Start your nursing education now
Do you feel called to be a nurse? Don’t worry about two year waiting lists. Check out a nursing program where graduates pass the national licensure test on the first attempt at a much higher rate than the national average. Now Union College has introduced two new ways to give nursing students peace of mind while they follow their calling: a nursing scholarship and an Early Admission Track.
For Heather Boone, it seemed like her dream of becoming a nurse had all but disappeared. Headed home to Salem, Ore., from a nearby private college after her teachers told her she wasn’t cut out to be a nurse, she had difficulty understanding what God had in mind for her.
The child of an emergency room nurse and a recovery nurse, Boone really never considered any other profession. But it wasn’t until she found herself back home working as certified nurse assistant and taking classes at a community college, did she truly discover her calling.
“I got a job working in an emergency room,” Boone recalled. “That’s where I really fell in love with nursing because I actually saw what nurses did. I worked along side them. I helped with psych patients; I helped with teens who wanted to commit suicide; and even kids with snotty noses. It ignited my passion.”
But even after doing all the right things—gaining experience, improving her grades, Boone ran into what many would-be nurses discover: a waiting list of more than two years to get into nursing school.
Start on the right track
In fall 2015, Union College is launching a program to help change that—the Early Admission Track. In most schools, a student must complete all the prerequisite general courses before even applying to the nursing program, and are then relegated to wait for an opening.
Now incoming freshmen can apply for the Nursing Early Admission Track as part of Union’s admission process. If they meet requirements for high school grades, ACT scores and course prerequisites, new freshmen will be guaranteed a spot in the nursing program when they finish their first three semesters of general education classes.
“Very few schools offer this type of admission track,” said Nicole Orian, chair of the Division of Nursing. “Early admission validates the students who demonstrate academic excellence in their high school education, are committed to the profession of nursing, and are called to serve. It guarantees that these incoming freshmen can be assured a spot in the program. For most students and their parents, that is great peace of mind.”
Students will be required to maintain certain academic standards to retain their spot in the program.
You’re going to school where?
Boone decided to consider nursing school in Nebraska because she had family here, and stumbled upon Union in a Google search. “I wasn’t expecting to come to Union,” she said. “It was kind of a shot in the dark just in case everything else didn’t work out.” But God had other plans and last summer she found herself moving into an apartment in Lincoln and enrolling in classes.
“You can either wait it out, you can work, or you can follow your dream,” said Boone. “I thought, okay Lord, this acceptance letter means that I can follow my dream—even to Lincoln, Neb. I thought that I would be settling, but I haven’t been. I’ve found a great church, a great support system. I met my boyfriend here. God has been saturating my life with blessings since I got here.”
At Union, she found academic support she needed to be successful. “I had never known teachers to be accommodating and actually want my success,” Boone explained. “I came from a school where they tried to weed people out. I didn’t find that here. I have never had my transcripts reflect what I feel in my heart until I came to Union.”
Scholarships for nurses
As part of the new scholarship package of four-year, 100 percent renewable scholarships for new students enrolling in fall 2015 and beyond, Union has made it more affordable for students to study nursing.
Now freshmen enrolling in the nursing track are eligible to receive an additional yearly scholarship of $2500—that’s $10,000 over four years. Students are required to have a qualifying high school GPA and must main a qualifying college GPA to be eligible.
“Nurses are the backbone of the American healthcare system,” said Orian. “In fact, the economic value of BSN-prepared nursing professionals is so substantial that the Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be BSN-prepared by 2020 to assure quality healthcare. Investing in these nursing students is our commitment to the future of nursing.”
Looking back, Boone wishes she had discovered Union earlier. “If you have a history of being a good student, you know you want to be a nurse, and you are guaranteed a spot in a program where most grads pass their NCLEX-RN on the first try, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t take it,” she said. “I don’t think kids coming out of high school understand how hard it is going to be to get into a nursing school.”
Even though she doesn’t regret her God-led journey, she hopes other students understand the importance of finding a school that will invest in their success. “If I had come to Union my freshman year, I believe I would have had the support and the community to do well,” she reflected. “And I would have been a nurse by now.”
By Ryan Teller, director of public relations