Are you ready to transition your career to nursing? Watch this virtual info session with our nursing faculty as they talk through our innovative online Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice program.



  • Laura Minarich, Master's Entry in Nursing Program Director
  • Danielle Corliss, MENP Student
  • Mia Fiore, MENP Student

Runtime: 53 min
Date: May 24, 2022

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Katie Macaluso

Hello, everyone and welcome. My name is Katie Macaluso. I'll be your moderator for today. We want to thank you so much for joining us for today's presentation about the Online Masters Entry in Nursing Practice program at Elmhurst University.

Whether you're early in your program search, I know some of you here have also already applied, wherever you kind of are in the process, we hope today's webinar will be really informative and kind of help share a few things that maybe you didn't already know.

With that said, we're going to go ahead and jump into our housekeeping items here. For housekeeping, this event is being recorded for future viewing.

We will send out that link after the webinar, so you're welcome to kind of go back and take a look later. All attendees today are muted. If you do have any questions, please use that question and answer box at the bottom of your screen at any time.

If you're having any audio issues, definitely use that as well for us, but otherwise we'll save all questions that we received for the end in our Q& A section.

All right, so here's a quick look at the agenda for today. We're going to talk about the university, we'll kind of go through the program overview and touch on some of the key elements of the program, including the Clinical Nurse Leader Focus, the residency, clinicals, the student experience and then touch on the application process and requirements.

And then of course, save room for your questions. And then here is a look at our speakers on today's webinar.

Today we're joined by Laura Minarich. She is the program director for the Masters Entry in Nursing Practice program. Dr. Minarich is a family nurse practitioner and a certified clinical nurse leader.

She has areas of interest in pediatrics and primary prevention for the family and the community. And then joining her, our two current students in the program, Danielle Corliss and Mia Fiore.

I'm actually going to save their backgrounds for them. They'll be sharing more about their background and why they chose the program when we get to the student experience section. And then we have Nancy Hamernik, our senior enrollment advisor.

She's been with the program since it launched, and she'll be able to kind of talk to about the application process and the admissions team. With all of that said, we're going to go ahead and jump right in to about the university and I'll pass it over to you, Dr.


Dr. Laura Minarich

Hey everyone. It's nice to see you and nice to have you here. Thank you again for joining. I am going to just share a little bit about the university in general and then get into some of the nitty gritty about the MENP program and what it looks like to be a student here from my perspective, before we hand it over to our students.

So Elmhurst University, as you can see here, this is a picture of our field or the quad area where students and faculty tend to mingle. It was established in 1871.

So we've been around for some time. We're in the middle of Elmhurst, which is a small town in the Western suburbs of Chicago for those of you not familiar. We are a private university aligned with the United Church of Christ.

And what we really pride ourself on here at the university is the passionate and supportive community that we offer to our students and our faculty and really anyone who is on campus with us and/ or in clinical specific to the nursing program.

With that, we value personal growth, human rights and social justice. And those values really carry through the entire curriculum that we'll talk about in a couple of minutes. And then specifically, we have been recognized by many very reputable organizations, US World& News Report, Money and Forbes as one of the Midwest's best values in higher education.

So the online MENP program, what does it look like? Who is it for? Again, some of the nitty gritty? So it is for individuals who are looking to become nurses, registered nurses, but specifically those who have a bachelor's degree in another discipline.

When I say another discipline, it really means anything. We have students who are dance majors in their undergrads, theater, informatics, all the way up to maybe the more expected things like biomedical science, or even sometimes pre- med or physical therapy.

So really any bachelor's degree in another discipline. We also have students who have masters in PhDs and other disciplines as well. Any prior education is really welcome in our program and something that's unique about the program that we have students from all different backgrounds.

These students want to position themselves for future leadership roles as well. Not only will you become a nurse, you'll become a nurse leader. And so you will be positioned to take leadership roles quickly, often in different organizations, different systems.

Our program has two points of entry. We admit for August starts and January starts, and it is a very full- time program. You can see it's 20 months and there are really, really short breaks, but it's very, very full- time.

Sometimes we'll offer things like 4th of July coming up, a couple days off around the winter holidays in December and January, but it's very full- time. So summers, you're still in class, et cetera.

That's partly because it's 71 credit hours and you're finished in 20 months. So we really expedited. It's accelerated. Our courses for the online program are mostly asynchronous for your didactic classes.

