Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University’s 100% Online RN to BSN Degree

100% Online RN to BSN Degree

Presented Live: Thursday, September 21, 2017


Join Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (formerly Our Lady of the Lake College) for this live information session about the 100% Online RN to BSN degree completion program. Hear from our guest speakers Dr. Amy Hall, Dean of School of Nursing, who will give an overview of the university and the streamlined 12-month RN to BSN program, accompanied by Program Director Dr. Francine Thomas, who will discuss the impact of ethics-based leadership and importance of evidence-based practice and patient advocacy in nursing practice.

Featuring Guest Panelists:

  • Dr. Amy Hall, Dean of the School of Nursing at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
  • Dr. Francine Thomas, Online RN to BSN Program Director at FranU
  • Amy Skelton, Student Success Advisor at FranU
  • Samuel Cueller, Enrollment Advisor at FranU
Read the Full Transcript

00:12 Ligia Popescu: Hello, everyone. And thanks for joining us today. Welcome to our 100% Online RN to BSN Degree Completion Program Information Session presented by the School of Nursing at Our Lady of the Lake College Online. Thanks for taking time out of your day to join us. My name is Ligia Popescu, and I'll be your host today. Before we begin, I'd like to remind you to refresh your browsers then turn up the volume to hear the audio. If you're having technical difficulties or have a question for our panelist today, please type them into the Q&A box.




01:04 Ligia Popescu: So, here's a look at what we'll be covering during our presentation. First, we'll hear from Dr. Amy Hall, Dean of the School of Nursing, who will share a little bit about her background and give us an overview of Our Lady of the Lake College and the School of Nursing then Dr. Francine Thomas, the online RN to BSN Program Director, will share a little bit about her background, provide an overview of the program and talk about what you can expect as a student in the program and a graduate of the program.


01:35 Ligia Popescu: Student Success Advisor Amy Skelton will then talk about the supported online learning environment and what that means for you, followed by Enrollment Advisor Samuel Cueller who will review the program requirements for admission, talk about the admissions process and review some important dates and deadlines to keep in mind. And with the live Q&A session where you will be able to ask questions directly to our panelist. So please if you have a question, do not hesitate to enter in the Q&A box and we'll try to get to as many of them as time allow. Now let's begin. Our first panelist, Dr. Amy Hall, brings nearly 30 years of nursing and education experience in her role as Dean of the School of Nursing. Dr. Hall, thank you so much for being with us today. Will you share a little bit about your background with our audience?


02:30 Dr. Amy Hall: Sure, thank you, Ligia. I am originally from Peoria, Illinois, which is right smack-dab in the middle of Illinois. And I went to school for my bachelor's degree at St. Louis University in St. Louis. I then returned to Peoria and started working as a telemetry nurse at a level 3 trauma center. And I got my master's degree in nursing at the University of Illinois while I was working there. I knew I wanted to teach right away so I went back and got my PhD in nursing and graduated back at St. Louis U in 2000. I've been teaching for the majority of my career, but I've also maintained clinical practice in a variety of areas including diabetes education, neuro step down units, the telemetry units, oncology. You name it. That med surg unit, I've probably worked on it. In addition to being the Dean of Nursing now, I write some textbooks, some you may have used as you were growing up in your nursing careers. And I also am a disaster nurse for the Red Cross. And I do a lot of work for our accreditation commission. Ligia, it's back to you.


03:46 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Hall. So, our next panelist, Program Director Dr. Francine Thomas. She brings a wealth of experience in nursing and teaching to the program. Dr. Thomas, thank you for being with us today. Would you share a little bit about your background with our audience?


04:03 Dr. Francine Thomas: Yes. Hi, I'm Dr. Francine Thomas, I'm the Director of the RN to BSN Program here at Franciscan University, short Fran U. I've been at Fran U since about 2006, and I came here and I started in RN to BSN Program. Previously, I worked at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and I taught there for 13 years. I've been in various leadership roles since I've been here in Baton Rouge and in this college, and I've also taught in their traditional nursing program. Educationally, I started and completed Charity Hospital School of Nursing's Diploma Program in 1980, and I worked on a baby step down unit and MICU Unit at Charity Hospital for many years.


