University of Kansas Nursing School Review

The University of Kansas (KU) is a flagship university in the state of Kansas that started operations in 1866. The school operates through a multi-campus system that is evident through its teaching facilities that are located in Lawrence, Kansas, Salina, Wichita, Overland Park and Kansas City. KU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

It has received various distinctions over the years making it a reputable institution for higher education. Recently, the U.S. News and World Report, ranked 28 of its 40 nationally ranked programs among the top 30 public schools. The average ACT composite score for entering freshman is 24.7 which is the highest among Kansas regent schools.

At KU, nursing students will be participating in a leading and advanced nursing program. Its graduate program was among the 28 top ranked programs by the U.S. News and World Report and continues to attract the most ambitious and competitive students. Undergraduate students will also find programs that allow them to build on the knowledge they have or acquire new knowledge depending on the nursing program they are enrolled in. The following programs are offered at the school:

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Students that enroll in this program will take liberal arts and science pre-requisite courses as well as nursing courses. The entire program consists of 124 credits with half focused on liberal arts and the other half on nursing courses. The admission committee considers college scholastic achievement, student interest in nursing, extracurricular activities and reference as some of the admission requirements that students must meet to gain entry into the program. Students must demonstrate that they have a mature and professional posture to remain in the BSN program. After successful completion, they can gain meaningful employment in some of the nation’s leading hospitals and clinics such as: Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Kansas; KU Hospital in Kansas City and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota among others.

Transfer students are encouraged to get the necessary information about transfer equivalency prior to sending in their applications. Admission is competitive and only students that have the 62 semester hours of credit with a minimum GPA of 2.5 are considered for admission. However, this still does not guarantee that they will be admitted into the course.

Some of the pre-requisite courses include: Speech or Communication, General Sociology, College Biology with lab and Anatomy with lab.

Online RN to BSN/MS Program

The online RN to BSN/MS Program is open to registered nurses that want a flexible program to complete their BSN. It can be completed on a full-time basis or part-time depending on the student’s obligations and objectives. Those that choose the former can have their degree after one year, whereas those that opt for the latter can achieve this after five years. Students must complete 60 semester credits of prerequisites which consist of General Sociology, College Algebra, Child or Human Development, General Microbiology with Lab and Statistics just to name a few.  All applicants must have a current RN license and health-related work/ volunteer experiences to be considered for admission. Additionally, they must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 if they wish to enter the RN to BSN program. Applicants to the RN to MS pathway must have a GPA of 3.0.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

There are numerous specialties that students can take to channel their energies in one specific area in the nursing field. The MSN program builds on the foundation courses that students have to prepare them to undertake more responsibilities in different clinical settings. The specialties open to students include: 

1) Clinical Research Management: Students must complete 41 semester credit hours to gain the competencies that are taught in this program. The content of the course is transmitted both online and onsite. During the program, students are taught Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards at entry to mid-level clinical management positions and higher. These concepts are targeted towards novice or advanced beginner managers, and advanced practice clinicians that want to develop their skills around conducting clinical trials, ethical issue, project program case management, fiscal operations, organizational behavior and many others. The clinical research specialty courses include: Managing Clinical Research Projects, Post-study activities, During-study activities and Pre-study activities.

2) Nursing Informatics: This course prepares students to undertake entry and mid-level positions to design, implement and evaluate information systems that fuel the health care sector. During the program, they will be trained in areas related to project management and organizational change. They will acquire the necessary skills that enable them to work with IT departments or any other health-related department that revolve around computer operations for the heath sector. The course is divided into three main cores, which are: Common Core, Leadership Core, and Nursing Informatics Specialty Track. In the Common Core students are taught Health care Research, Health care Professionalism: Issues and Roles, Health care Research and Theories for Practice and Research: Individual, Family, and Community. The entire program is comprised of 37 credits.

3) Nurse-Midwifery Education Program: This program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.  KU boasts a 94.2% graduation rate since the program began and 91% pass rates for the AMCB certification. The program was established in 1999 and since then has provided highly qualified staff to health departments, hospital-based midwifery practices, military hospitals and many others. The program is comprised of three cores which are: General Graduate Core, Advanced Practice Core and Nurse-Midwifery Specialty Core. Throughout the program students are taught all the essentials about the women’s primary and reproductive health care needs.

Only students that are licensed as registered nurses according to the standards established by the USA and its territories can apply to the program. They must present proof of current, active nursing licensure in Missouri and Kansas. Applicants must also present a GPA of B or better for the bachelor course they completed prior to entering the program.

