Leaders and faculty from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis hosted a pinning ceremony for students in the inaugural class of the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing program. The traditional event is a symbolic welcoming of newly graduated nurses into the nursing profession. Members of the inaugural class formally complete their graduate school studies Dec. 15 and are then prepared take the national licensing examination for registered nurses.
Approximately 400 family, friends, faculty and staff gathered in Betty Irene Moore Hall on the UC Davis Sacramento campus Dec. 8 to honor the 24 students and mark this milestone in their nursing careers.
“While you may think of this as the end of your nursing school journey, I want to encourage you to see it as a start. This is the beginning of your opportunity to be a change agent and make the difference so desperately needed in health care,” said Heather M. Young, founding dean. “Never lose sight of the reason we’re here to blaze a new trail, prepare you to make the changes we all desire, and to exude health in our communities.”
The Master’s Entry Program in Nursing is an 18-month, accelerated-degree program that offers the quickest route to registered nursing licensure for adults who already completed an undergraduate degree in another discipline as well as prerequisite courses. Graduates earn Master of Science in Nursing degrees.
“Many things have changed in the 150-plus years since the pinning tradition began, including how nurses are educated, the makeup of our communities and the roles we take in caring for them,” said Jenna Shaw-Battista, program director. “We’ve prepared you to deliver sophisticated care in a fast-paced environment, with a range of technologies and diverse colleagues, and equipped you with time-honored skill of listening.”
The UC Davis program features a concept-based curriculum where learning activities, based on realistic case scenarios, are presented throughout several courses during the same time period so students learn the concepts in deep, complex ways. Rarely does content in more traditional nursing programs make such connections with other materials throughout the curriculum. Concept-based learning decreases course isolation and facilitates learning across the program.
“Over the last 18 months we have had the opportunity to become the type of nurses that we want to become,” said nursing student Angelica Gales, who was elected class speaker for the event. “By receiving our education from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, we have become nurses who are equipped and ready to promote bold system change. We learned the importance of being leaders who are culturally competent and have the capacity for advocacy and action at all levels.”
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, entry-level graduate programs are in the highest demand of all nursing programs. Additionally, more than 90 percent of entry-level master’s-degree graduates are employed as nurses within six months of graduation, a rate that far exceeds other nursing preparation programs. Graduates of an entry-level master’s degree program report higher salaries than students who complete bachelor’s- or associate-degree programs.
In 2010, more than 80 percent of new nurses moved into hospital positions after graduation. That number has decreased to less than 60 percent with a heightened emphasis on primary care, transitional care and community-focused-care initiatives aimed at teaching people with chronic diseases how to manage their conditions. Nurses need to provide care in nontraditional settings. Yet, few nursing schools prepare graduates for work outside of the acute-care setting. The School of Nursing’s program aims to prepare nurses for these emerging roles in health care.
“We created a program where we build a better nurse: one competent to function in either an acute care or community-based setting, who recognizes health disparities, care for older adults and rural health,” said Terri Harvath, executive associate dean. “Over the past 18 months, I have witnessed incredible growth in these students. They have expanded their clinical reasoning, matured in how they view health care and its challenges, and evolved in their leadership talents and abilities.”
Guided by the School of Nursing’s core values of leadership development, interprofessional and interdisciplinary education, transformative research, cultural inclusiveness and innovative technology, the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing prepares new nurses as leaders in quality and safety, advocates for diverse patient populations, and agents of change for healthier communities. Other Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Degrees include a Doctor of Philosophy, master’s-degree leadership degree for registered nurses and master’s-degree programs for nurse practitioner and physician assistant studies.