The nursing program at AU was ranked number one in the state of Indiana in 2019 by registerednursing.org.
“They looked at all the schools in the state of Indiana and ranked us number one,” said Lynn Schmidt, dean of the School of Nursing and Kinesiology. “They compiled five years of information, including NCLEX pass rates, which is the licensure exam that a student needs to become a nurse. Every nurse in the state takes the same exam. They look at the test scores for the rankings.”
Schmidt believes that the success of the nursing program stems from three core places.
“It’s because of the students that we have, the faculty members that we have and also the curriculum and the way that we develop learning opportunities for the students in their clinicals,” she said. “It’s not just one person or one group that accomplished this, but it was a group effort.”
What makes AU’s nursing program unique is their admissions process.
“Something that’s unique about AU is that we are able to accept everyone who meets the admissions requirements,” Schmidt said.
After students are admitted into the nursing program, the hands-on work begins.
“We have what we call ‘boot camp,’” said Schmidt. “If students do not have other clinical experiences, such as a certified nursing assistant or an emergency medical technician, then they come to boot camp two days before school starts.
“That’s where they learn what I call bed, bath and beyond. They are learning how to give a bed bath, transport a patient to a chair or wheelchair, take blood pressure, respiration, temperature, vital signs, use a walker, wheelchair, crutches and other assistive devices.”
When nursing students become sophomores, the program gets even more intensive with even more hands-on training.
“When they start the content in August, they are starting in their clinicals,” said Schmidt. “For the first seven weeks they do a full head-to-toe assessment and are learning that in the lab. After they do a check-off with that, they go into the clinical setting.”
The faculty aren’t the only Ravens proud of this accomplishment.
“It makes me feel really good that all the hard work from my peers and professors is paying off,” said junior nursing major Courtney Maher.
AU’s new ranking has brought some well-deserved recognition to the nursing program.
“Frankly, it’s pretty awesome,” said Provost Marie Morris. “I know that the faculty, staff and students in the nursing program have worked very hard to achieve this level of excellence. Nursing is not an easy field of study, and it says a lot about AU that our program was ranked number one.”
Taking careful steps forward will ensure that AU’s nursing program has a bright future ahead.
“First, we need to maintain that ranking, and we can always do more,” said Morris. “One way we are hoping to do more is to make sure there are enough nurses out there. This May, we will begin offering a second-degree accelerated nursing program for people who may have a bachelor’s degree in another field, but want to now pursue nursing.
“With the excellence of our program, I believe we can be a competitive alternative for people wanting to switch careers as we continue to meet the demand for quality professional nurses. “With a placement rate at 100 percent, I am sure the AU nursing program won’t be a secret for much longer.”