What I mean by didactic classes is your pathophysiology, your pharmacology, your theory classes for adult health and pediatrics and mental health, most of that work is asynchronous, meaning you do it on your own time.

But almost every course has live sessions on Zoom at least weekly. And so what that means is you do the work online on your own, but then you come in with our faculty, the Elmhurst University faculty, to be able to talk about what you've been doing asynchronously and that's kind of the setup for the program throughout the curriculum.

You have over 900 clinical lab and simulation hours that we'll talk about in a little bit, but that's a lot of time touching patients, touching mannequins and learning the skills that you'll need to be a nurse as soon as you graduate.

A really unique aspect of our program is the residency. And so students in the MENP program come to Elmhurst specifically the hospital, which is about two or three miles from campus to do a residency in our high fidelity simulation lab.

During this residency time, you are doing role play scenarios, as well as learning the skills that you need to be able to do clinicals. So how to take blood pressure, how to insert a fully catheter, how to administer medication, how to work IV pumps.

Tons and tons of skills that you need to be able to practice definitely safely, but also confidently when you go out to your clinical. It's a really safe place to learn and also interact with the peers in your cohort.

What does it take to get into our program? In addition to having a bachelor's, there are prerequisites that you need to complete. So you can see here that they need to be taken within the past five years and you have to have a C or higher prior to beginning the program.

The classes are here, notably, most of them have a lab component. Anatomy and physiology one and two, both have a lab attached to it. Chemistry of the lab and also micro has to have a lab.

We feel that's really important so that when you come to our program, again, going back to that fast paced learning, you're really ready to hit the ground running with those skills that you've already acquired.

That's also why we need to make sure it's within the last five years. A common question is if you can retake a course. So if you've got a C or a C- or a D in a chemistry, can you retake it?

Absolutely. You can definitely retake it. We look at overall GPA when you are applying for the program. So as long as your overall GPA meets requirements, it doesn't matter how many times really you took it as long as you have a C in these prerequisite classes.

And then lastly, intro to psychology or sociology. That's the one that's just a little bit different, no lab, obviously and more of the social science than the science- science that we typically think of.

Some of the program highlights and some of what makes our program at Elmhurst really unique is we have small cohort sizes. With that, it means that you're really able to develop relationships with your peers.

Even in the online environment, we found that our students really are making connections, text messages, text message chains just to be able to support one another, which is partly due to the small cohort, but also our faculty work closely with our students.

Faculty and students are frequently emailing back and forth individually about questions, setting up additional office hours or additional time to review exams.

And all that is because of the small cohort size that we're able to maintain. We also have faculty that are highly trained in their field.

For example, the faculty that teach the pediatric courses, they are... She's a practicing pediatric nurse. She works in pediatrics, currently. Same thing with labor and delivery.

That faculty member is a labor and delivery nurse. I teach in the community and population health class and I am a family nurse practitioner working in the community. So that expertise that our faculty is able to bring to our students really enhances their learning to get real world, but also current examples of what they are seeing in clinical, what they're seeing in practice and kind of to help those discussions to really make the learning valuable.

We spend a lot of time preparing our students for certification and our certification rates and our pass rates really reflect that, our program outcomes. So you take two certification exams at the end of this MENP program, you take the NCLEX, which is the national licensure for a practicing nurse it's state based, but everyone takes this, is prepared for the same exam.

We practice those questions from the first semester. So in every class, when you're taking an exam, it is an NCLEX style question. Just starting early in frequently, we find really supports our students when they graduate so that they're able to be successful with relative ease on their NCLEX certification exam.

We see the same thing with the CNL exam. So the CNL is the clinical nurse leader and that's the additional certification that we prepare you for in the MENP program. Same thing. From your first semester, we start talking about what would a CNL do?

Why is this question specifically targeting a CNL in addition to a nurse? How can we change our thinking a little bit so that we pull in those leadership skills so that we can make changes in the system or the organization that we're working in.

Throughout the program, we incorporate specific classes that are focused on the CNL role. And then at the end of the program, one of your last classes is strictly a test taking preparation.

We've practiced tons and tons of NCLEX questions and tons and tons of CNL questions. So that again, when you take that certification, there really are very few surprises and very...

There are many pass rates on the first time. That's something that's really helpful in our MENP program. Sorry, just one last thing.

Strong job placement. Our students, if they don't already have a job when they graduate, which a lot of our students do, when they're walking across the stage and they're getting their diplomas, they already know that they're going to start work on whatever date it is.

