AU celebrates National Nurses Week

Anderson, Ind. — Anderson University is celebrating National Nurses Week by taking a look back at the history of its nursing program, and how it has grown and adapted as AU enters its second century of faith and service. Officially enacted by President Richard Nixon in 1974, National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

The nursing program at Anderson University (then Anderson College) was introduced in 1973 as a two-year associate degree. The launch of the major was in direct response to a need for nurses in the community. Saint John’s Hospital in Anderson had closed its diploma program and had asked the college to fill the void. The program was met with immediate success and produced 75 graduates in its first class.

In the late ’80s, the university began discussing the addition of the liberal arts component to the degree. A two-plus-two configuration—an associate’s degree combined with two years of additional courses—served as a transition to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) that accepted its first students in the fall of 1988.

For many years, the program has incorporated an international experience into the students’ senior year. Past years have seen nursing teams work at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in Calcutta, an orphanage in Korea, clinics in Honduras and the Dominican Republic, and more. In the 2018-19 school year, nursing students will have the option to travel to Uganda, Alaska, or a selection of Midwest cities with a high Jewish population.

Today, the AU School of Nursing is widely recognized as one of the top nursing programs in Indiana. Faculty and staff work daily to provide students with a Christ-centered community of learning that prepares students in an evidence-based approach to patient care, with preparation for the RN licensure exam (NCLEX-RN) as a top priority. In 2017, 100% of graduating seniors successfully completed the NCLEX licensure examination on the first attempt.

Students, staff, and faculty alike have great things to say about the program. Regan Donnell, a recent 2018 graduate of the nursing program, earned a position with Community Hospital North in the ICU before even graduating. “My nursing professors have taught me so much and have showed me how to be a caring nurse,” she said. “Going into my career, I feel prepared to care for patients holistically, not just focusing on their physical needs.”

Mia Kimmerling, School of Nursing recruiter and office assistant, had an interesting introduction to AU’s nurses before joining the staff. A few years ago, she was at the emergency room with a family member, whose nurse was having a difficult time finding a vein for his IV. “So she said, ‘Is there anybody here from AU?’ And so another nurse came in and literally within five seconds had an IV started,” she said. Kimmerling now knows that the AU School of Nursing teaches students how to start an IV early in the program, so they become quite efficient at it, and she loves to tell that story.

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.

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