4) Nurse Practitioner: This course is built on a theoretical base with the possibility of selecting the following specialties:

a) Family Nurse Practitioner: Students can complete this program on a full-time or part-time basis. The program builds on the knowledge gained at the baccalaureate level and integrates advanced practice nurse courses in the learning process. All students must complete the three components that are part of the program:  Common Core segment, the Advanced Practice Core segment, and the Primary Care Specialty Core segment. The latter includes theory, clinical practice and preceptorship experience. Special requirements are in place for students enrolled on a full-time basis regarding the types of courses that should be completed prior to enrolling in the Advanced Health Assessment.

b) Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: This course is comprised of three cores which include: Common Core, Advanced Practice Core and Psych/Mental Health Specialty Core. All 49 credits within the program must be completed to be considered for graduation. During the program, students gain advanced knowledge that enables them to assess psychiatric disorders and implement relevant health care for different types of patients. This includes short-term psychotherapy and chronic mental illness.

c) Clinical Nurse Specialist: This is a theoretical major that also includes clinical practice that allows students to gain hands-on experience in many health related areas. Students that opt for this area will be able to choose between these two tracks:

– Adult / Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist track. This program prepares students to focus on health related areas with emphasis being placed on project development activities, patient education, quality improvement and interdisciplinary coordination. There are three components in this course, namely: Common Core segment, the Advanced Practice Core segment and the Adult/Gerontological Specialty Core segment.

– Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner track: Focus on adult heath in primary health care is the cornerstone of this course. Throughout the program students are exposed to the common and acute health care issues. Both the Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner track and the Adult / Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist track build on the foundation of the bachelor’s courses that were taken prior to applying for more advanced studies.

5) Nurse Anesthesia Program: This is a 36-month program that is open to registered nurses that want to acquire in-depth knowledge to undertake roles as a nurse anesthesia. It is offered through the KU School of Health Professions. Graduates receive a Master of Science degree after they complete the program. The course is built on both academic and clinical components with the latter being possible through institutions such as: the University of Kansas Hospital; Hastings Indian Medical Center, Tahlequah, Oklahoma and Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

Throughout the program, students are taught the current anesthetic techniques and will be able to professional execute their roles in any clinical setting to a wide variety of patients. The program is conducted at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City.  KU was granted full accreditation by COA for its Nurse Anesthesia Program until spring 2020. Plans are in place to change the Nurse Anesthesia program to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree if the move is approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (COA).

6) Organizational Leadership: Students that want to step away from traditional nursing roles and act in leadership areas will benefit from the content delivered in this course. Graduates can work in entry to mid-level clinical leadership. They will also have the necessary skills to undertake management positions with possibility to be promoted to executive level positions in different health care settings. The program encompasses three core areas which are: Common Core, Leadership Core Major and Organizational Leadership Specialty Track. The entire core consists of 37 semester credits. During the program, students also acquire skills related to clinical operations and system design, organizational behavior, project management among others.

– MS/MHSA joint degree program: This is a joint degree program that allows students to gain a Master of Science in Nursing (organizational leadership track) and Health Services Administration. The program consists of 60 credit hours and it is possible to combine courses that allow students to finish both degrees as a faster pace.

7) Public Health Nursing: This course is built on three main cores that include: Common Core, Leadership Core and Public Health Specialty Track. Students acquire the necessary knowledge and training to undertake roles that involve a large population instead of a single individual. During the program, students are exposed to advance community-based interventions and outcomes measurement that allow then to gain meaningful employment in state and county health departments, community-based clinical and advocacy agencies among many others. The course places emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention for a specific targeted group.

Master of Science in Public Health Nursing and Master of Public Health: This is a joint degree program that prepares community/public health advanced practice nurse (C/PHAPN) to undertake roles in the local and international community. After graduation they can work administrative and clinical roles being influential in many health care setting.

PhD program

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

This is an advanced nursing program that prepares students to undertake roles that revolve around complex health care issues. Students that graduate from the program can confidently embrace various leadership roles in many health care settings. They will be able to provide patient-centered care that is evidence based with the cutting-edge experience that they gain from the course.

Online Ph.D. Program

This online program allows students to complete the content of each course through courses of instruction. Students that dedicate the necessary time can to take the course on a full-time basis are able to complete the program in four years. During the program students develop relevant skills that enable them to apply research methods in biological, social and nursing sciences. After graduation they are fully prepared to undertake leadership positions in the nursing profession.

Post BSN DNP Program

Students have the option to choose between a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a DNP degree in this program. Those that choose to earn the MSN in the DNP program will need to complete an oral exam and research project. They entire Post BSN DNP program is divided into two components which each providing the essential building blocks to unlock vitals skills necessary for advanced nursing practice.

Only applicants that complete a BSN from an accredited institution will be considered for the program. They must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and national certification in the appropriate areas.

Post MS DNP Program

Students interested in the Post MS DNP Program will have the option to choose between the Advanced Practice Major and the Leadership Major. Applicants to the former must have academic exposure as a   Nurse Midwife, Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Practitioner. Those that opt for the latter must demonstrate knowledge in Healthcare Informatics, Clinical Research Management, Nursing Leadership (Administration) and Public Health.

