Millikin's Master's Entry into Nursing Practice among programs addressing nursing shortage
According to a recent report from the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center, an aging workforce could mean a nursing shortage in Illinois in the next five years.
Of more than 31,000 registered nurses in Illinois surveyed last year, 52 percent said they were 55 years of age or older and 27 percent told surveyors they plan to retire within the next five years.
Millikin University's School of Nursing is doing its part to address the shortage by teaching and developing qualified nurses.
In a recent interview with WAND-TV, Dr. Elizabeth Gephart, acting director of the School of Nursing at Millikin said, "What we're looking at is a need for nurses, not only at the bedside in hospitals but also in community settings. We're looking at shortages in nursing faculties. We're even looking at shortages of nurses in specialty areas like nurse practitioner."
Among the programs in the School of Nursing that are helping meet the demands is the Master's Entry into Nursing Practice (MENP) track. Started in 2010, the track has become a career-changing opportunity. It's designed for students who already hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree and are interested in entering the nursing field.
"What we've really done is try to focus on finding entry points for as many different people – finding people who've worked in another field and want to come into nursing or studied in another field and want to come into nursing," Gephart said.
The MENP track is an intensive, fast-paced curriculum delivered in the classroom and clinical and practical settings five days a week, providing the opportunity for entry level nursing practice into the graduate level. The program can be completed in 26 months.
During the MENP program, students complete the clinical courses that students would normally complete in Millikin's traditional undergraduate nursing program. Additionally, they are completing master's level courses. Successful students are awarded a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) upon graduation and are prepared to take the professional registered nurse licensure exam (NCLEX-RN) as well as the Nurse Educator Certification exam.
Millikin MENP students have earned a 100 percent pass rate for the professional registered nurse licensure exam (NCLEX) every year since 2010.
"I always knew I wanted to work in health care, but I wasn't sure what field, and so I earned a human physiology degree," said MENP student Nina Pliakos of Bettendorf, Iowa. "I decided to come back because I love how nurses work with patients during every step of their illness."