Northwestern State University of Louisiana Nursing School Review
Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) is located in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It is a four-year public university that has a nursing campus in Shreveport. There are also general campuses in Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria. NSU is part of the University of Louisiana System. It was established in 1884 as a normal school for teacher training. NSU was the first college in the state with a degree program in nursing. Over 9,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at the University.
The College of Nursing and Allied Health at Northwestern State University consolidated its clinical campuses to Shreveport. Students may earn an associate degree in nursing or a Master’s of Science in Nursing at this campus. The Alexandria campus of NSU offers the RN to BSN and master’s programs. Learning sites have also been established through compressed video technology at Bunkie, Ferriday, Leesville, and Winnfield. Students may complete the RN to BSN program online.
Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
NSU offers the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program to prepare students for careers in professional nursing as a Registered Nurse (RN). Graduates of the program are able to work in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities, in the community, and in many other places in the community. After passing the national exam for licensure, the NCLEX-RN, graduates may apply for their RN license. Students are also prepared to move forward in their education by completing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The ASN program combines liberal arts and science courses with nursing courses and clinical experience. Although it is possible to complete the program in two years, it is recommended that students first complete the required academic courses.
Students who are interested in the ASN program must first apply to the University and submit their official transcripts to the Office of the Registrar at the Natchitoches campus. A grade point average of at least 2.0 is required, and students must maintain at least a C in biology, chemistry, math, and all nursing courses. The first three semesters of the curriculum must be completed before applying to the nursing program. A grade point average of 2.7 in general academic courses must be earned. Applicants must also take the nursing entrance exams. Once the prerequisites have been completed, students must submit their Application to Enroll in Clinical Nursing Courses to the Office of the ASN Program Director or to the BSN Program Director by certified mail. Completion of the criteria for admission does not guarantee that a student will be admitted to the program. The nursing program enrolls students twice each year.
LPN to ASN
Northwestern State University of Louisiana also offers a LPN to ASN program. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) may apply to the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program to study for a career as a Registered Nurse (RN). Acceptance into the ASN program is selective for LPNs, as well as for new students who have never attended college. Candidates must apply to the college by submitting an application with official college transcripts to Natchitoches Registrar’s Office. A grade point of at least 2.0 is required on all previous college work. It is also necessary to meet with an academic advisor who will help the candidate make a schedule of the prerequisite general academic courses that must be taken before beginning the ASBN program. Students must receive at least a C in biology, math, chemistry, and nursing courses, and they must have a grade point average of at least 2.7 on their general academic courses for the associate degree. An Application to Enroll in Nursing Courses Form must also be submitted.
The University’s LPN Articulation Program allows LPNs to complete the ASN program in two years. If they pass Nursing 1060, a bridge course, they receive credit for four nursing classes. This allows time to take other liberal arts and science courses that are required for the associate degree. Twenty-three nursing credits must be earned, as well as 37 credits of non-nursing courses. Clinical experience is completed at nearby healthcare facilities and at the completion of the program they take the national exam to obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN).
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is offered at Northwestern State University of Louisiana as well. Students interested in a professional nursing degree who want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree may apply to this four-year program. Having a bachelor’s degree in nursing has many advantages. Graduates with this credential are in demand for government and community jobs and many others as hospitals and other healthcare facilities demand nurses with this background. Graduates may also continue their education by completing a master’s degree to move into a career as an advanced care RN. Graduates of the BSN program take the NCLEX-RN, the national exam that leads to licensure as a RN.
The first step for entering this nursing program is to enroll at NSU. Even if a student is accepted and completes all of the prerequisites, it does not guarantee admission to the nursing program. Students must send their application and official transcripts to the Office of the Registrar on the Natchitoches Campus. They must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 in previous academic work with a minimum grade of C in biology, chemistry, math, and nursing courses. Another requirement is to complete the first three semesters of the curriculum and to maintain a grade point average of 2.7 or better.
Students must meet with a nursing advisor to ensure that all requirements have been met. A nursing entrance test is also required. At this point, they must submit their Application to Enroll in Clinical Nursing Courses to the BSN Program Director by certified mail. Once a student is accepted into the program, the remainder of the curriculum focuses mainly on nursing courses and clinical experience. Students must earn a total of 63 nursing credits and 57 non-nursing credits for a total of 120 credits that are required for graduation.
RN to BSN Degree Program
The University offers a RN-BSN program that is an Articulation Program for Registered Nurses (RNs) who want to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. A nursing advisor helps the student design an individualized plan for learning that will help the student attain the BSN in the fastest way possible. Students first complete courses that are required to meet the general education requirements of the University, and they then complete upper level nursing courses and clinical experience. Students have a chance to earn credit for 31 hours of nursing courses.
There are two ways that students can complete this BSN program. One choice is an online option in which students do not need to attend any classes on campus. The clinical requirements may be met in the student’s home area. The other option is a traditional classroom setting at the NSU Alexandria campus. Classes are offered one day each week in the daytime. Students are either awarded credit for previously completed lower level nursing courses, or they must pass a comprehensive exam for this purpose, depending if the program that they completed was accredited by the National League of Nursing. Admission requirements to the BSN program include having a current RN license and liability insurance.
