Eastern Kentucky University Nursing School Review

Eastern Kentucky University, also known as Eastern or EKU is located in Richmond, Kentucky. It is an undergraduate and graduate teaching and research institution that was established in 1874. The university has around 14,400 undergraduate students and about 2,170 graduate students. EKU also has regional locations in Corbin, Danville, and Manchester and centers in Fort Knox, Lancaster, and Somerset. Many students live in the 14 residence halls or one efficiency apartment complex.

There are many social and academic activities for students at the university, including Study Abroad programs all around the world on every continent. EKU has received numerous awards and has been named among the top 10 percent of colleges and universities by Forbes. Among the many programs offered by EKU, the university offers several nursing programs.

Nursing Programs

Nursing scholarships are available for all nursing students in the various programs at EKU. There are also unique loans that are offered to nursing students. The Kentucky League for Nursing Fayette County Medical Society Auxiliary, Kentucky Association of Nursing Students, National Student Nurse Association, Bluegrass Black Nurses Association, Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) Nursing Incentive Scholarship Fund, and the Mitch and Mary Slater Endowment Scholarship are some of the groups offering scholarships and loans to nursing students. Various healthcare facilities in the state also offer scholarships and loans, and students often receive federal government grants and loans to pay for their nursing education.

Department of Associate Degree Nursing

The Department of Associate Degree Nursing was established in 1965. The program is designed to be completed in four semesters and leads to an Associate of Science of Nursing (ASN) degree. Students in the program are prepared to begin working as Registered Nurses (RNs) after graduation. Graduates take the exam that provides a license as a RN, the NCLEX-RN, and they may then begin working in hospitals, clinics, health care centers, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Students must first complete classes as pre-associate degree nursing majors. Since the program is selective, being admitted to the university does not guarantee admission into the nursing program. Applicants must meet the proficiency requirements of the university in English, reading, and math. They must also meet the pre-college curriculum requirements and have a high school or college grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Additionally, applicants must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 in their prerequisite courses at the university.

Students are admitted to the ASN program in both the fall and spring semesters. Applicants must have completed all of the prerequisites, including the completion of a healthcare cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course. They must have a background check and purchase professional liability insurance through the university and must have all of the required immunizations. Also, students are strongly encouraged not to work more than 20 hours per week during the semesters when then are completing their clinical experience.

Baccalaureate Programs

EKU offers three ways for students to complete their baccalaureate degree. Each of these is discussed below.

Traditional 4-Year Nursing Program

The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that can be completed in four years of eight semesters. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as a professional nurse. They are also ready to work in a variety of healthcare settings or to continue their education by completing a master’s degree in advanced nursing. The BSN program focuses on evidence-based nursing practice that combines the best research with clinical expertise and patient values to produce excellent nursing care for patients of all ages. Besides learning the nursing process and research skills, students also learn informatics and healthcare technology, the use of electronic systems to gather, monitor, and analyze data related to patient care.

Communication is an important part of the BSN program so the nursing student learns interpersonal, therapeutic, group, and professional communication skills. Nursing students also develop critical thinking skills that are necessary for skilled nurses, and they learn to collaborate with other members of the patient care team. A baccalaureate degree for nurses provides generalist nursing training so that students are prepared to work with patients in a variety of healthcare environments and with populations in any stage of their lifespan. Baccalaureate nursing students begin their nursing courses in the fourth semester at EKU. Admission to the nursing program is competitive, so an admission scale is used to determine which students are admitted to the program. Admission is based primarily on the student’s grade point average in support courses or their current grade point average.

Second Degree BSN Option (Accelerated BSN Program)

Those who have a baccalaureate degree in another field may apply for the 2nd Degree BSN option. This Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing program is a specially sequenced progression plan that takes 21 months to complete on a full-time basis. Working at an outside job is strongly discouraged during this time since the program is very intense and demanding. Applicants must have a grade point average of at least 2.5 on their undergraduate studies. Admission to the program is limited and competitive, based on the applicant’s entire academic history. There are prerequisite courses that are required before beginning this program, and these may be completed at EKU on either a full-time or part-time basis, or they may be completed at another university. Once the prerequisite courses are completed, 65 credits of nursing courses must be completed, including theory and clinical. Graduates take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed Registered Nurses.

Registered Nurse to BSN Degree (RN to BSN Program)

EKU offers courses to RNs who want to complete their BSN at a variety of Outreach sites, including Corbin, Danville, Manchester, Hazard, Somerset, and Richmond. Required nursing courses are scheduled for evening hours so that RNs can continue to meet their job and family responsibilities. Most general education courses are offered at Extended Campus Sites for the convenience of students as well, and clinical experience is offered near each Outreach site. Candidates apply to the program as a transfer student and may enroll on either a full-time or part-time basis.

