New Nursing Program Approved by
Michigan State Board of Nursing
Posted December 3, 2001
HOLLAND -- The department of nursing at Hope
College has received approval for its new program from the
Michigan State Board of Nursing.
"We are very pleased to have received full
approval from the board," said Debra Sietsema, who is chair
of the department and an assistant professor of nursing.
"It's both an affirmation of what we have to offer students
and an essential endorsement as our students become
graduates and seek careers in the field."
Although the new bachelor of science program
begins this spring, nursing has a nearly 20-year history at
Hope, which has offered a major jointly with Calvin College
of Grand Rapids since 1982. While the cooperative
arrangement has given the two schools an opportunity to pool
resources, according to Sietsema each is now ready to take
its own approach. The Hope-Calvin program will conclude
with graduation in 2003.
Sietsema noted that the Hope bachelor of science
in nursing is emphasizing service and connection to the
college's hometown of Holland, and linking coursework with
application. "It's just very fitting to have nursing here
at Hope College when you think about the service-oriented
mission that's here, the connection to the community and the
college's tradition of academic excellence," she said.
The program's corresponding community-based
approach is designed to help meet needs in the community
while preparing the college's nursing students to serve in a
variety of settings.
"In community-based nursing, we're preparing
nurses to care for people's health wherever they are,
whether at the hospital, school, home, work or other
settings," she said. "We're looking forward to having more
connection with agencies on the lakeshore, working in
partnership with them as they assist a diverse range of
Sietsema anticipates, for example, that through
ties to the Holland Community Hospital Foundation nursing
students will be matched with underserved families to help
them identify their health needs and find the resources to
match. On-going coursework will be integrated in a variety
of ways. A student studying pharmacology might survey the
medications in the home and help assure that the family
members understand their safe use.
She sees the program's emphasis on service and
caring as natural reflections of the college's Christian
character. All students will participate in a research
project, an extension of the college's traditional emphasis
on research-based learning in the natural and physical
sciences. In addition, every spring-semester senior will
participate in a 10-week internship that will pair the
student with a nurse for 20-24 hours each week for an
intensive immersion in the profession.
The nursing major will require 48 credit hours to
complete. The program has been structured for 32 students
at each class level--sophomore, junior and senior. It will
start with 27 students in January.
"We're very pleased with that number," Sietsema
said. "It's more than we've ever had in the Hope contingent
in the Hope-Calvin program."
The sophomore-level start gets students into
nursing a year earlier than in the joint program -- a move
prompted in part by student and alumni input.
"Our students wished to get involved in their
professional education earlier in their education," Sietsema
said. "Spreading their work across a third year will also
enable them to stay more integrated with the rest of the
college, which they have missed with the more condensed two-
To help assure continuity, the new Hope program
will run alongside the joint program for the next year-and-
a-half, with the sophomores who enroll this spring
graduating in May of 2004.
The approval from the state runs through 2005, and
is crucial, Sietsema noted, in enabling the program's
graduates to take the state licensing examination, and to
attend graduate school should they choose to do so.
Next, the department will be seeking accreditation
through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
(CCNE), which accredits baccalaureate and higher degree
nursing programs. The goal is to have received
accreditation by the time the first class graduates.