LPN to BSN Degree Program
Another program offered at the University is the LPN-BSN program. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) may enter the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the University if they meet the admission requirements. They must be licensed as an LPN and have worked full-time for at least one year. Candidates must also complete the first three semesters of the curriculum with a minimum grade point average of 2.7. The TEAS nursing entrance exam must also be taken and passed. To receive credit for previous experience and courses taken in their LPN program, nurses may be awarded up to 13 hours after they pass six nursing courses and score a minimum level on the Fundamentals Test. At the completion of the program, the student takes the NCLEX-RN national exam for certification as a Registered Nurse.
Master of Science in Nursing
The Shreveport campus of NSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program to prepare RNs for a career in advanced nursing roles. They may decide on the concentration that they want to pursue, such as nurse educator, nurse practitioner, and others. Candidates for the MSN program must meet with an academic advisor in the program. They also need to apply to the NSU graduate school and register for the orientation during their first semester. Additional advising is provided at this time. Program requirements are to complete at least 39 credits and to choose a functional role area that will be the focus of the program. Some concentrations require more credits, such as the Nurse Practitioner program that takes 42 credits and additional clinical hours. MSN programs may be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis. The programs except for Nurse Practitioner may be completed in three semesters and a summer session when attending full-time. Nurse Practitioner students are required to complete four semesters plus a summer session.
Admission requirements are that candidates for the MSN program must first apply to the Graduate School at NSU. It is important to know that admission to the graduate school does not guarantee admission to any particular MSN concentration. Applicants must have a MSN and submit official transcripts. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required with a minimum score of 290 for regular admission. Applicants must have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 and at least six months of clinical experience. Some concentrations require more experience than this. Also, two letters of recommendation are required, and an applicant must be currently licensed as a RN.
Post-graduate students who have already completed a MSN may be admitted to the Acute Care, Family, Neonatal, Pediatric, or Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner concentrations. They must meet the same requirements for admission that all students must meet. They must also have completed prerequisite courses that are required for the program. Each concentration is explained below.
The Adult Nursing MSN concentration offers three functional areas that students may choose from. These are teaching, leadership, and clinical nurse specialist. Students take the MSN core courses plus three to four clinical courses and the electives that are needed for their functional role. Graduates of this program are trained to work as nurse educators, teaching undergraduate nursing students, or as leaders in clinical settings. The program takes 39 credits or more, and students must complete a thesis, research problem, or professional paper instead of the thesis.
Critical Care Nursing of the Adult
The Critical Care Nursing of the Adult MSN program offers three functional areas, which are teaching, leadership, and clinical nurse specialists. Students take three to four clinical courses and electives related to their functional role plus the MSN core courses. The program prepares students to teach undergraduates, to become leaders in clinical settings, or to care for patients in critical care settings. Thirty-nine credits or more are required for completion of the program. Before graduation, students are required to complete a thesis, research problem, or professional paper in lieu of thesis.
Maternal Child Nursing
The Maternal Child Nursing MSN program has two functional areas of teaching and leadership. Graduates of the program are prepared to teach undergraduate nursing students or to become leaders in patient care. They may also work as clinical nurse specialists. Thirty-nine credits are required, and a thesis, research problem, or professional paper may be completed in lieu of thesis.
Family Nurse Practitioner
The Family Nurse Practitioner MSN program requires students to take the MSN core courses, four clinical courses, clinical practicums, role courses, and others. These include an advanced assessment course, Pharmacotherapeutics, and Family Dynamics. A total of 42 credits are required for this degree. Graduates apply for the American Nurses Credentialing Commission Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam. Graduates are able to work in primary care settings to care for patients of all ages. Students must complete a thesis, research problem, or professional paper in lieu of thesis.
Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
MSN students who choose the Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program as their focus must complete all of the core courses plus four clinical course, clinical practicums, role courses and an advanced assessment course. Pharmacotherapeutics and Family Dynamics must also be completed. A total of 42 credits are necessary to complete the program. The graduate may then apply for the National Certification Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner certification exam. Graduates must complete a thesis, research problem, or professional paper in lieu of thesis. They are able to work with children of all ages, providing primary care for them.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
RNs who enter the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner MSN program take the core courses, four clinical courses, clinical practicums, and role courses. They also take an advanced assessment course and Pharmacotherapeutics and Family Dynamics. Forty-two credits are required for the MSN degree. At the time of graduation, students take the NCC Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner certification exam. They are then able to work in primary care settings with women of all ages. A thesis, research problem, or professional paper is required in lieu of thesis for this program.
Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Students who choose the Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner concentration for their MSN work must complete 42 credits. The MSN core courses, four clinical courses, clinical practicums, and role courses are required. An advanced assessment course, Pharmacotherapeutics and Family Dynamics are also required. A thesis, research problem, or professional paper in lieu of thesis is required. Graduates of the program take the ANCC Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certification exam, and they are then able to work in acute care settings to care for adults of all ages.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
NSU offers the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program for RNs who want to pursue the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner sequence. All of the MSN core courses, four clinical courses, clinical practicums, role courses, and others are required for this program. Students also take an advanced assessment course, Pharmacotherapeutics, and Family Dynamics. A total of 42 credits are required, plus a thesis, research problem, or professional paper in lieu of thesis. Graduates take the exam for certification and are then able to work in acute care settings with newborns and infants. A thesis, research problem, or professional paper is required.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
735 University Parkway,
Natchitoches, LA 71457