Applicants must have completed a masters degree at an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Post-Masters Certificate Program

The Post-Masters Certificate Program is only for masters students that have completed an Advanced Practice Core course. The program is established through the partnership between University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Nursing and Wichita State University (WSU). Applicants must have a current unrestricted nursing licensure in both Kansas and Missouri to be admitted into the program. In addition to the Advanced Practice Core course mentioned above, students must also complete the following courses or their equivalents prior to submitting their applications: Applied Drug Therapy, Advanced Pathophysiology, Health Promotion and Complementary Therapeutics and Advanced Health Assessment. The different certificate programs include:

a) Clinical Research Management Certificate: This is a 12-credit course and students do not have to complete the Leadership Core prerequisite. The program is open to applicants that are interested in clinical research leadership at the advanced level. Students gain the necessary knowledge and expertise to undertake research geared at ethical issues, clinical trials and institutional review boards and regulation. They will be taught all the essentials of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards in this certificate program.

b) Health Professions Educator Certificate: This is a web-based program that prepares student to be nurse educators at various levels. The four programs in the program comprise the 12 credit hours that are necessary to earn the certificate as a nurse educator. These courses include: Designing a Student Learning Environment, Curriculum/Program Planning and Evaluation, Teaching with Technologies and Nurse Educator Preceptorship. Students will complete a final teaching capstone and gain the necessary experience and expertise from the selected mentor for a particular educator course.

Leadership Certificates

c) Organizational Leadership Certificate: Students with a certain academic background are expected to choose one course from the leadership core. The entire course consists of 17 to 18 credits and after successful completion students can occupy management positions and executive level jobs. They are also qualified for mid-level clinical leadership. They will be able to apply their skills in organizational behavior, quality measurement and risk management, project management and many other areas.

d) Nursing Informatics Certificate: This is an online course that is comprised of 17-18 credit hours. Students that have an academic background in Healthcare Informatics, Public Health Nursing and Organizational Leadership can choose one course in the Leadership Core that is offered by the school. During the program, students will acquire the necessary skills that adequately prepare them to undertake design, analysis and implementation roles in IT departments and advanced clinical departments.

e) Public Health Nursing Certificate: Students interested in tapping into knowledge that allows them to work with a diverse population and propose health solutions for them will find this program directed to their needs. The content of the program prepares them to work in advanced community based interventions with focus on specialized client populations. They will also learn the necessary steps that should be taken to promote health and disease prevention strategies.

Advanced Practice Clinical Post-Master’s Certificates

f) Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate: This is an online program that is offered every other year to students. Only students that have earned a master’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution and completed the KU Advanced Practice prerequisite courses will be considered for admission. These courses consist of Health Promotion, Advanced Health Assessment & Physical Diagnosis, Advanced Pathophysiology and Applied Drug Therapy. The school considers equivalent courses that were completed at another institution. The entire program is offered through the spring, fall and summer. Students must complete all 20 credits to earn the certificate. During the program they are trained to deliver psychiatric care and diagnose and treat common mental health conditions.

g) Nurse Midwife Certificate: This course consists of 19 credit hours which comprises eight courses. During the program great focus is placed on woman’s health and students are taught the importance of respecting individual and cultural variations. They must complete the KU Advanced Practice Core to be accepted into the program or demonstrate academic knowledge in their equivalents.

h) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Certificate: This course consists of 15 credit hours that prepare students to undertake roles in primary health care for different types of patients. The program in built on theory, practice-focused clinical and preceptorship experience. The school is currently not accepting applications for this program.

i) Adult / Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist Certificate: This is a 15-hour credit program that hones students’ skills to attend to a diverse adult population. They are trained to identify primary, acute and chronic needs and develop solutions to fulfill them.  There are three courses in the program and after successful completion students are able to engage in project development activities, interdisciplinary coordination and quality improvement.

j) Adult / Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certificate: This is a 15-hour credit program that is open to students that have a MSN and that have successfully completed the Advanced Practice prerequisite courses. After successful completion, they are able to assess and manage different types of heath care conditions on a diverse population.

Research Clinical Trial Coordinator

This is an 18-month course that is covered through 3 courses. The program consists of 129-hours of Clinical Trial Coordinator coursework. There are also 60 additional hours of practicum. Applications to this program are accepted once yearly. In addition to this, they must have a have academic qualification and be from health care related fields.  

BSN to PhD Program

Students interested in a research oriented professional can apply to this course. Applications are welcome when students finish their baccalaureate degree. Only those with outstanding performance in the baccalaureate program are considered for admission. The course guarantees rapid progression towards the doctorate degree in nursing.

The program is also open to those that have a masters degree in nursing. Applicants that are in this category must have a GPA of 3.25, whereas those applying to the BSN/PHD program must have  a GPA of 3.5.

University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045

[wpgmza id=”425″]