04:54 Dr. Francine Thomas: I then returned to get my BSN degree from William Care College while I was working at Charity Hospital. And I became interested in teaching a little later when students used to come on my unit and I love having students. So, one of the instructors said, "You ought to teach too." And that was the beginning of my teaching career. I began adjunct faculty at LSU Health Sciences Center and then went back to get my master's degree from LSU Medical Center at that time. And I decided to go on and get my terminal degree, and I got that in education at the University of New Orleans in 2009. I've been a nurse for 37 years and I have a wide variety of experiences in practically everything in nursing. But my major expertise lies in critical care leadership and RN to BSN education. Thanks.


05:46 Ligia Popescu: Excellent. So, I'd like to turn it over now to Dr. Thomas. Oh, sorry. Thank you, Dr. Thomas. I'm going to turn it over to Dr. Hall now, who will give us an overview of the university and the School of Nursing but before we proceed, I'd like you if you could quickly just touch upon the name change. I know Dr. Thomas mentioned Franciscan Missionary of Our Lady University, which is the new name of Our Lady of the Lake College but the online program doesn't go live with that name change until later this month so I just wanted you to clarify that for anyone who may be confused with the name.


06:26 Dr. Amy Hall: Sure, I'd be happy to do that. So, as you can see on the slide, our mission is to educate and form Franciscan servant leaders of all faiths. And we are tied to a Franciscan Catholic hospital so that's where we live. We are housed in this great hospital environment. We have been Our Lady of the Lake College for quite some time and what happened over time with the changes in health care and in responding to trends in nursing education and licensure and all of the complexities of health care, we've continued to add programs outside of just nursing. Our college used to have only nursing degrees and now we offer a wide variety of degrees including DBT, a master in nutritional science, and physician assistant, and several other degrees. So as the university has continued to grow, we just started moving from a college to a university. So, it's just been a normal progression of our college's growth and why it's a real dynamic place to come to school and just to really verify that and show that we're really responding to today's health care environment.


07:46 Dr. Amy Hall: So, Our Lady of the Lake College was actually renamed Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University about a year ago in October, but it will not come up with the name change in the online environment until a little bit in September I think at the end of this month in a few weeks. So that's just about the name change. It's still the same college, still the same quality faculty, the same program, we just have brand-new name.


08:18 Ligia Popescu: Thank you.


08:19 Dr. Amy Hall: You're welcome. Shall we go to the next slide?


08:21 Ligia Popescu: Yeah, and let's talk about the School of Nursing.


08:25 Dr. Amy Hall: Yeah, let's do that. The School of Nursing as I mentioned earlier originated as a diploma program in 1923 so our program's been around for a really long time. In 1990, the university realized that we needed to transition to an Associate of Science in Nursing Program, and so that started in 1990. And so, then what happened as time continued to progress, we realized we need to have baccalaureate education. The program grew as the profession of nursing grew really. And so, we now have a Baccalaureate in Nursing, we have a traditional BSN, the RN to BSN which you all are interested in. We also have a master's level SNP program that we're offering and a CRNA nurse and an anesthesia program offered at the DNP level. So, it's a really exciting place to be and I just came here myself in June, have really enjoyed being here and watching the growth and really being a part of this great change in our culture and it's real dynamic in seeing how our program continues to change.


09:39 Ligia Popescu: Thank you so much for sharing that information. Now I'd like to ask Dr. Francine Thomas to talk about the online RN to BSN program.


