KCON signs agreement for Calvin, Hope grads

GVL / Eric Coulter
Senior Nursing Student Chelsea Messier performs a lung sound asessment

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Senior Nursing Student Chelsea Messier performs a lung sound asessment

Sarah Hillenbrand

The Grand Valley State University Kirkhof College of Nursing has signed an agreement with Calvin College and Hope College to reserve spots in the graduate programs for qualified students. The purpose of the agreement is to encourage more students to complete a graduate nursing degree and ultimately increase the number of nurses with graduate and doctorate degrees by 2020.

“A partnership between GVSU’s Kirkhof College of Nursing and Hope and Calvin colleges’ nursing programs is a reflection of these efforts while also meeting the national call to increase the proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses who pursue graduate nursing education,” said Cynthia McCurren, dean of KCON.

The GVSU nursing graduate programs offers two options for students: a Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which admits 120 students each year, and a Master of Science Nursing-Clinical Nurse Leader program, which admits 60. The new agreement will reserve two seats per year in the DNP program and two seats in the MSNCNL program for students from both Calvin and Hope colleges.

“We like to be helpful to the sister institutions in the area,” said Gayle Davis, the provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. “Their students will help enrich the high quality of the nursing program and get them engaged.”

GVSU entered the agreement because both Hope and Calvin had undergraduate nursing programs without graduate programs, said Linda Scott, associate dean for graduate programs.

“It is a very exciting opportunity to work together to educate nurses to meet demands in society in the future,” Scott said, adding that GVSU is not planning to sign similar agreements with other schools right now.

McCurren said the agreement will not affect GVSU students who may be trying to get into the graduate program because the purpose of this agreement is to encourage more students to apply, since the programs need more applicants most years. The majority of nursing students that do pursue an advanced degree wait for some time before going to graduate school, she said.

“Recruitment for qualified applicants is a challenge we take seriously and we want well-prepared candidates,” McCurren said. “The partnership is an intentional recruitment strategy.”

Davis agreed that GVSU student applicants will not be greatly affected.

“They’ll be in competition with everyone else trying to get into the program,” she said. “We don’t save spaces for Grand Valley students, so everyone is in the same pool.”

McCurren said she hopes the agreement will attract more nursing students not only from just Hope College and Calvin College, but also from other schools that have students seeking to attend graduate school.

“It is believed that this innovative partnership model will achieve the ultimate goal of increasing the number of DNP or MSNCNL prepared nurses in Michigan,” she said.

The agreement will be effective in for the 2012-13 academic year.

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