First ever nursing program coming to DU in 2014

By Elisa Juliano

February 11, 2014

Trying to major in nursing at DU is typically a pounding-headache process, with students left with little option but to study two years at Dominican before transferring to another institution. Finally, after losing a number of potential Dominican graduates over the years for not having a four-year nursing program, next year the university will finally have a nursing program to call its own.

Dominican’s new nursing program is expected to begin enrolling students during the summer for the fall of 2014. With the program, students are expected to receive clinical experience while also partnering with other local healthcare facilities.

The curriculum for the program has already been approved by the administration and construction on the fourth floor of Parmer Hall is underway to build faculty offices and a simulation clinic.

“They [the university] chose Parmer because of the nature of the building having all the sciences there,” Dan Bulow, director of Buildings and Grounds, said.

The simulation clinic will allow students to practice their nursing skills before applying them to patients in real situations.

“Not every program has the ability to simulate the clinical experience for students like we will,” Deb Gurney, executive director of the nursing program, said. Gurney will bring strong nursing education experience to Dominican, having previously served as executive director of the nursing program for the City Colleges of Chicago.

The simulation clinic will have a low-to-medium fidelity lab, a health assessment lab and a high-fidelity lab. The low-to-medium fidelity lab will look similar to an emergency room, whereas the health assessment lab will look like a doctor’s office.

“Most programs don’t even have this [a high-fidelity lab]; this is really state of the art,” Dawn Morse, project manager of Physical Plant, said.

Morse said the high-fidelity lab will allow students to practice scenarios on high-tech mannequins serving as patients. The mannequins will be able to simulate conditions for students to practice their skills on, such as practice heart attack scenarios.

Allison Braun, a senior and natural science major planning on going to nursing school upon graduation, thinks the simulation clinic will be a wonderful resource for students at Dominican.

“I think it is going to be great for Dominican and it is going to bring in a whole new group of students,” Braun said.

The program will be accepting only 48 students in its first year. However, Gurney said the enrollment limit is expected to rise in the coming years.

“We anticipate over a five year span that we’ll probably go up to somewhere between 192 and 200 students,” Gurney added.

Students applying to the program must have a 2.75 cumulative GPA, meet the national average on the Test of Essential Academic Skills and must have completed the required pre-requisites including the core curriculum and seminar classes.

In the past, Dominican has partnered with Resurrection University to offer the “2+2 program” to potential nursing students, where students would complete two years of study at Dominican and then finish their studies at Resurrection. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to draw serious nursing students to Dominican that may not have considered the university were there not a nursing program.