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Ferris Prepares Nurses to Serve in Michigan Communities

School of NursingNursing is the largest health care occupation in the United States, and Ferris State University is dedicated to giving its Nursing students the skills they need to succeed.

Whether students are enrolled in the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program or working on their Master of Science in Nursing, Ferris is providing a hands-on learning environment to produce successful graduates. It is that real-world education experience that helps define Ferris graduates.

“Ferris students are prepared very well clinically, as well or better than other programs,” said Julie Coon, director of the School of Nursing and interim dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences. “I think our clinical education is a strength appreciated by the work setting.”

Nearly 95 percent of graduates are placed in a nursing field after graduation, according to Coon. There are 152 students enrolled in the pre-licensure program, a clinical-focused program for students to begin their nursing practice, and more than 500 students are registered in the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“I help determine what we need to do at Ferris to compete with other programs around the state and nation. We attract students internationally and around the state,” Coon said. “As director, it’s been an opportunity to do innovative things in nursing. It’s been rewarding shaping the nursing program at Ferris.”

Nursing student Rachel Szucs said she chose Ferris because of the reputation its nursing graduates had. A junior from Detroit, Szucs believes that Ferris students are trained “really well.” She noted that she wanted to attend a university that would benefit her future career goal of becoming a practitioner.

“I have a lot of friends that go to other nursing schools and a lot of them don’t start their clinical rotations until their second year, whereas Ferris starts right away,” Szucs said. “Even though you can’t do much right away, you learn valuable skills. You learn to really talk to people and about what it means to be in a hospital environment.”

In addition to classroom instruction, Ferris associate professor Denise Hoisington helps develop computer and nursing courses for the College of Allied Health Sciences by collaborating with the Ferris business and education departments. Hoisington noted that Ferris’ nursing program is progressive as its curriculum is kept as current and relevant as possible.

“We are always trying to keep the curriculum up to date and then our students are getting the most current knowledge. I like that it provides both online courses and face-to-face courses,” Hoisington, a Ferris graduate, said. “We get to do a little bit of each, and it’s great to work with the nursing faculty who are committed to the university.”

Hoisington said that Ferris’ Nursing program is constantly adapting to new teaching methods in order for students to have the most relevant courses to transfer to their field. Ferris faculty work to make sure that students have the means to pass their state board exams to become a registered nurse.

“I like the Ferris nursing program first of all, because I’ve been through it. We have several different options, which I like,” she said. “I think it’s a very challenging program. Any nursing program is.”

Students in the RN to BSN nursing program take six consecutive semesters of classes through the fall, spring and summer. Throughout each student’s journey to becoming a nurse, Ferris offers additional opportunities for them to be involved on campus. Coon said that nursing students must participate in service learning, which requires them to complete volunteer hours and community work. Students also are encouraged to join registered student organizations such as the pre-nursing club or the Ferris Student Nursing Association.

“One of the outcomes of the nursing program is the advancement of the profession of nursing. Service learning is a way students can do that,” Coon said. “It’s a way to be engaged in a community setting.”

Ferris is in the beginning stages of developing a simulation program, and Coon said that she hopes to see the simulation “become much more structured and defined as an integral component of clinical education.”

“I know my clinical instructor is excellent and wants you to get as much experience as you can,” Szucs said. “Ferris faculty understands what it’s like. You can tell they really care about what they do and passionate about their profession.”