Bedside and/or Beyond

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Master’s Entry grads will be top patient-care nurses with unlimited choices

The question was raised soon after the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing announced its Master’s Entry into Nursing, an all-graduate curriculum launching in September 2015 that promises students an accelerated path to healthcare leadership: What about care at the bedside?

The answer is that Master’s Entry graduates will be, first and foremost, the best bedside nurses in the world, says Dean Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN. They will also be uniquely positioned: enter nursing at the bedside with the tools to grow into a leadership role or continue toward a doctoral degree. “It’s a golden ticket, really,” says Davidson. “This doesn’t mean that the essentials of nursing will be in any way diminished. What we’re doing is removing any ceiling from our students’ potential as caregivers, leaders, and nurse educators.”

Master’s Entry Director Kathleen White, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, explained in a recent online chat with Hopkins Nursing alumni that the five-semester program was built to answer calls from the Institute of Medicine and state and national healthcare councils to raise the level of education for nurses providing more advanced patient care required under the Affordable Care Act. It was a way to “respond to what is needed in this new nurse, for healthcare reform, for a different system.” There are also gaps to be filled at the bedside, in hospital leadership, and in faculty ranks as a wave of experienced nurses approaches retirement age. Never before have “competent, credentialed, and confident nurses” been as badly needed, White says.

As for why students should choose the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing program, Davidson goes into realtor mode: Location, location, location.

“The Johns Hopkins physical real estate in East Baltimore–the schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, and the Hospital (the Four Corners)—offers a seamless, immersive experience for our students,” Davidson says. “There’s a desperate need for interprofessional education and cooperation in healthcare. Our students can scarcely go 10 feet without interprofessional interaction. That’s an amazing advantage.” In addition, the nursing school’s proximity to rural and shore areas in Maryland as well as beachheads across the globe give students access unlike anywhere else.

“This unparalleled healthcare experience sets us apart,” Davidson says.

“There are other schools that have been out of the gate a little before we are [with a Master’s Entry program],” Associate Dean Marie Nolan, PhD, MPH, RN, explained in the online chat. “However, we feel very confident we will place our own stamp on it that will emphasize what we’re known for: global nursing, leadership, interprofessional practice, and many other aspects.”

Davidson cites a successful precedent. “When we got ready to launch our Doctor of Nursing Practice [DNP] program, people wondered if perhaps we were a little late to the party,” she says. “We didn’t worry about that, but instead focused on building a program we’d be proud to put the Johns Hopkins name to. Look at the DNP program now.”

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