Mason Brings Advanced Degree Programs to Hospitals

Posted: July 13, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

With the average registered nurse in a health care facility facing 12-hour shifts, more acutely ill patients and competing priorities, finding time for advanced education is difficult. To address this issue, Mason’s academic outreach programs have responded with innovative, user-friendly, on-site courses for nurses who want to pursue graduate study.

Mason registers more than 200 nurses each semester in courses that occur right in their workplace. Currently, Mason offers graduate courses at 12 health care organizations in the Washington, D.C., region, including Winchester Medical Center, Sibley Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, Virginia Hospital Center and all the Inova Health System facilities in Northern Virginia.

“The on-site classes allow professionals the opportunity to simply walk down the hallway after their shifts and participate in classes to meet their educational goals and contribute to better health care delivery,” says Beverly Boyd, director of academic outreach in the College of Health and Human Services. “Some of the initiatives we are working on, such as Mason’s RN-MSN pathway, will help nurses overcome obstacles such as time, money and the difficulty of returning to school.”

Nurses who enroll in on-site courses can expect to receive education in planning and coordinating multidisciplinary interventions within a variety of health care systems. Nurses with advanced degrees conduct and use research, develop educational plans and evaluate effectiveness of care within a specialty area of practice.

Classes taught in hospitals and at Mason are exactly the same in terms of objectives, study requirements and credits earned. Courses are usually scheduled one or two per semester for a group of 12 to 20 students.

Full- and part-time faculty are available to support students throughout the academic experience. All regular services offered to on-campus students, such as the use of the Counseling Center, library services and access to special events, are also offered to off-campus students.

Students enrolled in on-site courses work with advisors to develop a specific program to follow during the course of their studies. All student-related academic policies and procedures are the same as those on campus. Students can also use computers at their health care facility to access Mason’s resources.

About two-thirds of the graduate program can be completed at the health care site; the remaining courses required for graduation are completed at Mason.

“In addition to offering nursing courses, we are poised to expand the community-based courses to students in social work, health administration and other professional disciplines represented within the College of Health and Human Services,” says Boyd.

For more information about on-site courses, contact Boyd at 703-993-1910.

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