Kent State College of Nursing program welcomes 100 students for Spring 2014 semester

Academic Advisor for the College of Nursing Katie Bowen meets with junior Marci Herr to talk about her progress in the competitive nursing program, Jan. 30, 2014.

Academic Advisor for the College of Nursing Katie Bowen meets with junior Marci Herr to talk about her progress in the competitive nursing program, Jan. 30, 2014.

Halie Rogers

Kent State College of Nursing is known as a competitive programs on campus. Every semester, hundreds of students apply, but only 100 students are accepted into the program.

Curtis Good, academic program director for the College of Nursing, said on average ,around 60 percent of the students who apply get accepted. In order to get into the program, students are required to take certain courses in biology, chemistry and Kent Core classes. After establishing their GPA for the semester, they can then go through the application process online.   

“The average GPA, which is what most people look at to get in, is around a 3.4 to a 3.8, “ he said. Sophomore nursing major Mikaela Gruber applied to the program in Fall 2013 with a 3.9 cumulative grade point average.

She said she nervously awaited the decision, knowing she was one of hundreds of other students competing for the same limited spots. She found out she was accepted into the program during winter break.

Good said that the level of competitiveness between applicants is always high, but it can vary depending on the statistics of those applying.

“It’s sort of like a cross-country race: You have so many people starting at the starting line when you know you have x-sort of time to qualify, “ he said. “It is just a matter of how many people run really well that first time.”

Gruber said she has experienced the competitiveness first-hand.

“I’ve seen friends not give each other notes if they missed a class because they think of it as a competition to get in,” she said.

Once students have applied, the decision process is based solely on the numbers; it’s wherever students finished in comparison to the other applicants.

Academic advisers are available to help students through their classes and application process.

“We really try to advise them on what their chances are, right off the bat,” Good said.

Sophomore nursing major Bradley Coppedge said he had to study almost constantly to get As and Bs in his classes. He was accepted into the nursing program in Fall 2013 after applying once, which is uncommon for freshmen applying to the program.

“There’s no room for error,” he said.

Good said Kent State’s program is typical of many nursing programs around the country.

“Nursing, by and large, is competitive no matter where you go,“ he said.  

Once students are accepted into the nursing program, they have the opportunity to have hands-on experience in their clinicals. The clinical process begins the second semester of students’ sophomore year and continues through their senior year. Clinicals consist of rotating to different areas within a hospital.

Applying what they have learned in the classroom in their clinicals allows students to work side by side with registered nurses and doctors in local hospitals to gain experience and practice.

Students also are required to take a number of courses while they are working in the hospitals.

Mary Bacha, lecturer and previous clinical instructor in the College of Nursing, said students start with basic fundamentals, such as taking patients’ blood pressure and temperature, and work their way up to working in critical care.

“It’s learning the fundamentals of caring for a patient using the nursing process,” she said.

In a student’s first semester of clinicals, an instructor is with them through most of their learning experience in the hospital. The instructors watch the students to make sure they know all the steps and are performing all skills and procedures safely and correctly.

“It’s like a stepping stone,” Bacha said. “One step at a time, they get a lot of experiences in different fields.”

Junior nursing major Blanca Daniel is currently in her third phase of clinicals working in pediatrics. She said it can be challenging applying what you learn in the classroom on a patient.

“It’s intimidating when your instructor is right there asking a variety of questions on medications and their side effects and the disease process, but you have to stay confident because you don’t want to act unsure around the patient,” Daniel said.

Bacha said instructors teach students in clinicals to be responsible for their own learning.

“When students continue in the program, they feel a lot more comfortable and gain mastery of a certain skill,” she said. “They then take the responsibility for learning and progressing that skill with minimal help.”

Senior nursing major Tim Dunams is in the critical care sequence of the program and said he loves the independence he has. He said his favorite clinical area was during his junior year, when he worked in the geriatrics and rehabilitation unit and the psychological unit. He said he enjoyed working with the adults and elderly patients and hearing their stories and life experiences. He felt an inspiration after seeing their drive to get better each day.

“I had patients cry and say, ‘I haven’t walked in three months, and I just walked down the hallway,’“ he said. “Literally one of the most beautiful moments you could be a part of as a nurse.”

Contact Halie Rogers at [email protected].