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UI College of Nursing changes undergraduate program format to emphasize gen eds

BY RISHABH R. JAIN | OCTOBER 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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Ranked no. 11 in the country, the University of Iowa College of Nursing has changed the format of its undergraduate program to better the standards of math and science among nursing students.

The program, which used to be a 1-plus-3 model, in which students could enter the College of Nursing in their sophomore year, will now be a 2-plus-2 model, in which students will be expected to complete their general-education requirements before they enter the nursing school.

Final changes to the format went into effect in August, with students enrolled after 2010 facing the changes. The altered program, which will include three new courses, was introduced after officials felt a need to increase the understanding of science and humanities among nursing students.

“Students don’t need to work around classes that might be 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” said Ellen Cram, the assistant dean for undergraduate programs in the school. “Nursing care is delivered 24 hours a day, so sometimes it was challenging for students to work around class conflicts.”

The new format also makes it easier for students to gain clinical experience during their junior and senior years by keeping oddly timed general education classes at bay, Cram said.

The total number of semester hours required for a degree in nursing remains the same, 128, she said. 

There are 427 students enrolled in the nursing school this spring.

UI sophomore Elmer Guzman, a nursing major, is upset by the changes.

“My main concern with the change is that while the older kids will get a chance to spend beneficial time in the nursing school, kids like me have to spend time in classes they don’t necessarily need,” he said.

He cited the example of his Contemporary Environmental Issues class, which according to him, probably wouldn’t help him in his nursing career.

Another student, who is not being affected by the change, said the change will not affect the quality of education offered by the school because the required classes remain the same.

“It is the same curriculum, but it is just formatted in two blocks now rather than it being more spread out,” said Harini Puliadi, a nursing major and a supplemental instructional leader.

The main point of debate is going to be that students won’t have the option to take nursing courses and general-education courses at the same time, Puliadi said.

“They get all their gen-eds done and then completely immerse into nursing,” said the UI senior. “That has its pros and cons. Some students love that, but other students want one or two extra classes that take them away from nursing and gives them a little break.”

Cram said she has not received any comments from students so far.


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