A group of nursing students studying in the simulation labs.

Photo courtesy of Carroll College

As one of 17 students enrolled in Carroll College’s inaugural class of accelerated nursing, 21-year-old Haley Morgan feels more like a student than a number.

“Despite its intensity, the faculty are unwavering in their support, willing to go beyond the classroom to work with us one-on-one when we sometimes find ourselves struggling with the heavy burden of everything,” Morgan said. “With their support, positive attitude, and focus on self-care, we know without a doubt that we will be ready to take on our responsibilities beyond graduation with the diligence and discipline required to practice. the nursing profession in all settings, come what may. ”

Students can have a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing

Carroll’s track is designed for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and are looking for new opportunities. Students in this track build on their previous degree, taking the additional coursework and clinical experiences necessary to become a registered nurse. Unlike a traditional nursing track, the 15-month intensive accelerated track features a fast-paced study program that includes six- to eight-week sections with longer courses, clinics, and labs. The shorter, more intense track allows Carroll to help meet the growing regional and national need for nurses with a bachelor’s degree more quickly.

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More recently, with the support of Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and Accelerate Montana, Carroll College will be able to award 16 scholarships to students who intend to work as nurses in Montana after graduation. Full-time students who are new to the program will be eligible to apply, with scholarships awarded based on incoming GPA and financial need. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the Carroll Admissions Team and the Financial Aid Office for more information.

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Simulation labs play an important role in enhancing student learning

Photo courtesy of Carroll College

Simulation labs enhance learning

In addition to personal attention from staff and faculty, Morgan said the track benefits from the new EL Wiegand Nursing Simulation Center on campus, which features three state-of-the-art simulation labs with seven nursing manikins. high fidelity patient simulation and an observation room. Realistic mannequins mimic human anatomy and physiology and can simulate real patient scenarios.

“I’m so impressed with the equipment and technology we have at our fingertips,” Morgan said. “These high-fidelity patient simulators are amazing because they have the ability to ‘breathe’, have measurable blood pressure and variable heart rates, and look so real you feel like you’re working with a real human body. Simulators give us so much more hands-on experience that more closely mirrors real-life scenarios, allowing us to hone our skills, while simultaneously helping us develop our critical thinking ability.

Students gain a solid perspective of their fellow students

And speaking of real life, Morgan touts his fellow students’ varied backgrounds, which makes learning at an accelerated pace that much more interesting.

“We have students who have been in the military and others who have worked in hospitals, genetics labs, emergency care and psychiatric wards, to name a few,” Morgan said. “These shared experiences add a lot of perspective to the program.”

And while the pandemic served as the backdrop for her education from day one, Morgan doesn’t think she necessarily encouraged people to want to become nurses any more than they did before.

“Those who have a desire to help others, I think, have always had that tendency. What I think the pandemic has done for us is enlighten us and prepare us even more for what we are in. we engage,” said Morgan. “We have seen, firsthand, the effect of staffing shortages, burnout, increased need for self-care among healthcare professionals. This environment has not only clarified our personal need and our desire to help, but provided us with the discipline and diligence to hone our skills to enable us to do our jobs with an even greater sense of purpose.

Although Carroll College graduates can find nursing jobs anywhere in the country, and many are eager to do so, Morgan plans to stay in her home country to practice, preferably as a oncology nurse. Her class graduated from the program in August 2022.

For more information on Carroll College’s accelerated nursing track, visit carroll.edu/nursing/accelerated-nursing.

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