If they have chosen a different way and maybe like a slower pace, which is also completely normal and expected, job placement is really strong. Students are finding not only jobs right away, but jobs in specialty areas that they really want to work in.

So labor and delivery, mental health, outpatient, inpatient, but our job placement is really strong following graduation from the MENP program.

Like I just mentioned briefly, the CNL focus is something unique about the program that we have at Elmhurst. And again, the CNL stands for clinical nurse leader.

What that is a master prepared nurse who can practice across the continuum of care in any healthcare setting. So more traditionally we've thought of nurses as being in the hospital and we definitely have a really huge presence there, but we are seeing more and more the need for masters prepared nurses with these leadership skills in different settings.

In schools and community health centers, in different areas within an organization. And so that's what we work to prepare you to do when you graduate while you're still a nurse, you're also practicing within those CNL competencies, which you become familiar with.

What exactly does a CNL do? How is it different? That's a really common question. What we do as CNLs is we see patient care kind of from the flight controller's perspective, as opposed to the pilot's perspective.

And so we see the entire continuum of care that your patients are going through when they're sick or when they're needing healthcare. We're able to integrate different pieces of information and different complex presentations that they might have to make sure that they get the best care that they need.

That's really where those leadership skills come into play is being able to do that. That's really what sets us apart. We prepare you for that during your clinical nurse residency, because you are learning how to be a nurse at the bedside, but again, those CNL competencies.

Some examples of things that students have done at their end of their program to be able to kind of practice with this CNL certification before actually getting it. They haven't graduated yet, but they're in their residency, while taking care of patients in the OR we have students who have created sterilization policies for the materials that they're seeing.

Students have identified that there's a deficit in the knowledge of the nurses in the OR that their materials are not sterilized properly and they're not taken to the sterile processing department.

Students have put into place, created, MENP students have created policies to make this a safer and more effective procedure. Another example is a student who did her clinical nurse leader residency in ICU.

She created a post Code Blue debriefing tool. What she saw while practicing at the bedside was that, yes, there are many nursing needs that are needed when a patient is in respiratory or cardiac distress, but what's also needed is support for the staff that are involved in care for that patient.

She created a tool to facilitate a debriefing conversation or debriefing session with the staff to say yes, we took care of this patient, but what else is needed?

Again, kind of seeing it from up above and a little bit bigger picture to be able to support her patients, but also again, the organization in the system that she was working in.

That's something really neat that you get the opportunity to do when you're in your CNL residency. What does the curriculum look like?

What does it look like to be a student? Again, it's 20 months and accelerated. Those are really key words, accelerated that goes really quickly and it's only 20 months. You do have that in person residency at the beginning.

And so being able to kind of practice and be able to be comfortable with those skills before you really get into clinical is really helpful because you do have hands on clinical throughout.

Throughout every term you have at least one class that's associated with a clinical. Whether it's foundations, whether it's adult health, pediatrics, OB, mental health, all of those classes are examples of classes where you have theory didactic information but you're also in an associated clinical experience.

You can see the credit hours and then the clinical hours, probably not surprising, but at the beginning, your first semester you have 42 and that number really goes up almost every semester.

140s, 130s and then at the end, you're at 170 and then 360 is that clinical nurse leader residency that I was talking about, where you're not only you're taking care of patients at the point of care, but creating those quality improvement initiatives that you're able to do as a CNL.

Just a little bit about the residency, a little bit more like I said. It's at Elmhurst Hospital, we have a brand new state- of- the- art simulation center. There's high fidelity and low fidelity mannequins.

You can see some examples on this picture here, but they are attached to real life monitors that you see in the hospital, real life IV pumps. We have real life medication dispensing machines, different charting programs or platforms that you practice with.

The mannequins talk, they have heart rate, they have respiration, they need oxygen. It's really, really high fidelity to be able to practice in that safe environment.

Some of these stressful situations that you see once you get to clinical. This also gives you a chance to see your faculty and your classmates.

Again, a safe, but also a fun environment. Everyone's learning. Everyone's there together, experimenting, doing new things, hard things, easy things, but it's really a great opportunity for you to be able to strengthen those relationships with your cohort.

And then, like I said, again, that hands on experience that you're able to take to clinical. And then when you're touching your real patients, you're so much more comfortable and prepared to be able to do that.

Clinical hours is a big piece of any nursing program, especially here at Elmhurst. Like I said, we focus on the nursing clinical hours. Being at the point of care, whatever that rotation looks like as well as CNL.