09:49 Dr. Francine Thomas: Okay, hi again. Our online RN to BSN program I started here in 2006. This was a complete face-to-face program, and everyone had to come to campus, and we gradually started offering parts of courses online and then eventually we decided to get into completely 100% online because we felt we can reach many more students this way. So, our online program, and I'll just give you a quick synopsis, you can finish in about 12 months if you can go full time. All of our courses including the arts and science courses that you're going to need are all online. We accept up to 90 transfer credits, and all of those can be applied to use the tools that you need for graduation. Compared to other private institutions, our tuition is very competitive. We have multiple start dates, two days in the fall, two dates in the spring, and one day in the summer. So, you can actually enter in August and October and January and in March.


11:01 Dr. Francine Thomas: Even though you'll be receiving a bachelor's degree, the curriculum and expectations are a little higher than a generic baccalaureate program because you're RNs already. And we're preparing RNs in this program to become leaders now and to use evidence-based practice now in the delivery of care and we're also preparing you to go to graduate education. There's a lot of our RNs who want to go further and get their master's degrees in either education, nurse practitioners, CRNA, administration and we're preparing you for that in this particular program. As you can see, our RN to BSN goals, we want to provide holistic care, we want you to deliver high-quality care, we want you to take evidence and translate it into safe nursing practice, we want you to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Of course, we want you to function as a leader and we want you to get into health policy. We've got to get more nurses into health policy and we also want to remain ethical in all the things that we do.


12:09 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. Now let's talk a little bit about the curriculum.


12:14 Dr. Francine Thomas: Okay, the curriculum. Generally, you must have an unencumbered RN license. As long as you have a license and it's unencumbered. Unencumbered means there's nothing against it, legally or professionally. You have to have 30 hours of residency at the college, 18 of those hours have to be in nursing. We will accept transfer credits and we will accept cleft credits, and we'll accept about 15 of those cleft credits. The Academic Success Coordinator and me, who I act as the advisor for all of RN to BSN students along with the Academic Success Coordinator, will get with you and provide personalized support for you. We're going to give you 38 credits for your ASN or Diploma Nursing. The BSN courses that you're going to take total about 24 hours of credit. You have to take six hours of upper level arts and science credits in order to get a baccalaureate degree. And as you can see the rest of these courses, the BSN nursing courses we are going to offer evidence-based practice, and that's the new thing for research.


13:23 Dr. Francine Thomas: 'Cause nurses, we do research, but we want to practice according to evidence, health assessment, professional nursing concept, leadership, health care policy, and community. In community, you're going to do a practicum or you're going to do a community assessment and an action plan for a community of your choice. We have three electives to choose from, and you only have to take one of those. And evidence-based practice, which is Nursing 3340, you have to take that course before you take any 4000 level courses because those courses are going to require some research and some digging and going on the web and going to databases in order to complete those assignments. The core curriculum, algebra is required only for those people who are coming here to take statistics. If you transfer statistics in, you don't have to take algebra. Algebra is a prerequisite to statistics here at Fran U. And the two upper level arts and science courses, one of them has to be a religion. Anything else you take if you don't have enough credit, anything else you take, it just has to total those 120 credits for graduation. Anyone have any questions about that?




14:45 Dr. Francine Thomas: Okay.


14:47 Ligia Popescu: I don't see any questions come in.


14:49 Dr. Francine Thomas: No questions come in. Now these are several things we consider we put a special focus on: Leadership competencies, this is very important because a lot of our RNs who are coming back have experience already and they're ready for the leadership role in their institutions. So, our leadership modules we hope are going to expand their decision making in their practice. Also, the modules are very interactive. We have real life scenarios that guides the students through, and we also have professional ethics. We have that embedded throughout all of the courses that we teach.


15:33 Dr. Francine Thomas: One major thing in the leadership course we cover is change theory, and we also cover the dreaded topic of budgeting. That's a big thing with people who are coming into new positions in hospitals and in other areas when they have to tackle the budget, so we specifically included that in these modules in leadership, so they can have a little idea of how to do a budget. The change theory would have to prepare leaders... We have to prepare leaders to become change agents. Change is very difficult, and we would need to prepare them successfully, how to use change, change theory and how to make difficult decisions. This is very important in our leaders today.


