Nurses find CSM path­ways a route to suc­cess

‘Amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity’ al­lows stu­dents to achieve goals faster, more af­ford­ably

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land (CSM) nurs­ing stu­dent Tabitha Long of Char­lotte Hall is the first to tell you she is am­bi­tious. “I’m al­ways look­ing for the next thing to achieve or an­other goal to strive for,” Long said.

The 34-year-old is al­ready a para­medic with the St. Mary’s County Ad­vanced Life Sup­port unit, and this fall she started work­ing to­ward what Long de­scribes as her sec­ond ca­reer. She is study­ing nurs­ing at CSM to be­come a nurse prac­ti­tioner, ac­cord­ing to a CSM press re­lease.

Long said she chose to be­gin her nurs­ing ed­u­ca­tion at CSM be­cause the pro­gram has a great rep­u­ta­tion and the col­lege’s cam­puses are close to home. But she also was sold by one of the As­so­ciate-To-Bach­e­lor’s (ATB) nurs­ing de­gree path­ways avail­able at CSM. Th­ese path­ways, which in­clude agree­ments with Frost­burg State Univer­sity and Stevenson Univer­sity On­line, give stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to po­ten­tially earn their bach­e­lor’s de­gree faster and more af­ford­ably, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Dual en­roll­ment: quicker to a pay­check

“The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land and Frost­burg State Univer­sity have a partnership that of­fers a dual en­roll­ment op­tion that al­lows a stu­dent to move through CSM’s ADN [as­so­ciate de­gree in nurs­ing] pro­gram at the same time he or she is en­rolled in cour­ses to ob­tain a BSN [bach­e­lor of sci­ence in nurs­ing] de­gree through FSU,” Long said in the re­lease.

She was so en­thu­si­as­tic about “this ex­treme ad­van­tage” that she started work­ing on her re­quire­ments at Frost­burg this sum­mer, even be­fore be­gin­ning her course­work at CSM.

“This is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity be­cause it al­lows me to ob­tain my BSN shortly af­ter com­ple­tion of CSM’s ADN pro­gram,” Long said.

Mona We­ber, CSM’s As­so­ciate to Bach­e­lor’s De­gree co­or­di­na­tor, said that nurses en­ter­ing the work­force face in­creas­ingly higher ed­u­ca­tion ex­pec­ta­tions. In a land­mark re­port is­sued nearly a decade ago, the In­sti­tute of Medicine rec­om­mended that nurses should achieve a higher level of ed­u­ca­tion and that the pro­por­tion of reg­is­tered nurses (RNs) with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in nurs­ing in­crease from 50 per­cent to 80 per­cent by the year 2020.

“In re­sponse to that man­date, CSM has part­ner­ships with four-year in­sti­tu­tions to as­sist stu­dent nurses in mov­ing in that di­rec­tion,” We­ber said in the re­lease. “Agree­ments have been signed with Frost­burg State Univer­sity and Stevenson Univer­sity On­line in spring 2018 which en­able CSM nurs­ing stu­dents to be ad­mit­ted into th­ese four-year in­sti­tu­tions while they are work­ing on their as­so­ciate de­gree. They can take up­per-level cour­ses while work­ing on their foun­da­tion clin­i­cal classes with CSM, mak­ing them bet­ter pre­pared and well-rounded nurses once they join the work­force.”

Like Long, CSM nurs­ing stu­dent Jen­nifer Nagy of Me­chan­icsville is also taking ad­van­tage of one of CSM’s nurs­ing de­gree part­ner­ships. Nagy en­rolled af­ter learn­ing about the Stevenson Univer­sity On­line pro­gram and its re­quire­ments at a CSM in­for­ma­tion event.

“The Stevenson booth was the only one I walked up to and I struck up a con­ver­sa­tion with the rep about the non-nurs­ing pro­gram re­quire­ments and the ad­mis­sion re­quire­ments,” Nagy said. “She an­swered all of my ques­tions and im­me­di­ately I be­came in­ter­ested . ... I went home that night and ap­plied and was ac­cepted in just about a week. I did not look into any other pro­gram be­cause I knew that the BSN pro­gram at Stevenson was al­ready a great pro­gram ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Board of Nurs­ing, and this was where I wanted to com­plete my bach­e­lor’s.”

