Montana State University
211 Montana Hall
Bozeman, Montana 59717
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Nursing Programs OfferedBSN Programs
BSN Program Details
The MSU-Bozeman College of Nursing offers the only public generic baccalaureate nursing program in the state of Montana. Since its inception in 1937, the College of Nursing has been a multi-campus program, making effective use of educational and clinical resources in the state. The College's administration is located on the main campus of MSU-Bozeman.
Undergraduates complete upper division coursework in one of the state's major populations areas: Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell or Missoula (see our Campuses page.) With their greater population concentrations, these communities possess health care facilities that provide the degree of complexity, size and diversity of patient population needed for upper division clinical experience. Each of the College's campuses has resident faculty who serve both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate clinical sections usually have eight to ten students per faculty member, and students are able to form close relationships with their faculty, advisors and fellow students.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program can be completed in eight semesters with appropriate planning (see required courses listed below or for complete information, see the MSU Catalog). The first and second years are a mixture of nursing preparatory courses and the core curriculum—courses in the arts, sciences and humanities that are required of all MSU students. By the junior year, students are well prepared to work with patients. During the junior and senior years students participate in clinical work in a variety of hospital and health care facilities in their upper division community area.
Accelerated BSN Program Details
The College of Nursing at Montana State University offers an accelerated second degree option for students to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing. This option is available only to students who already have earned a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than nursing. Applications to the option will not be processed for individuals who do not have a degree in another discipline at the time they submit the application (by June 1 annually). Students are required to have completed the same pre-requisite courses as the traditional students EXCEPT for WRIT 101, CLS 101, and the art, humanities, and diversity Core 2.0 requirements (see required courses below). Once admitted to the nursing major, they complete the BSN degree in approximately 16 months, as opposed to the 29 months it takes the traditional students.
Accelerated post-baccalaureate options are common in the discipline of nursing. Currently there are well over 200 accelerated second degree options in the country - only two states do not offer such an option. Research has indicated that these students are highly motivated students, do well in school, and are rated highly by employers. Because these students already have a degree and have demonstrated success as college students, they are able to progress at a faster pace through such an intense program. These accelerated options are held to the same national accreditation standards as are traditional baccalaureate degree programs.
The need for this accelerated option for students who already have a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than nursing acknowledges the shortage of nurses prepared at the baccalaureate level, especially in rural, remote underserved areas. Trends such as the large number of the baby boomer population now aging and needing care, the ability to treat more chronic and acute disorders, and the pending retirement of a large percentage of nurses in the next ten years are fueling that need for nurses. Not only is there a current and projected shortage of nurses to provide care, the projected faculty shortage is significant. Second degree students who are exceptionally strong academically have shown to have a great interest in advancing into graduate education, thus increasing the supply of master’s or doctorally prepared nurses qualified to work as nurse educators.
The interest in such a program at MSU was evident when assessing the demographics of student numbers. During Fall 2010 there were approximately 875 pre-nursing and nursing undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Nursing at MSU. Of those, 128 already had a baccalaureate degree and thus were potential candidates for a second degree accelerated option. We completed the process of conducting an electronic survey assessing interest of potential students about a year ago (Spring 2010). Anecdotally, faculty and administrators in the College had many potential students express interest in such an option as well.
The curriculum is the same as for the traditional students except that is at a much faster pace, full-time, more credits each semester, and year-around. A cohort of 16 students have been admitted to the Bozeman campus to begin the option in May 2011. The Bozeman campus has the needed availability of clinical learning resources to offer the option. The college hopes to expand the option to other campuses in the future. The first cohort of students will progress through the nursing curriculum in 4 intense terms (eg summer, 2011; fall 2011; spring 2012; and summer 2012) and graduate at the conclusion of the summer term, 2012. Upon graduation, these students will be qualified to sit for NCLEX-RN, the licensure examination to enter professional nursing practice.
The Montana State Board of Nursing (BON) met in Helena and approved the option in July 2010. The Montana State Board of Regents (BOR) met in Missoula on November 17-19, 2010 and approved the accelerated BSN option which the College of Nursing will implement in May 2011. In Fall 2010, the Screening/ Admissions Committee completed its review of the 60 applications that were submitted by August 1, 2010. The 26 top ranked applicants were identified, notified, and interviewed during the month of December, 2011. From that group, the top 16 were offered admission to the accelerated option. Some of the remaining 10 applicants who were interviewed were placed on the Wait List. All other applicants were notified that they were not selected for the first cohort and may reapply for the second cohort or may apply for the traditional BSN degree program during the next application period.
Though the specific cost each semester is unknown at this time, the accelerated option will cost more than the traditional BSN program per semester since accelerated students will be enrolled in more credits each of the four semesters of the option and the option will be offered through Extended University (EU). However, given that students will complete the option in 16 instead of 29 months, they will be in the workplace earlier and earning a salary over the 13 months they would traditionally still be in school.