First Group of Online Nursing Students to Graduate
September 27, 2012 – The School of Nursing & Health Studies’ online master's program in nursing is graduating its first students at the end of this month.
Six students will be the first to graduate from the program, which is also Georgetown’s first online degree.
“The online program has allowed us to expand the reach of our campus-based graduate programs to educate more advanced nursing leaders with the goal of positively impacting the health of communities around the country,” said Jeanne Matthews, chair of the nursing department at NHS. “Our first online graduates have set the bar high, and we congratulate each of them on this milestone.”
NHS established the program in March 2011.
Quality and Values
Nearly 600 students are now in the online program, hailing from 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The school’s Family Nurse Practitioner program was the first to launch in the online format. Since then, the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Educator, and Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner programs have also begun online.
Matthews noted that the program has the same admissions standards, emphasis on quality and values-based curriculum as the on-campus program.
Faculty members have worked hard, she said, to create a dynamic learning experience through "face-to-face" class sessions over the computer with an approximate 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and highly produced academic content.
Students visit Georgetown’s campus during the program for educational activities and learning assessment – called on-campus intensive weekends – but complete their clinical education at sites in or near their own communities.
“The on-campus intensive was one of my greatest experiences,” said Leslie Clark (G’12), who plans to go in to family practice. “It was obvious that Georgetown was working hard to provide the best learning experience. While on campus, I had the opportunity to meet the people behind the scenes.”
Kathryn Ellis, who directs the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program, says teaching the first cohort of full-time students has affirmed for her the potential of online education.
“It is a professional highlight for me to have taught the first cohort of online FNP students,” Ellis said. “Their commitment to excellence in education and practice is commendable. Their academic performance is impressive and confirmed in my mind that the distance education model we have adapted is working.”
Katherine Skiff (NHS’08, G’12), says she ultimately wants to use her master’s degree in nursing to provide global health care to focus on refugees. Her immediate plans include working in primary care.
“I am so proud of the first group and hold my head up high when talking about this program,” said Skiff, who also completed the school’s on-campus accelerated second degree BSN program. “The ladies in my cohort [were] amazing and challenged me every class meeting.”