16:21 Dr. Francine Thomas: Evidence-based practice, we're going to use evidence-based practice in every course here, so that's why that course is so important because in every course we're going to use current evidence and current knowledge to get through those courses. What do we want to do in these other special focus? Enhancing patient outcome, professional development, and improving nursing practice are the three big things we want the person at the end of this particular program to get out of this. We want to have quality improvement efforts, efforts that positively influence patient outcomes. We have hands-on learning opportunities, the community practicum experience. And we have our curriculum, this is very new, our health policy and analysis. It's a new course and it's amazing how many students and how many RNs are not familiar with health policy, and health policy affects all of us.


17:36 Ligia Popescu: So, what are the benefits of earning a BSN for those RNs out there listening today?


17:46 Dr. Francine Thomas: Well, these are some of the benefits you see on the slide but a lot of our hospitals in this country are magnet status hospitals now, and that means they're hospitals of excellence and because they're hospitals of excellence they require their nurse leaders to hold baccalaureate degree. And soon they're going to be requiring the nurses in those hospitals to hold baccalaureate degrees. If you decide you might want to work at a Veterans Administration Hospital. Veterans requires their nurses, especially in leadership, to have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree. VA hospital, I can say one of the hospitals that will pay you for your BSN degree. Most hospitals, the BSN nurse makes a little bit more than the associate degree nurses and the diploma nurses. But at VA you definitely get paid for your degree.


18:42 Dr. Francine Thomas: Enhanced salary, as you can see this came from with a medium salary for the ADN graduate was about 61,000, the BSN graduates made about 8,000 more with the same level of experience. In order to get an advanced degree, you have to have a BSN. Now we know there are those programs that have RN to MN and RN to this, but a lot of these professional programs like nurse practitioner, a nurse anesthetist requires the BS in itself in between before you can go on and get those particular degrees.


19:22 Dr. Francine Thomas: Other research has shown that... And there's a lot of research out there, I couldn't put it all here on the slide and I can't talk about all of it, but most of the research has shown that having nurses with baccalaureate degree improve outcome, decreases mortality, decreases morbidity, decreases the little bitty problems that patients have in hospitals. That right there is a great reason to come back and get your BSN because we want these people to go home and get well. We don't want them coming back and forth to the hospital. That was another research article that I had that shows decreased re-admission if the patients had nurses who had baccalaureate degrees taking care of them. So those are many reasons why you should come back and earn your BSN.


20:18 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. So, let's talk about what the school values in its student body.


20:27 Dr. Francine Thomas: One thing we value is your experience. We're not going to overlook the fact that you're a nurse already. We're not going to go into anything that you already know. We want to enhance your knowledge and give you something that you don't have already. So, one of the things we have a lot of discussion boards in some of our courses, and the discussion boards allow nurses to talk to other nurses. And the good thing about here, these nurses are from all over the country. And it's amazing what you can learn from those nurses, what's going on at this hospital, what's going on this part of the country, what's going on at that part of the country. The nurses really, really love it because they get to learn from other nurses.


21:10 Dr. Francine Thomas: The real-world learning projects, we try to give our assignments and activities, and we try to focus in on what's going on right now. We also want to meet the dynamic and complex health care environment needs. So, we do everything right now we have to go in sometimes and update what we do because new things are happening, and we want to update our modules and our courses with what's going on right now. And we also value your career goal. Our courses will prepare you for advanced degrees. You have never written as much as you're going to write except in a graduate program as you will in this program. We prepare you so when you go to graduate school, you already know how to research, you know how to write, and you know how to present.


22:02 Ligia Popescu: Okay, thank you. So, can you talk to us about why someone would choose Fran U for this program as opposed to another school?


