Online program starts to expand outside Kent

Nick Walton

Enrollment in College of Nursing program grows from 19 to 61

Since its inception in 1968, the College of Nursing has had a program that allowed registered nurses to gain a bachelor’s of science in nursing.

While the program initially required registered nurses to complete their degree exclusively at the Kent Campus, there have been significant changes to the program over the years. In 1998, the nursing courses in the program went online.

“The reason we did that was to help the registered nurses already (who are) working have more flexibility and to be able to better represent the experience that they had,” said Connie Stopper, associate professor and one of the founders of the registered nurse to bachelor’s of science in nursing degree program.

Last semester, 19 students participated in the program but this semester there are 61 students enrolled online.

“The majority of our students still come from Northeast Ohio, many of them are from our regional campuses – they’re also from other community colleges,” said Marcy Caplin, program director of the RN to BSN program. “As we’re growing, we’re growing out of Northeast Ohio and in fact we’ve got students (from) coast to coast now in the online program.”

Caplin said the range of students benefits the program because it presents a wide range of feedback and nursing practices from different states. Along with receiving applications from other states in the country, Caplin said the program has also received inquires from overseas.

“The Kent State name is out there and people know us – Kent State has a very good reputation in nursing,” Caplin said. “Although we’re recruiting online across country, I get phone calls saying ‘I saw Kent State online, are you the Kent State?'”

Laura Dzurec, dean of the College of Nursing, said the benefit of the program is it provides leadership skills to nurses that an associate degree lacks.

“Those nurses don’t have the leadership theory that a student in a baccalaureate program has,” Dzurec said. “We do the RN to BSN program to encourage students to come back, get a bachelor’s degree, enhance their leadership.”

The convenience of the program helped Jean Marvin, a legal nurse consultant who received her bachelors of science in nursing through the program in 2007. Marvin graduated from Tremble Memorial School of Nursing in 1972 but went back to school to get her bachelor’s of science in nursing in an attempt to be more marketable after suffering from injuries.

“For me it was almost mandatory that I do it,” Marvin said. “As I went along I realized that I could do it, I was a good student and then I decided to go for the master’s degree to become a nurse educator.”

Marvin described her experience in the program as positive.

“I liked being able to work at home on my own time because I am a legal nurse consultant and I have to work,” Marvin said. “I was able to do things at night, on the weekends, do my homework- I just can’t say enough about the RN to BSN program.”

Contact health reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].