SLU Nursing programs win Nightingale Awards
HAMMOND – Two Southeastern Louisiana University nursing programs have been recognized by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation with the Nightingale Award as the Nursing School of the Year - the master’s degree in nursing, which is offered in a consortium with three other state institutions, and the undergraduate program in nursing. The awards recognize the achievements of both nursing program’s students and faculty.
This is the third time Southeastern has been recognized with a Nightingale Award for an advanced practice program, with the master’s program being recognized as program of the year in 2013 and 2019. In addition, Southeastern’s undergraduate nursing program has been recognized with the Nightingale Award three previous times; this time marks the fourth.
The competition is evaluated by a panel of out-of-state judges who review the nominations submitted by nursing programs throughout the state. The Nightingale Awards are the foundation’s highest recognition for quality, service, commitment and excellence among Louisiana registered nurses.
Ann Carruth, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said nursing programs are evaluated for the award by a wide range of criteria, including accreditation status, innovations in education and teaching, nursing examination passage rate, and comments solicited from graduates, faculty and area employers.
Carruth added that being recognized for the BSN and MSN programs is especially significant this year because 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the 200th year of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
“The fact that this year also highlights the prominence of nurses as healthcare heroes during this pandemic is an additional testament to the profession. I’m as proud of our graduates as they start their careers as nurses and advanced practitioners,” Carruth said. “At the suggestion of the President of the Alumni Association Dickie Whitson and to commemorate this special year and honor faculty and alumni, Mike Legendre, an alumni and friend of Southeastern, designed a special nursing pin.”
Southeastern’s master’s program is offered in a consortium with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State University in Lake Charles and Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.
“The consortium has been recognized by the Louisiana Board of Regents as a model of collaboration, articulation and the wise use of scarce resources,” said Carruth. “Through a sharing of resources – including creative collaboration by committed faculty – we are able to offer top quality, cost effective postgraduate education in an easily accessible online model.”
“Our best assets are our faculty and students,” she added. “Together we have graduated advanced practice nurses to meet the healthcare needs of the region, nurse leaders to solve complex health care management crises and nurse educators to train future nurses.”
The program offers concentrations leading to a master of science degree in nursing in three different areas: family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, and nurse educator. The program is accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education.
“Since 1992, this program has helped prepare a steady number of professionals to meet the growing health and wellness needs of the state,” Carruth said. “Most of our students work full time and require some degree of convenience and flexibility in their graduate program. By offering our courses online through web-based distance learning, the consortium is meeting the needs of these professionals and allowing them to learn at their own pace and time.”
School of Nursing Department Head Ken Tillman attributes the nursing faculty and teaching resources to the ultimate success of the undergraduate program’s students and graduates.
“Our nursing faculty are dedicated to the success of our students,” he said. “Teaching resources, such as great instructional spaces, skills practice labs and patient simulation labs, both on campus and at the Baton Rouge Center, is another top feature of our program.”
“The nursing program’s clinical affiliation agreements with leading healthcare systems located on the Northshore and Baton Rouge region is another advantage for students. Our nursing students have an opportunity to learn and apply their knowledge by working side-by-side with some of the best nurses and healthcare professionals anywhere.”
Southeastern’s nursing school also operates a completely online RN to BSN degree program that allows registered nurses with an associate’s degree or nursing diploma to complete courses leading to a bachelor of science in nursing degree.