22:16 Dr. Amy Hall: Sure, I'd be happy to do that. This is Dr. Hall again. One of the reasons that I hear a lot of our students saying why they want to come here, why they enjoy our program so much is because we are very transfer friendly. We transfer in as many courses as we can from the courses that you've taken in other schools and colleges and universities. So, the transfer courses come in, we don't make you repeat a course because it's not the right number. So, for example, the statistics course as long as you have that right statistics course, we're not going to make you repeat it. So, our students do talk about how easy it is to transfer in their credits here.


22:58 Dr. Amy Hall: The other thing is that we really have a highly regarded reputation of excellence. As I mentioned I just started working here this summer and as I was telling people where I was moving to, I can't tell you how many people professionally told me what a great program this is, and what a great faculty we have and what great graduates we have. So, our reputation is not just known locally here in Baton Rouge but it's actually it has a very national reputation. People know who we are, and they recognize the value and the quality of our programs.


23:32 Dr. Amy Hall: One of the things that I'm really excited about is our faculty. They are really phenomenal. I've met most of the RN to BSN faculty already and they are just top-notch. They are mostly doctorally prepared. We do have a couple masters prepared faculty but all of them create very really pointed and targeted learning assignments and learning activities. They lead some great discussions on the discussion boards that really help the students learn and achieve those career goals that they have.


24:05 Dr. Amy Hall: Another really nice benefit is that our program can be completed very quickly so if you can... Depending on how many hours you can take in a semester and how quickly you want to go, you can be done with this program in as little as 12 months, which for a lot of our students is important because a lot of them end up on some kind of a contract with their employer where they have to have their degree completed within a certain time frame. And so as long as you continue to progress, we can help you design a plan that hopefully will get you through as long as you keep moving along in the right amount of time.


24:40 Dr. Amy Hall: As Francine mentioned earlier, we do have multiple start dates and that's what helps the students complete the program as quickly as they can. So, with the every eighth week start of the term, that really help students get their work done. The other thing is that you can focus a fairly intense amount of time but a short amount of time on one subject and then get done with that and move on to the next, which really seems to meet the needs of our adult learners. I already mentioned that we don't require you to go back to complete any of the prerequisite courses or pre-licensure. So again, that's how we end up being so transfer-friendly and how you can be done at the program as quickly as you can.


25:20 Dr. Amy Hall: We also don't have any fees, which is nice if you compare our costs with other programs, or as you're comparing program costs, I would encourage you to look at what the fees are because a lot of schools may have lower tuition but their fees end up being very expensive, and so the total cost to go to school ends up being higher, surprisingly enough with a lower tuition rate. We are very affordable. When we compared our price, our cost with other programs, you can see it on the slide there, approximately two to $4,000 more affordable than other programs that are comparable to us. And we are actually one of the, with this one, the affordable 4-year price at non-for-profit institutions.


26:05 Dr. Amy Hall: It's important to note that we're not a state school so the tuition is the same no matter what state you live in. So, the in-state tuition is the same as the out of state tuition, and I think the other thing that is probably most important is that we are very student-centered. We're very innovative in our online learning. We get registered nurses from all over the US to take our courses, which really enhances the learning of the students who are in the courses. So, you can compare the issues that you're experiencing with nurses who live all over the US and really get a good idea of what is going on. And I think really the thing is with our RN to BSN programs is it really gives you that push that you need to get perhaps into your next career path and help you just continue to be a great nurse.


26:58 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. I just want to mention at this point, I believe the tuition has changed just slightly from that number on the slide now. I recommend everyone just to speak with an enrollment advisor to get the most up-to-date information about this program. And at this point, I'd like to... As many of you know, there are a lot of benefits of learning your degree online, but that can vary depending on the program you choose. I'd like to ask Student Success Advisor, Amy Skelton, to give us an idea of the type of support online students can expect while in the program.


27:36 Amy Skelton: Thanks, Lig. As their Student Success Advisor, I'm here to make sure that you have all the resources and need to succeed. I'm going to be here to assist you with course planning and selection from your first term to your last term. I'll also be your main point of contact and I'll be your liaison to all the other departments. I'm really going to be part of your support team throughout your whole educational journey.


