Today’s commencement at Goshen College will mark several last moments for the 288 graduates receiving their diplomas. The last exams. The last papers written. The last time every member of the ‘Class of 2010’ will be together.
But the event will also include a very unique first. Fourteen students will be the first recipients of master of science in nursing degrees from the college.
The program is a three-year, part-time program with two different tracks — family nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader — and clinical sites are located throughout the area, including right across the street at Goshen General Hospital. The age range and work experience of the students varies, but they must each have at least a year of nursing under their belts.
According to Brenda Srof, professor of nursing and director of the graduate program in nursing, conversations to add a masters in nursing program began several years ago within the department once the undergraduate program began growing.
"A lot of students were asking for a master’s program, so we began going through the motions," Srof said.
Several students who had received their bachelor’s degrees waited for the master’s program at Goshen College rather than furthering their education at another college with an established program — such as nearby Bethel College and IUSB — or an online college. Once Goshen College received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the student applications began rolling in.
"I have been waiting for the school to start up a master’s program for so long," upcoming graduate Linda Kline said. Kline received her undergraduate degree in 2005 and works at a visiting nursing center in Kalamazoo.
There are nine core courses that are required in the master’s program, along with a couple additional courses, depending on the specific track of choice. Students were required to take six to nine credits per semester for the three-year program, but were allowed to work full-time along with taking courses. Having the flexibility to balance a job, which requires them to be on-call frequently, along with classes, has made the students appreciative of dependable co-workers.