JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "When I began teaching at the Stark Campus, I knew that nursing should be offered as a four-year program," says Kathryn Cartechine, assistant professor of nursing at Kent State University Stark Campus in North Canton, Ohio.
In 2006, the largest Regional Campus of Kent State University expanded its four-year degree programs to allow students to earn their bachelor's in nursing, making it one of the 11 undergraduate programs offered by the campus. In May, the first graduates to have taken all of their courses at the Stark Campus will proudly walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Among those will be Shellee Wandel, a student who feels that the faculty and instruction she received at Kent State Stark will be a strong foundation for her future career in nursing. "I believe I am fully prepared," she says. "Our instructors are amazing resources. They're currently working in the same fields that they're teaching, so they are able to train us on the latest treatments and methods."
Cartechine spoke of the nursing faculty's knowledge and expertise. "Each is an expert in a specialty area in which students have interest, giving them the ability to mentor them in a specific field of study."
Another soon-to-be graduate is Susan Tortora, who began college at the Kent Campus, but transferred to the Stark Campus to complete the nursing program. "I'm glad I decided to come here," says Tortora. "This campus is really big on student-teacher interaction. The faculty are a strong network of support. They go the extra mile by getting to know the students, becoming familiar with our work ethics, even giving us their cell phone numbers. They're that accessible."
Wandel agreed with Tortora, saying that the faculty ensures student success by helping them when they notice a problem. "If you get a bad test score, that instructor is going to seek you out to figure out what went wrong," she says. "They make us feel like they have a vested interest in us."
Keeping a close watch on the students' progress provides that special connection between the faculty and their class members, according to Cartechine. "The students really like the small class sizes and they appreciate having the same instructor for class and clinicals. It gives them a secure continuity of guidance and support," she says.
Both Wandel and Tortora already have confirmed positions in local hospitals upon graduation. With healthcare taking the lead as the fastest-growing industry in Ohio, the nursing program at Kent State Stark is very selective, taking only 40 students per year. In fall 2007, the Stark Campus hired four additional nursing faculty to accommodate the demand for nurses in the area.
"These nursing graduates are evidence of the campus' commitment to this program. This wouldn't have happened without the support of the deans," says Cartechine, in reference to Kent State Stark Dean Betsy V. Boze and Associate Dean Ruth Capasso. "Having this four-year program attracts qualified, strong students. It's an unbelievable experience to watch them mature to graduation."
SOURCE Kent State University Stark Campus