new nurses to come into the programs, learn the programs, etcetera.
What are you most excited about in regard to the future of nursing?
The nursing profession is progressive in today’s time versus 30-40 years ago. We’ve made tremendous strides in putting ourselves on the map. We have created additional academic degrees; we’ve created a space for the nurses to be more autonomous in their practice. So, I don’t think it’s the draw of the professions , I think it has more to do with our population that is growing and keep up with the demand. I think that the profession has become more exciting. We are on the map!
We’re involved with shaping the healthcare delivery model, we have opportunities to have our voice at the table where decisions are being made, both at the micro and macro level. So, I think it’s an exciting time. Not that it wasn’t exciting 30-40 years ago but I think we’re at a place and time where nursing is very engaging, it’s an exciting profession to be a part of.
What makes online nursing programs so appealing to your average Purdue nursing student?
Online programs such as the ones that we offer at Purdue University Global create flexibility and personalization - those are two elements that students are searching for, particularly students who are going back to school while working. And it makes it a very attractive, very appealing choice.
Are online nursing programs a good choice for new and aspiring nursing students? help both aspiring nurses and working nurses?
For the aspiring nurse, someone who we’re preparing to become a nurse, online nursing programs can be very helpful for a number of reasons, including;
- All their theoretical didactic coursework is done online.
- Students have the opportunity to engage with technology.
- They are learning in the comfort of their own space.
- They are able to study at any time of their choosing.
How can busy, working professionals benefit from Purdue’s online nursing programs?
Students who are already nurses but who are advancing their education will find Purdue’s programs to be very beneficial. We take pride in the flexibility of our programs,
- Students are able to complete their coursework at a time and place of their choosing.
- Students are engaging with colleagues from across geographical regions. So, you’re benefiting from diversity, different experiences that others might have working in different healthcare settings and, of course, capitalizing on the technology-boosted discussions and coursework.
What makes Purdue University Global’s program particularly special?
At Purdue University Global, we pride ourselves on being able to deliver not only a program but experience to the student. That special experience really focuses in on personalizing our education, personalizing the outreach, having that one-on-one connection with our students.
We bring the learning to the student, meeting them where their needs are.
What are the differences - good and bad - between fast track online nursing programs and in-person, traditional classroom settings?
They are distinct academic settings. You have an online learning platform versus the traditional brick and mortar and there are pros and cons with both. So, I think this is all very dependent on the learner and what the learner needs.
Traditional brick and mortar programs
- Students and Professors come together at set points throughout the week and they complete both the lecture and coursework during those times.
- The traditional classroom setting affords students the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue in real-time.
Online nursing programs
- Faculty and students come together via an online learning management system and technology that offers great engagement opportunities.
- Technology allows us to offer robust seminars.
- While in their own comfort zone, students are able to exchange information in real-time.
- For working students, online learning seems to be the most convenient, flexible and personalized option.
Is the online program more cost-effective than a typical nursing degree?
Our two-step BSN is innovative in that it caters to flexibility and personalization. It is intended for nursing students who are pursuing their Baccalaureate degree and is designed to be completed quicker and more affordably.
As a student-centric option, it’s driven by the learner. They have an opportunity to first earn their Associate Degree in Nursing, which is under two years, and enter the nursing profession. By enrolling in our two-step BSN program students are able to,
- Earn a good income
- Help to decrease the nursing shortage by entering the workforce sooner
- Complete their nursing degrees, ADN and BSN more quickly
- Obtain their BSN degree for cheaper
How long does it take a student to go from a BSN to an MSN?
Traditionally, a student that has their Baccalaureate degree can obtain their Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) in roughly two years. It all depends on which area of expertise they want to pursue with their Master of Science in Nursing degree.
How is Purdue’s two-step ADN/BSN program different from the standard BSN and how does it help nurses progress in their careers?
Purdue offers all of our curricula online making it convenient and flexible to the nursing student.
The theoretical path of a nursing student enrolled in the two-step BSN includes,
- Begin their coursework in the Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program
- Complete the ADN program
- Graduate and pass the NCLEX - Purdue’s NCLEX pass rate is 100%!
- Start working as a Registered Nurse
- Receive tuition reimbursement benefits from their employer
- Receive Purdue’s alumni discount that is offered to alumni to continue to the RN to BSN program.
- Immediately continue working towards their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) in our RN to BSN program.
How Purdue’s “extreme personalization” online program work?
It really begins with personalized outreach. At the beginning of each term with each course, we have faculty that are establishing one-to-one relationships with each of our students in the courses, getting to know the students, their learning style, their preferences, establishing that connection with the student.
We find that when those connections are present, the students and faculty have an outstanding experience. Those connections really facilitate great engagement and higher learning in the course.
So, it’s through that one-on-one connection, true regular feedback, constructive feedback that is delivered to our students in real time so that they are constantly learning from experience, receiving feedback on coursework, all as an effort to support our students towards their success in the course.
Purdue also offers a variety of resources, which are available to students. We understand that every student comes to us with different needs and may require different levels of support. That adds a layer of personalization, as well.
What is the biggest difference for you being a nurse in a hospital versus being a teaching nurse at a university?
I think in both aspects, we’re working with a patient population or a student population. So, from a leadership vantage point, it really allows me the opportunity to be a thought leader as well as a servant leader in either setting. I think the biggest difference is that we’re preparing nurses on the front end, working the academic side of nursing, whereas in practice, you’re focusing on the transition to practice or you are honing in on continuing education on the practice side.
But equally so, they’re both very important roles. The role of a professional nurse is just incredible. I think that the skill sets, however, are very transferable between both, as a leader.
How do you hope the School of Nursing at Purdue University Global will grow and continue to serve its nurses and patients over the next five-to-ten years?
We’re very confident in our vision and in the strategic planning that we have in place. I think that we have a wonderful pipeline available within the School of Nursing that has a robust amount of offerings. Again, ranging from the Associate Degree of Nursing Programs to the Baccalaureate to MSN to Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) as well as our various Nurse Practitioner tracks.
I think we will create and continue to create an opportunity for learners that desire this type of learning environment that is personalized that does provide flexibility and we know that we have a major shortage.
At Purdue, we’ll continue on our end to expand on these offerings while delivering top-notch high-quality programs.
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