Sixteen students are the first to receive a Master of Science degree for Entry to the Profession of Nursing (MEPN) from the University of Arizona College of Nursing at the Phoenix Campus. The students attended a celebration in Phoenix on Aug. 6, then joined the Tucson-based graduates of the same program at a commencement ceremony in Tucson on Aug. 8.
The MEPN is an accelerated nursing program for students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree who would like to enter the profession of nursing as registered nurses (RN). One class is admitted per year, with students beginning the 15-month program in May and completing it the following year in August.
“It’s exciting that we have the only program of this kind in Arizona and now are offering it at the Phoenix Campus,” said Terry A Badger, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, professor and director of the Community & Systems Health Science Division at the UA College of Nursing. “Students in the master entry to professional nursing program already have university degrees in other fields, and bring depth and breadth from their previous careers to nursing. MEPN graduates are going to be our future leaders and change agents in health care.”
The first Phoenix graduates hold degrees that include veterinary science, education, anthropology, exercise science, law, philosophy, biology and anatomy.
At the celebration, students were joined by Phoenix core faculty members Vladimir Semin, MS, CCRN; Deborah A. Gorombei, RN, MS, CFRN, LNCC; and Amy L. Haycraft, RN, MSN, ANP-C, as well as faculty from the Tucson campus, the students’ families and friends, and community partners who helped in their education.
For the first two years, the Phoenix-based MEPN program is being supported by the Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), which is directed by Sally J. Reel, PhD, RN, FNP, BC, FAAN, FAANP, associate dean of academic practice in the UA College of Nursing. Maricopa Integrated Healthcare System was pivotal in helping establish the Phoenix MEPN program and serves as the major clinical practice site. Students also learned nursing skills in several other Phoenix-area health-care agencies.