The following is an excerpt from the NurseTogether.com Community Chat Session with Dr. Catherine Garner, former Dean of Health Science and Nursing at American Sentinel A University. The hour long online moderated event utilized “instant chat” for the question and answer format between NurseTogether members and our guest host, Dr. Garner.
NT.com Q: Can we telecommute from Florida to your college?
American Sentinel A: You can be anywhere to be in our program. It's entirely online.
NT.com Q: How can I get information sent to me concerning this program and its start date?
American Sentinel A: We start classes every month, so no waiting on semesters. Go to www.americansentinel.edu.
NT.com Q: Does ASU have military bill facilitators?
American Sentinel A: We are a military friendly school and do work with the VA and with GI funding.
NT.com Q: Although this may be redundant, is "Informatics" congruent to "Health Care Advocacy/Facilitator"?
American Sentinel A: Informatics is a growing area as hospitals and physician practices move to electronic medical records and computerization of care delivery systems. Many companies who sell and install this software and hardware hire nurses to do the training of healthcare professionals.
NT.com Q: Would it be correct to say that a graduate of this program could call themselves a clinical nurse specialist? Are they qualified to sit for the certifying exams?
American Sentinel A: You would not be considered a clinical nurse specialist. You would be qualified to sit for certifications in either Case Management, Infection Prevention and Control, or Nursing Informatics.
American Sentinel comment: A clinical nurse specialist is one who has a great deal of expertise in a clinical area: heart, cancer, diabetes, geriatrics, etc.
NT.com Q: If you have to choose between Nurse Educator and Nurse Leadership, which do you think is best?
American Sentinel A: It would depend upon your career goals. If you want to be a nurse manager or director then leadership. If you want to teach, choose education.
NT.com Q: What would it take to combine Informatics and Education as far as the time commitment?
American Sentinel A: Combining the two would entail five additional courses x eight weeks. This would be 40 weeks if you take one at a time.
NT.com Q: I haven't seen many jobs available in Informatics.
American Sentinel A: Go to CareerBuilders.com and search “Informatics” or “Information Systems” and you will find lots of jobs. Many companies such as GE, Perot, Cerner, etc. have listings on their websites for employment.
NT.com Q: Is it realistic to double up on classes?
American Sentinel A: It depends on the time you have available. If you are working full-time and have a family, I would recommend that you not double up.
NT.com member comment: I'm not working and have no kids at home. American Sentinel respond: Then you could realistically take three courses at a time and be done in a year!
NT.com Q: I only need around 9 credits to obtain a master’s degree and would like to teach and finish with the online tract. Which school is best for accreditation?
American Sentinel A: American Sentinel A is an accredited university. Our degrees are comparable to any other accredited university. For information on tuition, visit www.americansentinel.edu. Nursing accreditation should be with CCNE or NLNAC to be considered.
NT.com Q: Can you expand on what a typical week as an online student with ASU would entail?
American Sentinel A: A typical online week involves reading and spending at least two hours in the online classroom in a discussion of the week's topic with the instructor and the other students. Typically, there is an assignment each week - this could be a paper, a debate, or interviews with nursing leaders. Generally, there is one major project per course.
NT.com Q: Does your university use GI benefits for education?
American Sentinel A: Yes, we do. We have been recognized as one of the top ten "Military Friendly" universities three years in a row! Visit http://www.americansentinel.edu/Military/index.php to review the military benefits.
NT.com Q: Can you explain the difference in CCNE or NLNAC?
American Sentinel A: Both CCNE and NLNAC are the only accreditors of nursing programs. The key difference is that CCNE only accredits BSN, MSN and doctoral programs, while NLN accredits AD, BSN, MSN and doctoral programs in nursing.
NT.com Q: I will be starting my Nurse Leadership Management class with GCU on the 19th but can't take the capstone course until the remaining courses are completed. Any suggestions?
American Sentinel A: Most programs do not allow you to do a capstone until all classes are complete. Sometimes the dean will make an exception and allow you to take the capstone and the last class together.
NT.com Q: Along that same line, what exactly does the capstone course entail?
American Sentinel A: The capstone is a project that lets us know that you have mastered the elements of the program.
NT.com Q: I have IT concerns for these courses. I have an old OS on my machine. What is supported by ASU in order to be a student accordingly?
American Sentinel A: Windows 3.0 and higher will allow you to work online. You will want to invest in high speed internet access.
NT.com Q: I'm a diploma graduate and have been a nurse for 40 years. I've taken many university classes but never formally obtained my BSN. Will these be credited to an MSN?
American Sentinel A: We would evaluate the classes taken to determine whether they would count toward a BSN or MSN.
NT.com Q: I have an ADN and want to fast track. Can you give an approximate time frame for completion of the MSN?
