Yolondra Cochran learned about Queens while working as a preceptor for the Mecklenburg County Health Department. The Queens students she encountered raved about the program, and she was particularly impressed with Ruth Stephenson, an assistant professor whose involvement in public health spans decades.
"I decided to attend Queens because of the small class size, individual attention and encouraging professors, all of which were important for my college career as I juggled a full-time job and being a mom," says Cochran. After earning a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2012, she kept going. "I pursued my MSN because I want to teach future students," she says. "I had a great experience and would love to pass that on to others." She completed a Master of Science in Nursing in May.
Cochran is an example of changes that have led to greater enrollment in the Presbyterian School of Nursing, whose students now account for 17 percent of the undergraduate population and 14 percent of graduate students at Queens. The need for highly educated nurses is rapidly rising; U.S. News & World Report ranked nursing one of the 10 best jobs for college graduates in 2014.
Queens offers two nursing degrees with multiple MSN tracks, such as health systems management, Clinical Nurse Leader© and nurse educator. To accommodate the busy schedules of today's students, Queens teaches the Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Nurse Leader and the RN-BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (only open to registered nurses) online.
"Preparing students to succeed in the rapidly shifting healthcare industry is a higher priority than ever before."
- Tama Morris, interim dean of the Blair College of Health and director of the Presbyterian School of Nursing
Many hospitals and health clinics now seek nurses with four-year bachelor of science in nursing degrees, while others look for nurses with master and/or doctorate degrees. Recognizing the national shift toward higher-level nursing education, Queens graduated its last class of two-year associate degree nurses in May.
"Today's healthcare environment is more complex than ever, with national standards driving where we will go in nursing education," says Interim Dean Morris. "It's not enough to benchmark against other schools in our area. We need to look to the national benchmarks of the future."