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Archive for Saturday, August 15, 1992

KU EDITION

August 15, 1992

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— Stretched to the limit. Absolutely full. Bursting at the seams.

Pick one of the above phrases and you'll have an accurate description of the enrollment picture at the Kansas University Medical Center's School of Nursing in Kansas City, Kan.

"We're at an all-time high in enrollment," says Eleanor Sullivan, dean of the school. The undergraduate school has hit its peak of 300 students, with 150 juniors and 150 seniors in the program, Sullivan said.

The graduate program also is at an all-time high, with 200 students in the master's program and 25 doctoral students.

"We are absolutely stretched to the limit in the number of master's students as well as doctoral students," Sullivan said.

She said nearly all of the students in the master's program are practicing nurses who are getting their advanced practice degree to be specialists or nursing managers.

FOR THE first time, Sullivan said, the school has had to close doctoral courses because they filled.

"The doctoral program is full because it stretches the limits of our research faculty," she said. "But I think we're pretty well meeting the needs of the graduate students. At the undergraduate level there are many, many more students wanting to come into this program than we can accommodate."

The school has had an enrollment surge because of the high demand for nurses, she said. Students have learned through the news media of the good salaries, career opportunities and job security associated with being a registered nurse.

"100 percent of our students were able to get jobs," Sullivan said. "We've also we've done a tremendous amount of recruitment. We have also promoted nursing throughout the state and have contributed to much of this good press about nursing."

Sullivan said the school now is planning a primary care nurse practitioner program at the master's level.

"What's so unique is that we're doing it in collaboration with Wichita State and Fort Hays State universities," she said. "We've already established a fast track program for registered nurses who have a community college degree for them to get a master's degree. This will be a fast track because of their experience in nursing, they'll be able to move much quicker and get a master's degree.

KUMC'S nursing school also is collaborating with the health services administration department on KU's Lawrence campus to offer a combined master's degree in nursing and a master's degree in health administration.

"We're expanding our continuing nursing education offerings by leaps and bounds," Sullivan said. "We're really moving into providing programs in nursing management."

In one program, the school is collaborating with the Midwest Bioethics Center, Kansas City, Mo., to offer a week-long nursing ethics intensive series.

The school also is expanding its continuing education with independent study programs for nurses in rural areas, she said.

"We're developing a faculty practice plan, where we will be contracting with others, such as hospitals, community health agencies and other schools of nursing, where we will contract with them for the faculty's time," Sullivan said.

SULLIVAN ALSO said the school's research activity "is just going great guns."

Funded projects target treatment of patients who are acutely ill, focus on activities in health promotion and involve nurse management training, she said.

The booming business has put a strain on school facilities at KUMC.

"We're bursting at the seams in our facilities," she said. "A new building for nurses has been proposed and is at the top of the list for the medical center in terms of funding."

The Kansas Board of Regents has already approved a proposal for a new $10 million facility for the school, she said. The official date to start planning is in the 1995 fiscal year, with construction staring two years after that. Sullivan the Kansas Legislature has not yet allocated any money for the building project.

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