28:07 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. Can you talk a little bit about the faculty support?


28:12 Amy Skelton: Yes. You're also going to have access to the community practicum programs or project support and they'll be able to ask and answer academic-related questions.


28:26 Ligia Popescu: Great. And I know that some colleges don't offer career planning to everyone so I do know that this university does offer career planning for online students and that includes individualized career counseling and coaching, resume review, how to write cover letters, getting your LinkedIn profile set up nice and preparing for interviews, networking, and helping you to facilitate a career transition as some of the RNs out there might be looking to do with their BSN degree. Also, of course, the online students get 24-hour tech support, which is important. And now I'd like to ask Dr. Thomas to share some feedback that the school has received from the students and graduates of the program about how they felt about their program.


29:24 Dr. Francine Thomas: Okay, these are just a few little excerpts from student program evaluations and some of these are from students who just came up to us or emailed us and told us how they liked the program. I found is that I've been out of school for 23 years and I really didn't know if I can figure out all the technology and adapt to a new way of learning, but it almost seems easier than traditional classes. I love that I can pace myself and have unlimited resources at my fingertips. Online classes allowed me the freedom to continue to spend time with my family and maintain my fitness goals. I never imagined that I would be able to do all those things at once." And that was great to hear.


30:06 Dr. Francine Thomas: Lisa said, "I had a great experience. It's been 25 years since I had been in formal school and setting computers were a little intimidating for me. The college was cognizant of this issue facing most non-traditional adult learners and made the transition as easy as possible. Each instructor was knowledgeable, approachable, and interested in each student. Dr. Thomas was great and extremely helpful to me throughout my time at the college. I would 100% recommend the school to anyone wishing to pursue their education. In our evidence-based practice course, the layout of this course is perfect; all details are explained, the instructor was always willing to and available to assist. With the Health Assessment course, I loved the program. I matched my nursing and life belief and ethical system."


31:01 Dr. Francine Thomas: One thing I don't have up here, we also asked students what would you change about this program if you could, and 80% of those students say nothing, it's perfect the way it is. Our Health Policy course, which I don't have on this slide, is a fairly new course which I said before, and this is what those students had to say about that new course: "I have to say that I learned a great deal from taking this class. I was so unfamiliar with this topic and I have been in nursing for over 25 years. Thank you so much." Another student said, "I've learned a lot, especially on issues in my own state about health policy, and I didn't know this. I had planned on joining the American Nurses Association in my state chapter after taking this course." Those are just some of the excerpts we've gotten from students about our program. What else can we say? We love it.


32:00 Ligia Popescu: Yeah. So, thank you. This presentation is actually available to download in the resources area, so if you want to read in more detail what these quotes are saying, it's available to you. So, thank you, Dr. Thomas, for sharing that feedback with us. It really sounds like the students are enjoying their time and finding it to be a very valuable program. At this point, I'd like to turn it over to our enrollment advisor, Sam, and I'm going to ask him to go over the requirements for admission, the admissions process, and just some important dates and deadlines to keep in mind.


32:41 Samuel Cueller: Alright, thank you, Lig. I appreciate it. So, hello everyone, my name is Samuel. And yes, I am one of the enrollment advisors here at Our Lady of the Lake online. And so, when I speak to different nurses each and every day I want to make sure that they meet the requirements, and the requirements are as follows that, just like Dr. Thomas was saying before, we want to make sure that each prospective student has a diploma in nursing or an associate's degree in nursing from an ACEN or a CCNE accredited nursing program. We require a minimum 2.0 GPA as well as a permanent active and unencumbered RN license. And so, once you meet those requirements, of course we give you the opportunity to apply for our program, which the application is fairly simple. In most cases, it takes about 10 or 15 minutes to complete, and in the application, it's just going to require a lot of the... Just do the information, background information, educational information as well. And we want to make sure that each student is listing every school that they've attended because we want to make sure that they're getting as much transfer of credit as possible. So even if they took classes that had nothing to do with nursing at first, those can potentially count as electives here at our school, and so that can help them also.


