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VUSN sees surge in masterís program enrollment

BY: KATHY RIVERS

3/06/2009 - More students than ever are turning to Vanderbilt University School of Nursing for their master's education.

The school has experienced a 42 percent increase in applications over 2008 and has nearly doubled the number of applications since 2007.

“Those who pursue nursing are making a good career move,” said Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of VUSN. “Nurses can go anywhere and do anything and, in this economy, nursing is bulletproof.”

VUSN offers a variety of entry points for non-nurses and nurses en route to a master of science in nursing (M.S.N.) degree in one of 12 different specialties. More than 600 potential candidates attended the school's two annual open house events for master's students, one of which was held last week.

“I'm going to work until I'm in my 70s, and I want to be able to advance in a good field,” said Tiffany East, a 34-year-old registered nurse from Louisville, Ky. “Vanderbilt is one of the few schools I've looked at that has a distance-learning program which allows me to still work and live near family and friends while learning.”

The M.S.N. program has capacity for 340 new students — including both nurses and non-nurses. There is a wait list for most non-nurse slots for this fall, but there is still space available for students who will enter the program as a registered nurse.

“We are still reviewing files and making decisions,” said Paddy Peerman, R.N., the school's assistant dean for Enrollment. “In addition to the quantity, the quality of our applicant pool just keeps getting stronger.”

Degree offerings at VUSN include a master's, Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). In addition, the school offers a post-master's certificate and post-doctoral fellowships. For more information, e-mail vusn-admissions@vanderbilt.edu or call 322-3800.

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