Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Goshen College to offer master’s degree in nursing this fall


How to learn more
An information session and reception for Goshen Collegeís new Master of Science degree in Nursing will be held at 7 p.m. on May 10 in Wyse Hall, Room 211, at the college. To learn more about the masterís degree go to or call (574) 535-7370.

GOSHEN, Ind. – Building on its 57-year history of educating nurses known for their excellent clinical knowledge, high ethical standards and caring attitudes, the Goshen College Nursing Department will offer a Master of Science degree in Nursing starting this fall, President James E. Brenneman announced Tuesday, May 1.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools officially accredited the new master’s program – with tracks for family nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader – on April 25. The commission accredits and grants membership in the commission and in the North Central Association to degree-granting educational institutions in Indiana and 18 other states.

Both courses of study for the new master’s degree are designed for part-time students, with courses meeting once per week during late afternoon and evening hoursand study to be completed over three years. The first cohort of students will begin August 2007.


“This new master’s degree program truly reflects the core values of Goshen College. Being a Christ-centered institution reminds us that central to Christ’s calling was his ministry of healing and hope,” President Brenneman said. “Goshen College’s Master of Science in Nursing will position our graduates to become leaders in community-based healthcare clinics in settings of great need, such as rural and inner-city urban areas. Other graduates of our program will become leaders in keeping health care accountable to the very best clinical practices. We are thankful to have received accreditation for such significant works of mercy.”


Since 1950, when the Goshen College nursing program became the first liberal arts college in Indiana to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, more than 1,400 graduates have established themselves in successful careers as registered nurses.


“The Goshen College nursing department has provided many years of academic excellence in nursing education,” said Goshen College Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Anita Stalter. “This new graduate program extends the knowledge and skills that are critical for meeting health needs – regionally, nationally and internationally. Goshen College undergraduate students will also benefit as they observe the continued professional development of nursing practitioners.”


In launching the master’s program, the college’s Nursing Department is continuing its tradition of responding to changing demographics and the need to add nurses to the workforce, said Associate Professor of Nursing Vicky Kirkton, the department chair.


Since 1998, the department has doubled the number of undergraduate nursing students, from 65 to 130 and increased the number of Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students from 10 to 50 students in response to the shortages. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) predicts that by 2015 half of the present nursing workforce of 2.6 million nurses will retire.


“In order to replace 1.3 million nurses into the workforce, higher education institutions are challenged to educate and lead the profession into the future,” Kirkton said. “The addition of the master’s in nursing program at Goshen College will assist in those efforts to address the critical shortages.”


The new master’s degree program will offer two specialty options:


·    The family nurse practitioner, who provides basic health care such as physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of common acute illness, management of minor chronic health conditions and ongoing patient education.


·    And the clinical nurse leader, who is a leader and expert clinician who assumes accountability for client care outcomes through the use of research-based information to design, implement and evaluate plans of care. It will be the first such program in the state.


Brenda Srof, professor of nursing and director of the new master’s program, said the decision to offer the family nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader tracks came from survey data and an analysis of professional trends.


“The family nurse practitioner was most desired by nurses completing our market analysis survey. This level of preparation continues to be important in the primary care arena,” Srof said. “The clinical nurse leader (CNL) is a cutting edge position that will continue to grow in response to the need for evidence-based nursing practice. There are currently no other programs in Indiana offering CNL preparation.”


The courses are designed to reflect the most current standards for graduate nursing education.


“We hope to provide classroom and clinical experiences that increase awareness and commitment to care for persons who may have limited access to healthcare. Our program outcomes are organized around the Goshen College core values,” Srof said.


The master’s program, which is designed for registered nurses who graduated from accredited baccalaureate programs, is expected to emphasize nursing care in a culturally diverse society. “We give heed to providing care that values understanding of the patient story. Included in this is a focus on care to those who are marginalized in our society,” Srof said.


Kirkton said the master’s program would offer other crucial advantages. “Our intent is to provide the same type of user-friendly model of nursing education that is academically rigorous and produces professional nurses that exhibit the Goshen College core values which are Christ-centered, passionate learners, servant leaders, global citizens and compassionate peacemakers,” she said. “Registered nurses are interested in small class sizes with one-on-one relationships with professors and a continued commitment to excellence.”


The new master’s program aligns with the historical commitment of the college to prepare persons in the service-oriented professions as “servant-leaders” for the church and world. It also is an outgrowth of planning within the department to meet the needs of students.


“As we experienced growth in the undergraduate program, students began to request the development of a graduate level curriculum within our department,” Srof said.


This Master’s Degree in Nursing is the college’s second master’s degree – after the Master of Arts degree in Environmental Education, which will begin in July.


For more information about Goshen College’s Master of Science in Nursing, visit or call (574) 535-7370.


For more information about The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools go to or call (312) 263-0456.


– by Richard R. Aguirre


Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or to request a photo, contact Richard R. Aguirre, Goshen College director of public relations, at (574) 535-7571 or




Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit

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Goshen College
1700 S Main St
Goshen, Indiana 46526
phone: +1 (574) 535-7569
fax: 535-7660