So when we place you for your clinical, we look for organizations and systems where you're able to really do that and utilize both skill sets and grow in both skill sets.

We try or we do place you in clinical, in your local area. There are just some caveats on here, but the Chicago area online students do clinicals at sites outside of Cook, DuPage, Will and Lake counties.

So just keep that in mind when you're applying for the program and thinking about what that's going to look like for you on a day to day basis. But those are where your clinicals will or will not be depending on where you live.

And then we have approved states and that's just due to licensing requirements, but you can see the list of approved states on here. And as you're applying and considering your options, just be sure to take a look at those to make sure that you are residing in an approved state at the time that you'd be starting your program.

In terms of clinical sites and preceptors, that's something that we find for you. Again, depending on where you live and what the specialty is, students can request for us to look into certain organizations or preceptors, but that's something that we would do on our end just to make sure that they have the appropriate credentials, that it's the right experience for you, based on the course and based on the course objectives, the clinical objectives, et cetera.

That's something... Those are conversations that you would have with your placement coordinator to make sure that you have what you need from a preference standpoint, but also all the prior steps for things that you need before starting clinical.

Certain health requirements, certain background checks, just some of the details that are needed and you'll work closely with a placement coordinator to make sure that you're ready to start clinical as soon as that course comes up, which is in your first semester.

Just a quick note, we tried to place you within a 40 mile radius, but sometimes it can be up to 120 miles just depending on the site availability. Again, that caveat about students not being able to go to clinical in those certain counties, Cook, DuPage, Will and Lake county.

Why should you choose Elmhurst online program? Hopefully that's clear and kind of some of what I've said and highlighted, but the dedicated faculty with our current practice really helps us give the best experience to our students.

We love being nurses. We are very passionate about the fields that we work in. We're able to carry that through to our courses, to stimulate those discussions and just work closely to help you have the same passion for what we are teaching you.

There's one- to- one support during the program, from a student advisor and that placement coordinator as well. So we work really closely with you to make sure that you're getting what you need from an academic standpoint, but also those logistical things as well.

Where you're going to clinical, what days your clinical are. Those are things that we work with you on. Our courses are built in a dynamic learning environment. Our platform really elicits a lot of great learning opportunities and it really works well for the material that we present.

We've been able to really speak to the online learner and what those unique needs are, such as being able to study online from wherever your home is.

Wherever you are, you're able to pull up the courses, get exactly what you need, but it's in a dynamic environment so that the information is delivered in a way that's still interesting and you're still getting exactly what you need from the course content.

Katie Macaluso

Great. Thank you so much, Dr. Minarich for all of that. At this point, we're going to go into the student experience. And as I mentioned at the beginning, we're really excited to have Mia and Danielle, two of our current students in the program with us today.

I'd love to have them just shed some light on the student experience online, and maybe start off by sharing a little bit about your background, where you're from, why you chose a masters entry in nursing program as your pathway to becoming a nurse.

Danielle, you're first alphabetically. I don't know if we can start with you.

Danielle Corliss

Yeah, my name's Danielle Corliss. I am originally from the Chicagoland area. I lived in Kentucky for about six years and that's where I got a lot of my previous medical experience.

As it's shown on the screen, I have a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. I was originally going Pre-PA and then I wanted to kind go more towards a route where I had a lot more options, which was nursing.

I felt like I had a lot more opportunities and different options to go for different fields. I chose that and this program for that.

And then prior experience, I was an EMT on an ambulance. I did that for about three years and absolutely loved it.

My end career goal right now as nurse practitioner, I want to get my doctorate for that, but I want to stay in the critical care field or look into flight nursing.

I always tell my friends, I like the chaos. I like working under pressure. I really enjoyed that. So I really wanted to stick towards that. And I felt like this program, especially giving the clinical nurse leadership experience is a huge factor in that.

And I felt like this would really prepare me for what I really want to do later on. This program... Let's see, there's a lot to it, but so far from the first semester, I've learned more than I thought I was ever going to learn in three months.

It was an amazing experience. What other questions did you say? Sorry.

Katie Macaluso


Danielle Corliss

These are kind of what you wanted? Okay.

Katie Macaluso

Yeah, that's perfect. No, thank you so much for sharing. I know that's a definitely a background that's similar to a lot of students that look into the program as well. Maybe we can turn it over to Mia too, if you want to introduce yourself and sort of why you chose the program, long term goals?