American Sentinel A: Typically, you would complete it in 2 1/2 to 3 years.
NT.com Q: What about the life/work experience credit?
American Sentinel A: Transfer credits and credit for life experience are granted on an individual basis. We will do an evaluation for free, so contact our admissions department for more information.
NT.com Q: I have unofficial transcripts; who would I send them to?
American Sentinel A: For transcript information, visit www.americansentinel.edu.
NT.com Q: I have a BA in Psychology (where I did extensive health related research) and an ADN. How long to obtain my MSN?
American Sentinel A: American Sentinel A has a “fast track” program where you take 7 courses from the BSN and, if you make B’s in all courses, you can transfer immediately into the MSN program.
NT.com Q: I attended another MSN program for an NP program but could not complete it. Can I transfer any credits towards a MSN in Informatics?
American Sentinel A: Here is the link that provides information about transfer credits - http://www.americansentinel.edu/Admissions/Transfer_Credits.php
NT.com Q: Who are the faculty at ASU?
American Sentinel A: The RN to MSN faculty have all worked as nurses, and many continue in active practice so that they can relate to the daily demands and pressures you face in the work environment. All have either master’s degrees or doctoral degrees and many have additional specialty certifications. Our faculty have published and done research in nursing so they are quite accomplished. You will find that they come from all over the United States and many have worked internationally. They are all committed to teaching.
NT.com Q: How are students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees + ADN viewed?
American Sentinel A: Students with ADN and non-nursing bachelor’s degrees are admitted to the fast track program like anyone else.
NT.com Q: So I don't receive any advanced standing for having two bachelor’s degrees, extensive research experience, and a lot of work experience? My hospital considers bachelor’s non-nursing + ADN to be the equivalent of a BSN.
American Sentinel A: Academia is much further behind in nursing than practice. We will look at your transcripts and consider work experience for credit.
NT.com Q: This might be a dumb question, but if I have my RN and obtain say, an MSN in Infection Control or Case Management, would that 'qualify' for the requirements of many future jobs for having a BSN?
American Sentinel A: Yes, it would put you ahead of the pack!
NT.com Q: How many classes are included in the MSN program?
American Sentinel A: MSN is 12 classes, each eight weeks in length, and 36 credits total.
NT.com Q: Are your programs strictly MSN or are there NP programs as well?
American Sentinel A: We do not offer nurse practitioner programs. If you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, it is best to go with a program that prepares you all the way through, as the courses are very different. Every university decides its own transfer policy for courses.
NT.com Moderator: I would suggest going with a "brick and mortar" school rather than online when pursuing an NP program.
American Sentinel A: Yes, I would strongly suggest brick and mortar for NP programs.
NT.com Q: I did do a bridge RN to MSN course at a local university that was a public health course and worked in a local jail. I am hoping that could transfer as the public health component.
American Sentinel A: Sounds like your jail project would certainly count!
NT.com Q: Would it be possible to acquire assistance from ASU? For example, obtaining transcript information from a university I've been having issues with?
American Sentinel A: Sure. Just let our admissions advisors know and they will be happy to help.
NT.com Q: What is the cost per credit?
American Sentinel A: Tuition information can be found here - http://www.americansentinel.edu/Financial_Info/Tuition_and_Fees.php
NT.com Q: Dr. Garner, I see in your bio that you have done some pretty awesome projects in Central America. Does ASU provide international opportunities for the MSN students?
American Sentinel A: We can facilitate international projects for you. Some of our faculty actually live and teach from other countries.
NT.com Q: Does ASU offer one on one counseling throughout any tract pursued with a student?
American Sentinel A: We have specific student academic advisors for our nursing students and our faculty are always available for one on one career guidance. They are varied in background and expertise, and have valuable contacts as well.
NT.com member comment: Thank you. I am so glad I joined the chat.
American Sentinel respond: NurseTogether.com has made this very fun, even if my fingers hurt later from typing!
NT.com member comment: LOL! I understand that. And yes, it has also been a fun way of obtaining valuable information!
NurseTogether comment: It is rare to have one on one time with the dean!
NT.com member respond: We are chatting with the dean? REALLY?
NT.com member comment: The dean at my school walks the hallways and some people don't even know she is the dean...she is unapproachable, does not smile, and she might as well be metal...Kudos to Dr. Garner for taking the time out.
American Sentinel respond: I love to talk with students and laugh. You need to have fun or give it up - students are why we are here!
American Sentinel comment: This always goes so fast. Thank you so much for having me and I invite you all to learn more about American Sentinel A University. We are very proud of our nursing programs and of our many students and graduates.
To request additional information or for further questions about American Sentinel A’s RN to BSN program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.