Home » Spalding University stands out for face-to-face, traditional nursing grad program

Spalding University stands out for face-to-face, traditional nursing grad program


As Spalding University adjunct lecturer Collan Darnall taught a recent nursing procedures lab for master’s students, he was demonstrating points about treating lacerations that required careful explanation.

He taught the five students in the classroom how to prep and clean different cuts. He explained the options of numbing medications and their dosages. He reviewed methods for suturing.

The students asked quick questions throughout, and Darnall answered them immediately. If they needed him to repeat something, he did so, including making an occasional joke that made the students chuckle and stay engaged.

And when the students practiced suturing on pieces of soft leather, Darnall walked around the classroom to check how everyone was doing.

The teacher-student interactions in the Spalding lab that day accentuated the benefits of a traditional classroom setting for nurse-practitioner students.

healthky17-300In an age when online nursing programs are ubiquitous, Spalding’s master of science in nursing (MSN) is a program still rooted in the face-to-face approach to teaching, and Spalding’s future nurse practitioners say that makes all the difference.

“It’s face-to-face where I can ask the instructor questions and get answers right away instead of waiting for days for someone to answer online,”
Spalding MSN student Sabina Sisic said. “That was my thing. That was the reason I came to Spalding. I like the hands-on, and I like to hear in person. You don’t actually get to hear (instructors’) personal stories or personal
experiences online.”

MSN student Danielle Lunsford said those face-to-face relationships mean students at the downtown Louisville campus are “held accountable”
by the instructors who have gotten to know them so well.

“I know that any of the faculty (at Spalding) can name any of these students, where they’re working, what they want to do, what are their interests, where they struggle,” said Darnall, a nurse practitioner who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Spalding. “… I don’t think you get that connection with an online program, and it’s partially a skills-based occupation, so you’re really missing that part of it in a strictly
online program.”

The MSN students also said they were drawn to the convenience of Spalding’s longtime practice of coordinating and placing students in their clinical preceptorships instead of the students having to find preceptors for themselves.

That is huge,” Sisic said. “We have full-time school, full-time work and full-time families.”

Katie Davis said Spalding’s MSN faculty offer a personal touch in helping students like her. For example, Spalding created a fall session of a lab course solely to accommodate the schedules of her and a few classmates. Davis doubted that a large university or an online-only program would have done the same.

Speaking of labs, Sisic said she likes that Spalding’s procedures courses, such as the suturing lab, are part of the standard on-campus MSN curriculum. She said a friend of hers in a different nursing program had to pay several hundred dollars on top of her tuition to take a private procedures lab similar to the one Darnall was teaching at Spalding.

It’s all part of the culture of personal, face-to-face learning in Spalding’s historic nursing program. 

“Spalding provides an opportunity to be in the classroom with highly experienced educators and nurse practitioners to have your questions immediately answered,” said Pam King, who directs Spalding’s nursing graduate programs. “It’s a chance to work through case studies as a group with other expert nurses and to have the give-and-take of an interaction of helping you figure out how to see different patients and approach different health care problems.”

For more information, visit Spalding.edu/Nursing

Why a Spalding MSN?

• More than 95 percent of Spalding MSN graduates pass their board certification on the first try–a pass rate greater than the national average.

• U.S. News & World Report ranks nurse practitioner No. 2 in The 100 Best Jobs of 2017.

• Employment of advanced practice nurse practitioners is predicted to grow 31 percent through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• Visit Spalding.edu/nursing for more information.

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