Hands-on experience puts Coe nursing students on path to success

2018-03-26 14:13:36 - Feature

Thre Coe nursing alumni - Hands-on experience puts Coe nursing students on path to success

Coe College's nursing program recently was named the No. 1 BSN and No. 2 overall nursing program in the state of Iowa by RegisteredNursing.org. Extensive hands-on training, small class sizes and a prime location in Cedar Rapids’ medical district contribute to Coe’s exceptional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Three semester of preceptorship distinguish Coe's nursing program from others. Many schools offer just one during the final semester, meaning Coe students graduate with 240 more hours of one-on-one hands-on experience with a registered nurse and real patients.

"They have the opportunity to learn how to prioritize and care for multiple patients," Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Tobin said. "It's more of a realistic experience. It gives students a glimpse of the real world of nursing rather than caring for one patient. We can do that because we are a smaller nursing program."

And Coe students are able to gain that experience right here. Coe's campus is located within walking distance of two of the top 10 Best Hospitals for Nurses in Iowa, according to nurse.org. Coe has connections with both Mercy Medical and St. Luke's Hospital for practical experience and job placement, as well as University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for preceptorships.

But the real measure of Coe's nursing program is the success of its students and graduates. Many attest to the quality education and rich student life while pursuing their BSN at Coe.

"The nursing program has challenged me in so many ways. It is very rigorous academically and pushes you to act and function as a fully fledged nurse. It has led me to many life-changing experiences through witnessing deaths, births and medical miracles in clinical," said senior Leah Schellinger. "I love how you are able to grow and learn alongside a seasoned nurse and are able to experience first-hand how to provide quality patient care."

"The staff in the nursing program are second to none and are always there for you. They are fully invested in your journey and serve as role models and mentors throughout your four years at Coe. You develop exceptional communication and time-management skills — something necessary to succeed in the field of nursing."

Junior Olivia Meade said it’s not just the skills she's learning that sets her clinical experience apart. Learning to be a compassionate nurse also is a critical component.

"We focus so greatly on building a patient-nurse relationship that allows the patient to trust and confide in us," she said. Coe's nursing professors lead the way. "They care so much about if you are succeeding in your classes and clinical. They do anything to help you succeed in and out of the program," Meade said.

"The professors really get to know you and your learning needs, and they genuinely want to get the very best out of you," Gretchen Lilienthal '16, staff nurse at UIHC, said. "The small size also allows you to really get to know your classmates, which helps with school work and studying. And you get to hear other preceptorship stories and learn from those."

Justin Nylin '13, house supervisor of the Critical Care Unit at Mercy Medical Center Clinton, said the personalized attention he received at Coe helped him succeed: "The professors not only got to know me on an academic level, but on a personal level as well."

His experience in Coe's nursing program was enriched by outside activities. In addition to serving as the Student Nursing Association president, a College Adjustment Peer and on the Greene Hall Board of Directors, he participated in Lambda Chi Alpha, Student Senate and AmeriCorps.

"Being a nursing student is hard work, but being involved on campus made me keep my school work organized and allowed me to plan time to study and grow as a young individual," Nylin said. "Overall, Coe's nursing program gave me a great education that put me steps ahead when starting my professional career."

Traveling nurse Mollie Kleopfer '14 agreed. "Our one-to-one clinical experience was so awesome at Coe. I honestly didn't appreciate it that much during college because I thought it was something every program had," she said. "Once I started as a staff nurse and spoke with other new grads, I totally grew to appreciate the excellent hands-on experiences Coe made possible for me."

A BSN from Coe is indeed a ticket to success for nursing professionals. Learn more about Coe’s nursing program at coe.edu/nursing_bsn.