Nagy said she has been very sat­is­fied with her de­ci­sion. “My ad­viser is phe­nom­e­nal,” Nagy said. “She reg­is­ters me for all of the classes and sets up a plan for me to com­plete all of my classes in a rel­a­tive time frame. All she does is send me a copy of my sched­ule and I con­firm it. It is extremely easy to gather all of your in­for­ma­tion for the ap­pli­ca­tion process as well. My ad­viser trav­eled to South­ern Mary­land to meet with me to go over all of the classes and what I will need to be a suc­cess­ful stu­dent.”

Nagy also sees her dual en­roll­ment sta­tus to be a po­ten­tial bonus when she en­ters the work­force. “This pro­gram ben­e­fits me be­cause once I start ap­ply­ing for RN po­si­tions, my re­sume shows that I am al­ready en­rolled in a bach­e­lor’s pro­gram. “Plus, my bach­e­lor’s de­gree will most likely be com­pleted within a year and a half of grad­u­at­ing with my as­so­ciate’s,” she said.

Nagy said she wants to work in ob­stet­rics, and maybe later on as a nurse mid­wife. She is cur­rently in her ob­stet­rics ro­ta­tion at CSM and said she has “fallen in love.”

“It is amaz­ing see­ing ev­ery­one work to­gether the way they do and how they sup­port each other,” she added. “This is def­i­nitely the spe­cialty for me and I will work my hard­est to be suc­cess­ful.”

Af­ford­able path­way

CSM’s nurs­ing path­way agree­ments can save stu­dents money. “CSM nurs­ing stu­dents have a clear path­way to­ward their bach­e­lor’s de­gree in nurs­ing by mak­ing them aware of the cour­ses needed to com­plete their four-year de­gree,” We­ber said. “This then al­lows them to take some of those classes at CSM at a lower cost. In most sit­u­a­tions the stu­dent will only need to com­plete 30 to 36 credit hours with the four-year in­sti­tu­tion, mak­ing the to­tal cost for the BSN much lower. Stevenson Univer­sity On­line gives the stu­dents a 20 per­cent dis­count while they are in the pro­gram. Even though it is a pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion, the cost of tu­ition and fees is less than some pub­lic schools. Con­ve­niently, Frost­burg State Univer­sity or Stevenson Univer­sity On­line will han­dle the nurs­ing stu­dent’s fed­eral fi­nan­cial aid while they are com­plet­ing their course­work at CSM.”

Both of the col­lege’s ATB pro­grams are on­line and can be com­pleted with­out leav­ing South­ern Mary­land. The ATB Op­tion at CSM has been made pos­si­ble through the gen­er­ous sup­port of Nurse Sup­port II Grants from the Mary­land Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion un­der the aus­pices of Mary­land’s Health Ser­vices Cost Re­view Com­mis­sion.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese path­way agree­ments with Frost­burg and Stevenson, CSM nurs­ing stu­dents can also ben­e­fit from a dual ad­mis­sion agree­ment with the Univer­sity of Mary­land School of Nurs­ing (UMSON). This agree­ment grants stu­dents pro­vi­sional ac­cep­tance to UMSON and al­lows them to com­plete sev­eral UMSON cour­ses on­line as “spe­cial sta­tus” stu­dents while en­rolled in the CSM nurs­ing pro­gram. Af­ter th­ese stu­dents earn their as­so­ciate of sci­ence de­gree at CSM, and take and pass the nurs­ing li­cen­sure exam, they can work to­ward a bach­e­lor of sci­ence in nurs­ing at UMSON.

To learn about th­ese nurs­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties at CSM, con­tact We­ber at 301-934-7638 or rwe­ber@

In ad­di­tion, CSM will host sev­eral Health Path­ways In­for­ma­tion Ses­sions in November to share in­for­ma­tion about all of the col­lege’s health pro­grams as well as in­for­ma­tion about the com­pet­i­tive ad­mis­sions and pe­ti­tion process. In­for­ma­tion ses­sions will be held Nov. 16 at the La Plata Cam­pus and Nov. 30 at the Prince Fred­er­ick Cam­pus. To RSVP, go to www.­grams-cour­ses/credit/ aca­demic-divi­sions/hea/health-sciences-in­for­ma­tion-ses­sions.


CSM nurs­ing stu­dents Tabitha Long of Char­lotte Hall, left, and Jen­nifer Nagy of Me­chan­icsville par­tic­i­pate in CSM’s as­so­ciate-to-bach­e­lor’s de­gree agree­ments — Long with Frost­burg State Univer­sity and Nagy with Stevenson Univer­sity On­line.

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