Mia Fiore

Yeah, absolutely. My name's Mia Fiore. I'm also a first semester student, so Danielle and I both finished our first semesters last Monday.

We just got through it and I'm from Arlington Heights, so around the Chicago area. I went to Indiana university and I got my bachelors in human bio and prior experience, I was a medical assistant.

I also did patient care technician. So like CNA type of stuff. I was also a medical scribe in the ER. That was all fabulous experience. And then from all of that, I decided I did want to go on to pursue, I also want to be a nurse practitioner in the future, but I really do want to start off with a strong nursing experience with that CNL license, because it does really help you move forward in the field, which we've learned a lot through the first semester.

Overall, that's my long term goal, but it's been great. Like I said, we're only one semester in, so we're super excited to keep going, but yep. So far I've learned more than I would've ever thought I would've learned.

It's been fantastic.

Katie Macaluso

They say it is definitely accelerated, right?

Mia Fiore


Katie Macaluso

All right. We have a few sort of panel style questions for you both as well. I'm just going to go through these. I'll probably assign one to each of you, but feel free to chime in if you want to add to the other.

Starting with this first one, what is it like to be a student in Elmhurst online MENP program and maybe in tandem with that, what does a typical day or week look like?

When you think about how much... Is it studying? Is it joining Zoom sessions or is it spending a lot of time in clinicals? What does that look like for a student in the program?

Danielle, maybe I'll start that one with you.

Danielle Corliss

Yeah. For this first semester, the majority of it was classwork, studying and we had our weekly Zoom meetings.

And then about the last, I want to say six weeks, we had our clinical hours. That's when we first started, it was after our residency. But typically during the week, I spent a lot of time studying.

We have, I think there's a minimum of one Zoom meetings like per class each week. You can possibly have more, I believe, but we've only had one for each and we meet on a certain day and we go through material and stuff like that.

But a lot of it is very independent. But also being able to work with our classmates. We do a lot of group assignments, which I really like because one, we get to interact with each other, because we're online, we're stuck at home or wherever, but we get to still interact with our classmates.

Clinicals, so this semester I did about one or two clinical shifts a week just to fit that into my schedule.

But this semester starting next week, we have a lot more hours. I can see probably two shifts a week and working around there and I thought it was going to be hard.

It is hard to manage your studying in school along with clinicals. But when you finally get your hands on things, it makes it significantly better.

I was really worried about that when I first started, because there was so much material and I felt overwhelmed, but once I started doing clinicals and even residency, it made things like," Okay.

I understand things now. This makes sense." I really liked that and they really make sure to... With our assignments each week, they're very interactive and we had advanced health assessment.

We do hands on stuff, like practice and whatnot. But yeah, that's typically like we have a Zoom meeting each week. We go over material, we answer questions or we have case study presentations, stuff like that.

But a lot of it is group assignments, discussion boards, asking questions, reaching out to each other and the instructors. That's typically what our weeks have looked like so far.

I'm going to predict that they're going to keep looking like that and you notice kind of incorporating more experience, but yeah, that's how I... I don't know, Mia, if you have anything to add to that.

Mia Fiore

No, I would say the same exact thing like Danielle said. It's mostly because this isn't asynchronous program except for those Zoom meetings. So for the most part, it's going to be you.

It's very clear we use Blackboard. So it's very clear they'll say," This is what's due this week and they'll say this is due on day four, day five and then we have certain days of the week that we know it starts Monday and ends on Sunday.

You get the hang of it pretty quickly. And then which assignments will take longer. So which ones you need some more time commitment for. But overall, and we discussed previously, the teachers are very, very easily accessible.

We can email them and they get back to us within the day, if not just a little bit later. But then we also have a GroupMe with our cohort. We only have 17 people in our cohort, so we're pretty close with them and we interact a lot and we always are able to communicate amongst each other to make sure that we know what's going on.

Katie Macaluso

That's great. I think I want to split the second question in half and start with just the residency experience. Thinking back on residency, Mia I'll start this one with you, but maybe you can share just a little bit about what that was like to go there and how that was impactful to this first semester.

Mia Fiore

Yeah, absolutely. Residency, I would love to talk about it because it was my absolutely favorite experience. I would say throughout the whole semester, which was great because we had a few weeks with our classmates via Zoom and we saw them, we got to know them.

I knew all of their names by the time we finally met them because again, some people came from out of state. So they all traveled in. We met at the Elmhurst Hospital and it was so much fun to finally meet everybody.