The liberal arts courses required for a bachelor’s degree at EKU must be met, totaling 120 credits when combined with nursing core courses. Student may take liberal arts and science courses through Kentucky Educational Television (KET), Kentucky Virtual University courses, extension courses, or correspondence courses. Applicants must have completed an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Diploma in Nursing and have an unrestricted Kentucky license as an RN. A helpful option that allows students to complete the BSN program faster is that after a student finishes all general education requirements, the student may enter a full-time accelerated plan to complete the nursing courses in one year.

Master’s in Nursing (MSN)

The Master of Science (MSN) programs at EKU focus on individuals, families, and communities in rural under-served areas. Admission to the program requires a candidate to first apply to the EKU Graduate School. An application form, transcript of all previous college work, the application fee, and official scores from the GRE or MAT must be submitted. Candidates must also submit three professional references and a narrative of personal and professional career goals. There are three options offered in the MSN programs that are discussed below.

Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner

Students may pursue this specialty while completing their MSN. It is available on a full-time or part-time basis. It takes six semesters to complete the program full-time, and this includes two summer sessions for a total of 48 credits. The part-time option takes eight semesters to complete, including two summer sessions. In this program, students are prepared to care for the medical needs of family members of all ages. The Family Nurse Practitioner provides primary healthcare to those who live in rural areas and who would not ordinarily receive sufficient healthcare. Students must complete an internship and many clinical hours in this program. Graduates of the program take the national exam to gain their license as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Rural Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Graduates from this MSN program are prepared to provide primary healthcare to psychiatric patients in rural areas. They also provide medication for psychiatric disorders and may provide counseling as well. The program is available on either a full-time basis that takes six semesters of 46 credits. Part-time, this program may be completed in nine semesters of 46 credits. An internship plus clinical experience hours are required for this program. Graduates become licensed by taking the national exam for Nurse Practitioners.

Advanced Rural Public Health Nursing with an Area of Concentration in Administration or Nursing Education

This MSN program may also be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis. The full-time option takes five semesters to complete 44 credits. Students choose from either Nursing Education or Administration specialty courses for their concentration and must also complete the MSN courses that are shared by these two concentrations. On a part-time basis, students may complete this program in seven semesters. Certification exams are required at the completion of the program for RNs to be certified in these specialties.

Post-MSN Certificate

These programs lead to a certificate for RNs who complete the required courses in the program. It is designed for nurses who have already completed a MSN. Four specialty areas are offered for those who want to pursue an advanced nursing certificate. Each of these is discussed below. Admission requirement for all of the Post-MSN Certificate programs are that the student must first apply to the EKU Gradate School. GRE or MAT scores plus transcripts from all previous college work must be submitted with a Graduate School Application Form and the application fee. Candidates for any certificate program must also submit a narrative statement to both the Graduate School and the Department of Baccalaureate & Graduate Nursing.

Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Students in this program must complete the prerequisite courses that total nine credits plus the core courses for Family Nurse Practitioner that total 24 credits. The program may be completed in six semesters, including two summer sessions. Clinical hours an internship are built into the program. When the RN has completed the advanced nursing program, licensure is granted by passing the national exam for Family Nurse Practitioners. This nursing professional provides primary medical care for family members of all ages.

Rural Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner Certificate

Graduates of this advanced nursing program are prepared to provide primary care to psychiatric patients, including psychiatric medications. The national exam taken at the completion of the program enables the RN to practice in this capacity. Twenty-two credits must be completed, and this includes an internship and clinical hours. It takes six semesters to complete the coursework and clinical work required for this certificate, including two summer sessions.

Advanced Rural Public Health Nursing Certificate

Students in this program specialize in epidemiology and risk management in the rural healthcare environment. They need to complete 19 credits that require five semesters, including two summer sessions.

Nursing Education Certificate

Twelve credits are required to complete this program that takes three semesters, including one summer semester to complete. Graduates of the program are prepared to teach nursing students in many different capacities and to facilitate staff development and patient education. An exam is taken at the end of the program for certification in Nursing Education.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

This doctoral program required from 36 to 39 credits to complete. Organizational leadership is the focus of coursework and clinical experiences. Admission to the program is competitive and limited to the space available. Applicants must have a Kentucky RN license or one from a compact state, a MSN, and a graduate grade point average of at least 3.0. Both full-time and part-time options are available for this program. Applicants to the doctoral nursing program at EKU must first apply to the EKU Graduate School and then to the nursing department. An application plus the application fee and transcripts of all college work must be submitted. Applicants must also supply an essay explaining their professional goals to both the Graduate School and to the doctoral nursing program. Three professional references are also required and a resume or curriculum vitae.

Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Avenue,
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-1418

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