New Accelerated Nursing Program Available At Southern Adventist University

Friday, February 07, 2003 - by Rob York
Dr. Holly Gadd
Dr. Holly Gadd

Registered nurses in the Hamilton County area can take the fast lane toward getting their Master of Science in Nursing thanks to the new accelerated RN to MSN program at Southern Adventist University’s School of Nursing, officials said.

The new program allows nurses with an associate’s degree to take bachelor’s level courses along with courses on the graduate level. Nurses who want to be adult or family nurse practioners can get their MSN, as can nurses who want to teach at the college level. A combined MSN/MBA degree with Southern’s School of Business is also offered for those interested in nursing management positions.

Southern decided to add the program in the summer of 2002, said Dr. Holly Gadd, coordinator of the graduate Southern’s School of Nursing. The accelerated program will provide new opportunities to nurses seeking new jobs in Hamilton County. “There are nurse practioners jobs available locally,” she said. “There are nurse educator jobs definitely available.”

Both new students without work experience and nurses who return to class after spending time working may be admitted into the accelerated program, Dr. Gadd said. Depending on whether they want to be practioners, educators or in management, those in the accelerated program can have 15 to 20 hours waived that would have been required to take if they got their bachelors degree. However, this does not make the program any less difficult, Dr. Gadd said.

“It’s a very rigorous program,” she said. “We add all the advanced requirements. It requires a very motivated student. It’s not a breeze environment, but it’s not making the student jump through hoops.”

There has been a lot of debate about whether students with little or no work experience should be allowed to achieve nurse practioner status, said Dr. Phil Hunt, Dean of the School of Nursing. Ultimately, Southern’s nursing faculty gave the new nurses that option.

“An inexperienced person can do as well upon graduation as an experienced person,” he said. “Part of the education they get is knowing their own limits.”

Though there accelerated nursing programs throughout the country, Southern’s is the only one in Eest Tennessee, Dr. Hunt said. “The closest one is in Vanderbilt.”

While the jobs as nurse practioners, RNs with advanced education who provide primary medical care to patients are available locally, there is not a shortage, Dr. Gadd said. Hamilton County is not an underserved area,” she said. “Rhea County is an underserved area. You don’t have to go far from here to find one.”

The combined MSN/MBA degree can help nurses move into management positions, but it can also help those already in leadership to gain additional skills. “There are a lot of nurses who come into the MSN/MBA who are in leadership programs,” Dr. Hunt said. “They have the nursing skills, but lack the experience with budgeting, finance and human resources, and they really desire that education.”

The need for nurse educators is almost universal, as only 17 percent of nurses in America have a masters degree, and less than 10 percent have doctorates, Dr. Hunt said. “Even we are short for clinical nursing teachers,” he said. “Our students can go just about anywhere for a teaching job.”

While nurses in management or nurse practitioners can get pay raises through their MSN, a nurse entering education may actually take a pay decrease. “Nursing education has never paid a lot,” Dr. Gadd said. “That’s why there’s a shortage.”

“We don’t work here for the money,” Dr. Hunt said. “We work here because this is where we want to work.”

Eleven new students have entered Southern’s graduate program since the school began the accelerated program this year, said Linda Marlowe, admissions coordinator for the School of Nursing. Usually, the school only takes in one or two new students into its masters program each year. “I think it’s giving new energy to the school,” she said.

And though Southern’s student body is predominantly Seventh-day Adventist, the nursing graduate program at the school is approximately half non-Adventist. This is due to the program the school offers, and also because of its location in Collegedale, Dr. Hunt said. “We’ve seen a lot of people who have ties in the community,” he said. “We see it as a great way to extend the mission of the university.”

Dr. Phil Hunt
Dr. Phil Hunt

Debra Chew: Women And Balancing The “Change Of Life”

My favorite act at the circus is the balancing act.  You know, the guy walking the tightrope, balancing each step he takes so that he doesn’t lose his equilibrium and come crashing down.  Sometimes life can make women feel like they are walking a tightrope and that the least change will take them off balance and they will come crashing down. Unfortunately, women walk ... (click for more)

Shriner Luncheon To Honor Morning Pointe Resident

Morning Pointe of Collegedale at Greenbriar Cove hosted a Shriner's luncheon to honor resident Rayford McLaurin.  Mr. McLaurin has dedicated well over 50 years of service as a Shriner for the Alhambra Shrine on East Brainerd Road. He was presented with an Outstanding Service Award by the Shriner's International Chattanooga Oasis of Tennessee.  He has served in ... (click for more)

City Council Presents Potential Ordinance To Address Noise Level Downtown

Members of the Chattanooga City Council presented a potential ordinance to address concerns about the noise level downtown. If passed, the ordinance will put limits to both dB(A) and dB(C) levels of sound. It was noted, "When we compare our dB level, it is clear that Chattanooga is lower than Nashville and Knoxville." However, this comparison only takes dB(A) levels into consideration. ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)