Nursing program at MU main

Kristina Croucher, Contributing writer

Mercyhurst recently added a new Nursing department to its main campus that will bring about better community and communication. The Department of Nursing will be beneficial to the students in the program due to its ability to engage students on Mercyhurst’s main campus in addition to North East.

This program will help nursing students challenge themselves and earn more advanced degrees in a shorter period of time.

Michael Elnitsky, Ph.D., Dean of Zurn College of Natural and Health Sciences, and Judith M. Stanley, DHSc, RN, CNE, chair of the Nursing department, are proud to bring the department to the Mercyhurst main campus.

According to a news release issued by Mercyhurst on Aug. 22, the department will “enhance communication and foster collaboration among Mercyhurst University’s three nursing programs.”
Elnitsky and Stanley are very excited and passionate about the new opportunities this department will bring to Erie and North East nursing students.

“It is a phenomenal program,” Stanley said.

Students can participate in several different programs that allow them to sit in for a pre-licensure or licensure exam.

One route is to participate in the Practical Nursing Program, a one-year optional program that prepares students to be a Licensed Practical Nurse.

They can then continue onto a full-time two-year, or part-time three-year program that prepares students for an Associate of Science in Nursing.

This is known as the Associate of Science in Nursing Program, or ASN. Both of these programs have been offered for a while and are available on the North East campus.

The new department on the Erie campus is now preparing students to become a Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN). It is a two-year program that follows the ASN program; ASN has already been established at Mercyhurst for several years.

Students are able to earn their Registered Nurse License and sit for the licensure exam in only two years. This is compared with four-year programs at other universities in and around Erie that earn students the same degree.

“Since the program is for nurses and students in the professional setting, it is a little more flexible for them,” Elnitsky said.

This new department is making it easier for professors in Erie to communicate and work with the professors in North East. It will increase productivity in and out of the classroom, making the program more beneficial to the students.

Students will also be able to work in the simulation lab located at the North East campus, and the rigorous program will allow them to feel prepared if they move onto a graduate program level.
The next step, Stanley said, is to create a Masters program in Nursing. In addition, the program will most likely be an online program, Elnitsky said.

However, the focus is on what the new department can bring to Mercyhurst and the students now.

“The program is very cost effective,” said Stanley.

The cost effectiveness is one of the reasons Stanley predicts that it will be a huge success.

The department is very excited to work with North East to share ideas and make improvements for the benefit of the current and future nursing students and for the community.