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Clayton State University to Begin a New Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree
SUE E. ODOM,

In the fall of 2007, Clayton State University will begin a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. The two major objectives of the graduate program are to provide additional graduate education in nursing to help meet the critical need for advanced practice nurses in Georgia and to further the mission of Clayton State, which is to bring “educational opportunities to the citizens and businesses of the Southern Crescent to contribute to the regions further development” and to provide “graduate programming as a community needs dictate.” Nursing leadership and nursing education will be the two areas of concentration for the nurses in the new program. The MSN consists of a total of 36-38 semester hours. Twenty of the 36-38 hours are required core courses and the remaining 16-18 hours of coursework will focus on their selected concentration. The education concentration focuses on advanced principles of education, teaching strategies, evaluation of learning, and curriculum development within a clinical context. The courses in the leadership concentration focus on advanced principles of leadership, financial management, analysis of systems, and resource management. The entire MSN program will be available in an online format.

With the national nursing shortage, Clayton State is very fortunate to offer this program in an effort to increase the number of nurse leaders and educators to remedy some of the shortages. The shortage of master’s prepared nurses is well documented and predicted to become much worse as the delivery of health care becomes more complex, Americans continue to live longer and sicker, and the current aging nursing workforce retires.

One million new and replacement nurses will be needed by the year 2012 and by 2020, an additional 500,000 graduate-prepared nurses will be needed. Clayton State anticipates the greatest number of students for its program to come from south metro Atlanta and from minority backgrounds, meeting another national need – one for minority practitioners.

While the lack of advanced practice nurses (APN) is severe, the lack of minority APN is even more disturbing. Clayton State graduates more minority nurses than any other nursing school in Georgia, including the historically black colleges. As an added bonus, Clayton State nursing graduates consistently have one of the highest NCLEX/ State Board pass rates in the state, significantly better than the national average pass rate. Building on the already strong foundation of undergraduate nursing education and the outreach and success in educating minority students, Clayton State’s MSN program will not only help meet the growing shortage of APN in general, but the shortage of minority APN specifically.

“We have a growing, quality undergraduate program that’s well established, along with a cadre of core faculty that are well prepared,” says Dean of the Clayton State School of Nursing, Dr. Lisa Eichelberger, D.S.N., R.N. “We also have a good base of alumni in the Atlanta metro area and a successful track record in educating minority students. Both will help us in starting this graduate program in nursing.” The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recognizes that the shortage of faculty of nursing with baccalaureate and graduate programs is a continuing and expanding problem.

“Graduate programs in nursing are very labor intensive,” emphasizes Eichelberger. “Each student will have a clinical specialty and will require a tremendous amount of individual focus from the program faculty. We want to make sure we do this right the first time.

By limiting class size, we are confident that will happen.” Clayton State’s School of Nursing is committed to maintaining the reputation it has built over the years of providing a quality nursing program for its students and quality nurses for the community.

Now, with the addition of the Master of Science in Nursing, the Southern Crescent community as well as the entire State of Georgia will benefit in both the short and the long-run by educating and training graduate nurses for leadership and teaching careers.
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