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Distance Learning Profile: Respiratory Care and Nursing

In recognition of National Distance Learning Week Nov. 11-15, UPDATE has featured a daily program profile. The Respiratory Care and Nursing programs were featured on Nov. 14.

The College of Health Sciences is no stranger to distance learning. In fact, there are five individual programs, leading to eight different degrees — all of which can be completed from a distance.

Professionals in the healthcare field have demanding schedules and workloads, often to the point that a traditional in-person curriculum makes advanced degree completion difficult if not impossible. For this reason, the flexible and asynchronous nature of online and distance learning makes completing a degree more feasible.

Respiratory Care Online Degree Completion Program

The online RRT to BS Degree Completion Program at Boise State has served numerous registered respiratory therapists over the years by bringing the classroom to them.

Because of the solid reputation of the program, students from 49 states and 315 different colleges have requested information. There currently are 130 students in the program.

The program also has established several articulation agreements with other colleges to improve the transfer process. In addition to national recognition, the program often receives requests from other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Japan, India and Canada.

Another thing that sets the RRT to BS program apart is the experienced faculty: together the six full-time and three adjunct faculty have more than 130 years experience in respiratory care education.

RN-BS Online/Distance Completion Track

Started in 2008 with 50 students, the online RN to BS program now has approximately 400 students at any given point in time, and the flexible nature of this program greatly increases the ability to serve students who live in more remote areas of Idaho. In addition, the program attracts students from across the country.

Another benefit of being an online program is the access to highly qualified faculty. The RN to BS program recruits from across the country highly qualified professionals to serve as adjuncts. These instructors currently are practicing in their field or concurrently teaching as nurse educators in other colleges or universities.

In addition to making baccalaureate prepared RNs more attractive to employers, the RN to BS program is addressing an initiative sponsored by the Institute of Medicine. The goal of that initiative is to graduate 80 percent of the nation’s RNs with a bachelor’s degree by 2020.

Nursing of Populations Graduate Program

The Nursing of Populations graduate program began as a fully online program in 2007 and offers students two degree tracks: one for a master of nursing, and one for a master of science in nursing.

The program allows students to study specific populations, such as rural health, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. The online program also fits well with forthcoming healthcare changes in the United States.

Upon completion of this program, graduates hold positions as health coaches, patient care coordinators and program coordinators in areas like heart failure or stroke management.

Boise State also is one of only four schools in the country offering this nursing degree.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Started in August 2013, the doctor of nursing practice program is the first doctoral program for the School of Nursing and the second doctoral degree available online. The part-time nature of the program works with the busy schedules of working healthcare professionals.

The program launched with eight students and is offered 100 percent online, with three executive sessions held on campus over the course of three years. The purpose of the executive sessions is to provide students an opportunity to meet their peers and to work closely with faculty on their projects.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program

The last online program available from the School of Nursing and the College of Health Sciences is the graduate program in adult-gerontology nurse practitioner. To meet the nation’s need for skilled nurses, the AGNP program offers students the opportunity to specialize in two different areas: acute care and primary care. In addition to a master’s degree, the program has two graduate certificates available for current NPs to add additional specialization to their credentials.

The AGNP program begins in January 2014 and already has 35 students accepted for the master of science track in primary care. Starting in spring 2015, the program will add another cohort for acute care and in summer 2015 the acute and primary care graduate certificates for practicing NPs will be available.

Contributed by Coleen Dudley in the Department of Respiratory Care and Vivian Schrader and Leonie Sutherland in the School of Nursing.