34:09 Samuel Cueller: It's definitely imperative that they're listing that, and of course we also have important deadlines and dates that will be coming up in regards to the process too. Our next start date is beginning on October 16th of this year, and so those classes, that semester would end on December 8th of this year as well. And so right now we're taking applications all the way up to October 6th because we want to make sure that we have time to retrieve all of the official transcripts and make sure that each student has their time to either finalize their financial aid movement, or if they're receiving any tuition assistance or reimbursement from their jobs, we want to make sure that we're taking the proper steps to make sure they're set financially as well, which is why we set these deadlines. Also, the following semester for the fall would be starting on January 16th of next year, and that semester goes all the way to March 9th. We're also accepting the applicants even today all the way till the 1st of January, like I said. And that will give us way more than enough time to be able to get everything that we need. Right now, we're getting a student population for both start dates at the moment.


35:36 Ligia Popescu: Can you explain a little bit about the fee structure? Is there a fee to review your transcripts? Is there a transcript fee that they have to pay? Is there an application fee?


35:48 Samuel Cueller: No, not at all. There's no application fee at all, which is one of the questions that always comes about from a lot of nurses that I speak to, and some of them just have unofficial transcripts or some of them have access to their previous school's portal. So as long as we're able to get unofficial transcripts or even screenshots of their grades, we can go ahead in getting a tentative evaluation done for them. And our records team is awesome, they do evaluations. Depending on the time that it's turned in, it can be done probably within the next hour or two. Obviously, there's no fee for that also. And that would give the students a better idea of where they stand here in our school because even if they're exploring their options with other school that they can at least know. They have an idea of the cost and the time to graduate here. And because of the fact that we have a very generous transfer of credit policy, a lot of the students do see that Our Lady of the Lake or in this case, Fran U is the better fit for them and a lot more affordable for that matter.


36:55 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. So now we've reached the Q&A section of our presentation, and we have our first question. Many of you know that a BSN will help you to be a more complete nurse, it makes you an official professional nurse. Francine, I was wondering if you could help us understand how the health policy course for example, as well as the community practicum experience and the evidence-based practice really helps to shape that more complete nurse. And can you give us an idea of how that might translate into the workplace and help them feel more confident?


37:43 Dr. Francine Thomas: Yes, if a nurse works at a magnet hospital for instance, magnet hospitals thrive off of evidence-based practice. Most of what they're going to do in that hospital is going to be evidence-based. You need to know what they're talking about if you're going to work in a facility like that. You can't just go in and take care of your patient and go home. You need to understand what the best practices are, how do they come about to get these best practices, and what you as a nurse can do to improve nursing care. And the only way to do that is to know what the evidence says and how you go about getting that evidence. So, it's not going to be anymore nurses just going and getting your degree or getting your whatever. You have to go and go a little farther now because hospitals are looking for ways to cut costs and looking for ways, the best practices so patients won't come back and forth in and out of the hospital. All of that's going to be done by getting evidence and improving patient quality and proven outcomes that way.


38:53 Dr. Francine Thomas: Health policy is something. If we don't get involved in health policy, health care is going to leave us behind as we can see right today what's going on with health policy. This is the third time we're going to be teaching this course this semester. And it's amazing to me how little nurses know about health policy mostly because nurses don't join their professional organization. But we have nurses in congress, we have nurses on the state level who are fighting for nurses to make sure we are at the table to help shape health policy. If we're not at the table, well, we can see what happens when nurses are not at the table. Nurses were the biggest health care organization in this country. We should have a lot to say about how policy is shaped in this country. So, we have to, have to, and I'm begging all our nurses, please join your professional organizations and become more involved. After taking this course, I believe many of the students will join their organization 'because they didn't realize what they didn't know because they didn't have it before. So, this course is really, really important to the RN to BSN. What was the other course you're asking about?


