Oregon Action Coalition Encourages Higher Levels of Nursing Education by Addressing Barriers

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A “Future of Nursing” report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJF) in 2010 recommended transformation of the nursing education system to meet increased demands for care in an increasingly complex health system. Since that time, nursing organizations and health care stakeholders in this country have advocated for registered nurses to earn higher levels of nursing education as an important part of the solution.

The Education Work Group of the Oregon Action Coalition recently addressed some of the barriers reported by nurses who have been challenged to advance their education while working and raising their families. In a short video, five registered nurses (including two students from Linfield College) share their personal experiences with earning their RN to BSN degree. They report overcoming those barriers and even going beyond the BSN to enroll in graduate programs.

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Enrollment in RN to BSN programs increased by 69% from 2010 to 2014, yet only 49% of 38,382 total registered nurses in Oregon have a BSN or higher (Oregon Center for Nursing, 2016). To get involved in the Oregon Action Coalition Education Work Group, or to hear more about RN to BSN opportunities at Linfield College, please contact Melissa Robinson at mrobinson1@linfield.edu

Watch the video:

Infographic – Source: Oregon Center for Nursing, 2016

Learn more about Linfield’s regionally accredited online RN to BSN degree.

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Looking Back on it Now… Business Information Systems Degree Grads Reflect on Their Experiences

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We recently asked graduates of our Business Information Systems degree program to look back on their time with Linfield and what they wished they would have known before starting. Their responses were surprisingly similar across the board. In fact, if these graduates could share two pieces of advice to those considering an online degree, the advice would likely be “start now” and “believe in yourself.”

Alumna Abigail McPherson wishes that she would have known a long time ago “how important a degree is to your professional status.” She continues to say, “If I had pushed through and graduated years ago, I would likely be so much farther now.” Fellow alumna Janet Lodge agrees and wishes that “I could have done it sooner.”

Balancing school with work and family is a universal concern of nearly all adult students, but many find that some colleges try to make it as easy as possible. Graduate James Ellis appreciated the convenient scheduling of online classes. “Linfield allowed me to take the classes I needed in a linear fashion without having to wait for classes that are only offered every other year,” he said.

Having supportive faculty can definitely help students succeed, according to many of our alums, including James. He noted “The professors were awesome and actually cared. It was nice to see how engaged they were.”  Abigail McPherson agrees, saying that “[Department Chair] Dr. Martin Tweneboah was a brilliant teacher.  I loved all his courses, because he was thorough and the classes were relevant to the real world situations.”

According to Chris Sarrett, a Network Operations Manager for the City of Springfield, the faculty were “quite helpful and knowledgeable in their fields. Very adept at working in the online-only learning environment.”

Today’s job market is now filled with positions that require a degree and many adults choose to go back to school when they find themselves stuck. There is definitely data to support the value of degree completion. The average 4-year bachelor’s degree holder, for instance, earns nearly $1 million dollars more over the course of their lifetime than someone who holds only a high school diploma, according to a study done by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

Still, many students are apprehensive about beginning their programs, especially if it has been a long time since they have been a student. Ralph Schwehr shares that “in the beginning I was hesitant, not sure if I could do it. As I saw my first few good grades on assignments, I started gaining confidence. I wish I had known that if you are willing to do the work, you can succeed.”

Ultimately, these graduates agree that the hard work and investment were worth it. “Having a degree opens doors that were not previously available, “said James Ellis, now a Senior Systems Engineer.

Abigail McPherson, an IT Supplier Specialist for Standard Insurance Company, said “I’ve gotten several promotions since I graduated and I also made my way into the IT division at work.  It’s only been two years and I’m not young anymore, but I feel like I’ve still got a lot of places I could go with my career.”  Ralph Schwehr, a Database Administrator for the State Center Community College District in Fresno, CA agrees: “There is no way I would earn what I earn today without my Linfield degree opening the doors.”

To learn more about our Business Information Systems degree, check out our program page or contact the Office of Admission at 503-883-2213.

 

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A supportive institution can make all the difference for online students

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When students make the decision to enroll in an online program, they frequently have apprehension. Perhaps they have been out of school awhile or have never taken an online class. Maybe they are nervous about writing a paper or taking a math class, or simply feel that they will be isolated and on their own in an online program.

At Linfield, we know that it can be overwhelming to take this step and coming into a supportive environment can make a big difference. In our Online and Continuing Education program, we celebrate our students and know that they are often balancing a heavy load of responsibilities.  We know that their lives are often very different from our residential students and have tailored our program to address their unique needs.  The many staff who work with online students at Linfield are enthusiastic about helping them take these next steps in their lives.   Assistant Director of Admission Reese Zimmer genuinely appreciates working with students who are so driven towards their goals, especially when so many of them have to balance their education with having a career and/or family.

This admiration is echoed by Academic Advisor Ann Sukalac who says, “I love to getting to know the students, learn about their goals and dreams and then help them to meet the academic part of those goals.  Online students are generally working (most of them full time) and balancing work and family life with their schooling.  Their dedication is a wonderful thing to behold.”

From the time students fill out a request for information form, it is our goal to make the online learning process easy and worry-free. Academic Advisor Joanne Swenson works with our RN to BSN students and focuses on customer service. “We answer emails within 24 hours, offer phone call appointments for students out of the area, or meet in-person with students who can or who want to,” said Joanne.

Joanne also cares about how the students are doing emotionally, as well. “I often have to put on my ‘counselor hat’ to talk students through difficult situations or personal issues they are dealing with.”

Admission Counselor Deanna Fairchild knows that “returning to college can be stressful and cause some apprehension…” and she always tries to put a student’s worries to rest in their first conversations by discussing their concerns and answering any potential questions that may arise about their education.

When comparing Linfield to other online learning programs, our liberal arts core sets us apart because of how it develops students’ skill set. Instructional Designer Jane Wilde noted that “Linfield’s commitment to liberal arts ideals is the hallmark of what we offer. Regardless of the subjects we teach, or the professional credentials we offer, we emphasize critical thinking, and the ability to see the problems from multiple points of view.”

The other thing that sets Linfield apart is a strong sense of community which carries over to our online classrooms.  Advisors like Ann notice that the successful students are the ones who find an avenue to connect in the online environment.

“The most surprising thing to me about online students is how they manage to personalize the environment for themselves.  When I first worked with online, I was concerned that the environment would be cold and lack the collegial aspect of the classroom.  And a student who doesn’t take advantage of the possibilities could still find it to be that way. But so many students actually do take my advice and form study groups, or just have particular study-buddies that they work with via phone, or Skype, or chat and some great friendships have been formed,” says Ann.  “If a students will put out a virtual hand, there are people there to virtually take it:  faculty, advisors and fellow students.”

All of our staff members are committed to making the student experience as rewarding as possible. As students strive to meet their educational goals, the staff at Linfield will be here to support them every step of the way.

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