University of St. Francis Nursing School Review

Founded in 1920, the University of Saint Francis (USF) is a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition. The university is located just less than 40 miles from Chicago in Joliet. Over 3,000 students are enrolled on Joliet’s 24 acre campus in undergraduate and graduate programs. Students can choose from undergraduate and graduate programs delivered through four colleges-business and health administration, education, nursing and arts and science.

Areas of study include nursing, mathematics, political science, radiology, pre-med programs (including dentistry, medical, and veterinary among others) and liberal studies. The University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university also has a campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Nursing Programs

The College of Nursing at the University of St. Francis has a focus on creating highly competent, caring nurses. The program uses modern equipment and offers each student individualized attention to ensure that they succeed. Several scholarship opportunities are available for nurses including an opportunity specifically for nurse educators. Nursing programs at the University of St. Francis are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

University of St. Francis Undergraduate Nursing Programs

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing-Traditional)

The BSN program at the University of St. Francis is a 2 year upper division program, which admits nurses upon completion of general education and nursing course pre-requisites. Upon completion of the program which trains students to provide care throughout the lifespan in a variety of settings, students will earn a BSN and are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, national certification exam for Registered Nurses (RNs). Admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 GPA and a “C” or better in all course pre-requisites. Students in the St. Francis University BSN program have a pass rate above the national average on the NCLEX-RN exam. The nursing program curriculum prepares students for work in a variety of healthcare sites including mental health, managed care, hospitals, home health care, hospice, and public health settings.

RN-BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) Fast Track Program

The RN-BSN Fast Track Program provides nurses with the training necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program is delivered online and requires 124 credits total to earn the BSN qualification. Admission requirements include a valid RN license and at least two employment references. The RN-BSN program is open to nurses with an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) or nursing diploma.

RN-BSN Fast Track Bridge Program with Joliet Junior College

Students who earn an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) in Nursing at Joliet Junior College are eligible to transfer to the University of St. Francis based on an agreement between the two nursing programs. Upon completion of the ADN program, students may pursue part-time work while completing classes for the BSN. All BSN courses are delivered online. The program may be completed in 2 years.

University of St. Francis Graduate Nursing Programs

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The MSN program prepares nurses to take a leadership role in nursing upon completion of the nursing program. Students are eligible to specialize in the following tracks:

MSN Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

MSN Nurse Administration

MSN Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP)

The MSN nursing program is completed in 3 years on a part-time basis. The MSN ANP specialization is taken in an online format. Students may complete a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization on the Albuquerque, New Mexico campus. The MSN nursing program is designed with very few course meetings and a few courses taken at a time. The MSN program is 44-46 credit hours.

RN-MSN (Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing)

The RN-MSN program is for RNs with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. Admission requirements to the program include a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA or higher as an undergraduate. Upon completion of the master’s program, nurses can apply for certification in their area of nursing specialization and also make the necessary application to become an advanced practice nurse.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP program at the University of St. Francis prepares Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to deliver the highest level of care in all healthcare settings and with all individuals. The program is delivered online. An optional Nursing Education specialization will prepare DNPs who desire to teach in nursing education programs. Admission requirements to the DNP nursing program include a minimum 3.0 GPA and an MSN qualification.

University of St. Francis Nursing Certificate Programs

Teaching in Nursing Certificate

The Teaching in Nursing Certificate prepares bachelor’s degreed nurses to teach in a healthcare setting, and MSN nurse to become instructors in nursing education programs. In addition to learning about curriculum development and pedagogy for nursing education programs, students will also learn how to use technology in the classroom. Students in the MSN program may apply these credits to the master’s nursing program. The program consists of 9 academic credits and is composed of 3 courses including a practicum.

Post-Master’s Certificate

Nurses may specialize their degree with a post-master’s certificate. Post-master’s certificates in nursing are available in the following specializations:

Adult Nurse Practitioner

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

All post-master’s nursing certificate programs require 4 core classes (22 credits total), a 28 credit core, and optional classes such as Advanced Gerontological Nursing Practice and Advanced Women’s Health Nursing Practice, which would prepare the nurse to work with specialized populations.

Programs and Resources for Nursing Students at the University of St. Francis

Nursing students enrolled in the College of Nursing at the University of St. Francis may become involved in the nursing honor society or Student Nurses Association (SNA) at the University of St. Francis. The SNA assists students with understanding the nursing profession and professional organizations that can help them. Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society is a source of honor and recognition for students who demonstrate innovation and academic success in their nursing program. Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for the nursing honor society including an above average GPA (3.0-3.5) and completion of nursing course credits.

University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street
Joliet, Illinois 60435

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