40:17 Ligia Popescu: The community practicum.


40:18 Dr. Francine Thomas: Oh, the community practicum gets you actually out into the community. All the students have said... I've read their evaluations, they never knew certain things were even in their community. They drive around and it's all of us. You drive around, and you pass things up, you go home when you have to actually dig into what's in your community health wise, specifics wise, death wise, mortality, morbidity. What are some of the things that are available to their community? How far is the hospital? Is there transportation for the people to get there? You're surprised at what you find out because you didn't know that before because what we do, we go home, we come out, we go to work, and we're not really looking at what's around us. Very interesting. A lot of the students says very interesting to note that these things either exist or don't exist in their community. This is the way we can help the public and help the public health nursing if you want to become one of those eventually. It helps you to understand what they're doing out there and what they're trying to do in the community and improve community health not just individual health but include family health and community health. So, this is important too because if we don't improve our communities individually, we're not going to improve either.


41:43 Ligia Popescu: Thank you. Can you share with me the percentage breakdown of what your students come into the program looking to do when they graduate? So how many would you say are looking to just get their bachelor's degree? How many are looking to move into a leadership position? How many are looking to continue on with their education and earn an MSN? What is the trend?


42:13 Dr. Francine Thomas: I think about 50% of them are just coming to get their bachelor's degree. Maybe about 50 to 60% because a lot of them, like I said, they work at magnet hospitals, so it's required. Then we have our breakdown of those who are leaders already and need to get their baccalaureate degree, and then we have those who want to continue on and become either a nurse practitioner. Usually, it's the nurse practitioner from all the... "Because they send me back," things like they want a reference. And most of the references I've completed have been for nurse practitioner, not many for, just education or administration, mostly for nurse practitioner degrees. But I would say 50% right now, I would say they're just coming back and getting their baccalaureate degree. But I try to encourage them to go further if they can. Those nurses who've been nurses a long time, they're just happy to get their baccalaureate degree.


43:20 Ligia Popescu: Got it.


43:21 Dr. Francine Thomas: And nurses who are a little younger, they strive to maybe go further and further with their degree.


43:28 Ligia Popescu: How many hours would a student have to dedicate a week to their studies to be successful in the program?


43:38 Dr. Francine Thomas: Well, it's according to the course they're taking. The 3000-level course are a little lighter than the 4000 level courses. There are going to be three, or four, or five assignments to each course. I try to tell students, "Please don't wait until the course is due on that day the assignments are due, and then you're going to be shocked that you have three or four of 'em to do." They're going to have to spend, I would say, eight to 12 hours a week on that particular course in order to be successful. Community, it's a little different. You have to spend a little bit more time because you have the theory portion and you're going to have to go out and do the practicum portion. Now the practicum portion of community, some of that information you can get online, some of which you may have to actually go in somewhere and get some of that information. Like the city hall are, the vital statistics are. Things like that, you may have to go there at the library and get some information.


44:47 Ligia Popescu: Thank you so much for answering our questions. So, I'm going to pull up the information about anyone interested in reaching out to us. I've got Sam's information here, I've got Shahed's information here, Amy's information's in here. If you have any questions about, if your employer would be willing to pay for some of your education, call Sam. If you want to know about how much work experience transfers or not, talk to Sam. If you have any questions at all, just don't hesitate to pick up the phone. We are ready to answer your questions and encourage you to reach out. So, this concludes our presentation today. I want to thank our panelists for being here with us. I know they're very busy people and have a lot of important work to do so I appreciate your time, and thanks to our audience for joining us. We will be sending an email with this presentation recording in the future. So, thank you very much, have a great day everyone.


45:52 Samuel Cueller: Thank you.


45:52 Dr. Francine Thomas: Thank you all.