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The Baker University School of Nursing is now offering its first online master’s degree program. The master’s of science in nursing prepares students in one of two tracks, nursing administration or nursing education.

“Thus far, the Master of Science in Nursing program has exceeded my expectations,” student Sarah Lueger said. “I’ve learned more about nursing theory, nursing policy, and the various advanced roles in nursing than I ever anticipated in the two short semesters I’ve spent working towards my higher degree.”

The program, which developed after a two-year internal vetting process, received the blessing of the regional post-secondary accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, in October, said Carol Moore, associate dean of Baker School of Nursing.

“We did an extensive vetting process, which included sending out surveys and a whole feasibility study,” she said. “We had a very positive response.

“We have six PhD-prepared faculty, so we are well situated. We had time to put together a very solid program.”

The program is designed for working nurses who want to advance their careers by moving on to positions as nursing administrators or instructors in academic or institutional settings, Moore said. The online structure was chosen because it is anticipated many of the students also would have family obligations vying for their time as they complete the degree’s required 37 hours of course work, she said.

Baker offers a variety of degree programs online, from an associate of arts in business to a doctorate in education in educational leadership. The new nursing program is the school’s first master’s degree to be offered exclusively online, but Baker does offer an online option for six master’s level degrees.

Although there won’t be an announcement soon, Baker is studying adding additional master’s degrees with online options in logistics and analytics. When developing online programs, attention is given to high-touch instruction and strong personal relationships, which Lueger said is integral to her future in nursing.

“The faculty have done a wonderful job prompting us to think outside the box and apply what we’re learning to our futures in either nursing education or nursing administration,” she said. “I know when I enter into a position following completion of my degree, I will be more than prepared.”

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