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Motivated nursing students strike gold

New ticket accelerates admission into TWU’s respected nursing program 

Time was on the side of nearly 35 candidates interviewing for admission to the Tennessee Wesleyan University-Fort Sanders Nursing program.

That, and the hard work they already had put into their pre-nursing courses.

After completing their interviews, these select students received the program’s first-ever “golden tickets” that signified their acceptance into the esteemed nursing program.

“The nursing faculty wanted to do something to let the students who exceeded our admission criteria know we wanted them to pick TWU-FSN as soon as their interview was complete,” said Lisa Kirkland, associate dean of nursing and health and human performance.

This is exactly what TWU sophomore Sarah McFarland from Knoxville, Tennessee, needed to put her mind at ease. McFarland said she always planned to attend TWU for four years and receive her bachelor’s degree, but she was anxious about whether she’d get accepted to become a nurse.

She now knows that if she completes her coursework and maintains her GPA she will begin the nursing program in fall 2018. This will get closer to her goal of serving as a neonatal nurse practitioner.

“It was the best feeling having that weight lifted off my shoulders when I had that ticket in my hands,” she said. “I’m still excited about it to this day, and I’m sure I will be for weeks to come.”

McFarland met the golden ticket requirements because she is enrolled as a pre-nursing student, has at least a 3.25 science GPA and is taking her last two pre-nursing science courses.

Answering the nursing call 

Among the other students who met the requirements is Yasmine Carter. The sophomore from Etowah, Tennessee, was equally as surprised and overcome with emotion when she received her golden ticket.

Such recognition was proof positive to Carter that her hard work has paid off and gotten her closer becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner.

“It is also important to me because I have a passion for helping and giving back to others, and I think nursing will be a great opportunity for me to do this,” Carter said. “My TWU experiences have lead me to realize that nursing is like my calling and all of my classes have prepared me for such career needs to this point.”

The golden tickets brought excitement for both the faculty and the applicants who received them. Kirkland said she hopes this concept catches on and motivates other pre-nursing students to exceed program admission criteria and eventually receive a golden ticket during their face-to-face interviews.

“Recruiting and accepting the brightest and best pre-nursing students to become a part of our team will enhance the quality of our nursing program as we graduate nurses who positively impact patient care outcomes – no matter where they go to work,” Kirkland said.

Program strengthens educational partnership 

The Tennessee Wesleyan University-Fort Sanders Nursing department evolved from a partnership between two highly respected educational institutions in East Tennessee in 1999.

The rich heritage of nursing education at Fort Sanders School of Nursing in Knoxville — operated by Covenant Health/Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center— merged with the historic tradition of Tennessee Wesleyan in providing quality education to the community. This initiative created a baccalaureate degree nursing program for traditional and registered nurse students.

Since 2001, TWU-FSN has graduated 749 traditional BSN students and 44 RN-BSN students, Kirkland said. There currently are approximately 100 traditional students enrolled in upper division nursing courses and 30 in the RN-BSN online program.

Continuing this educational tradition will be Karri Jones. The sophomore from Lenoir City, Tennessee, said receiving the golden ticket will motivate her to continue working hard.

“This school has given me an exceptional support system and perseverance to keep looking up when it gets hard because it is defiantly not easy,” Jones said. “I am extremely excited for this opportunity to continue being a part of TWU and its wonderful nursing program.”

Nursing – an industry in demand 

How important is the nursing industry?

Registered Nursing is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Employment Projections 2014-2024.”

The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.7 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2024, an increase of 439,300 or 16 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects the need for 649,100 replacement nurses in the workforce bringing the total number of job openings for nurses due to growth and replacements to 1.09 million by 2024.