“A huge bonus”: Traverse City Concurrent BSN Program

Faster, flexible, local, hands-on and affordable. What’s not to love?

For students in and near Traverse City, those advantages combine to make Davenport’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing concurrent program nothing less than “a huge bonus” toward fulfilling their educational dreams.

Thanks to an innovative partnership with Northwestern Michigan Community College (NMC) and Munson Medical Center that’s now in its 5th year, students can complete their BSN in just two semesters after graduating from the NMC associates program. They do it by taking Davenport BSN courses during the summer between their first and second years in the NMC program. So once they finish their associate’s degree, they already have a head start on their BSN.

In addition to being a boon for area students, the value of the program to Munson and the Traverse City community is also substantial: By producing more BSN grads more quickly, it’s addressing a critical workforce need.

Karen Daley, Ph.D., RN, dean of Davenport’s College of Health Professions, says the program was purposefully created so students can earn a BSN locally without “being adrift on their own in online.” In-seat classes are available at the University Center on the NMC campus and the clinical component occurs at Munson. Personal mentoring, advice and encouragement are readily available as needed.

In August, the Traverse City concurrent program was further localized when Tamara Putney, MSN, RN, NE-BC, was hired as its onsite program coordinator. Because she’s also the director of nursing for Critical Care Services at Munson and a certified nurse executive, Putney knows the local community and all three partnering institutions firsthand. In addition to running the program, she’s teaching courses and interacting informally day-to-day with students doing their clinical work at Munson. Because person-to-person interaction is such an essential aspect of nursing, it’s also an important part of a nurse’s education, she notes.

As a single mom paying her own way through school, Melanie Crawford of Rapid City appreciates the convenience of being able to complete some of her BSN requirements online. At the same time, she values what she’s gaining by being able to take courses in person. “There are some things that can’t be learned by simply reading a book and doing interaction online,” she says. “For instance, the leadership and management class I’m taking now. Without the face-to-face interaction and real-life experience of the instructor, I don’t think you can get as much out of it.”

Comparable concurrent nursing programs are now offered in five other Michigan cities. During the past five years, 57 students have enrolled. Of these, fifteen have graduated, seven are graduating in December and 27 are currently in progress.

“Our goal is to make sure we’re meeting the workforce needs of our communities,” says Daley. “We’re thrilled that we’re able to address this in a way that complements the BSN completion and gets students through as quickly as possible. It’s really meeting our mission and vision.”


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