They were all so friendly and it was awesome. And then during the actual residency, we had the fantastic faculty. They were so helpful. They were all either nurse practitioners, they were nurses, they had all of this great experience to provide to us for our first time within this residency setting.

We split it up between, it was about a week long experience I would say. And then every day we practice some clinical skills. And then at the end of the residency, we did case scenarios with patients, which was my favorite part.

We did pediatric code. We did an adult code. We did end of life care, which I really, really enjoyed because we not only did the scenario and really acted out to make sure we knew what we would have to do in a real life scenario, but we also did debriefings afterwards, which I really enjoyed.

We sat down. Sometimes it got emotional, because it is hard with certain patient cases. We would talk through them, they were very empathetic with us and they taught us," You can do it this way.

You can also do it this way. You just have to base it around what your patients need at the time." It was very interactive, very, very informative, but it was a great experience to meet all of the other students as well.

Katie Macaluso

And then going into clinicals after that, Danielle, I'll start with this one with you, but maybe you can share a little bit about your clinical experience. I think you mentioned that you're currently now in the Chicagoland area as well.

What did that look like for you?

Danielle Corliss

I decided to come back to Chicagoland area, I have family here and I thought it would just be a little bit easier during this program to do that.

This previous semester, I was placed in an extended care facility and honestly, I was expecting maybe hospital or something different, but I thought that was actually a great starting point and a great placement for me.

One, because this is the first time we're actually doing these skills on live people. This was right after residency. Going there, honestly, I really enjoyed it.

It was very nerve- wracking at first. I was very nervous for my first day. Didn't know what to expect, but honestly, even my classmates, we had amazing preceptors.

They made sure we had all of the information we needed, because for our clinical experience, we had a big assignment, like a paper directly about with one patient that you chose as a case study.

And they made sure that they provided all the information you needed. They answered all of my questions and they really got to let you do things hands- on. They'd be there to support you and walk you through things.

But yeah, we only had 42 hours this semester. It wasn't much, but this upcoming one, I believe it's like 146.

There's going to be a lot more. But I really think our residency, the instructors in that and even our professors in class, they really prepared us for our clinicals.

I think a lot of us were nervous, but once we started doing things, I felt prepared. I felt like everyone gave us the correct information, the proper procedures and anything like that.

But I really enjoyed my clinical experience. I had a great preceptor and she still keeps in touch with me. She really wants to have me again this summer, so I don't know if I'm placed there yet, but it was a great experience.

I don't know. I'm really excited to keep going. I think they said before each semester might be a little different, you have a different specialty.

So I'm really excited for that because I've been so focused on critical care and all this crazy stuff, but I'm really excited to see if I like something else too.

I'm excited for it.

Katie Macaluso

So glad it was such a great first clinical. Mia, what was your clinical like?

Mia Fiore

I would say the same as Danielle. I was so grateful for my first placement. I was also in a longer term rehab facility. They did queue in long term, so we got to see a few different types of patient acuities, but overall my preceptor was absolutely wonderful.

We got very close as well. We still keep in touch and she, from day one, approached me because I think the university... You reach out, we have clinical instructors that reach out on our behalf for our preceptors.

They will inform them what we need to cover during clinicals, what we should get our hands on so we really are prepared for the next rotation. So she from day one, let me get right in there, get my hands on things.

Of course, she was observing me, but she would correct me as needed, she'd show me these certain techniques that you can develop over time, the more you do the certain procedure, whatever you're doing.

And then for me as well, I wanted to point out that because it is kind of hard going from, especially for me and Danielle as well, having all these direct patient care hours, really always going to work, doing something with the patient, going from that to full- time school work for...

You're all online asynchronous. It's hard to take that patient interaction away, especially if you're really passionate about that. I love interacting with patients.

Finally, being able to incorporate that clinical experience, I finally got what I was lacking, I felt like. I was able to communicate with these patients again, build these relationships, communicate with all my coworkers then at the site and it was really reassuring that we're doing all this hard work, but it's going to be so worth it in the end because finally applying it really shows the difference that you can make when you're finally a nurse.

Katie Macaluso

That's great. I'll open this up to either of you, but what advice do you have for future students to be successful in this program?

Danielle Corliss

Something that I remember they told us before we started was how if you have a job currently, so I worked as an EMT, that working during this program, it's going to be very, very difficult if not really possible for most people.

Honestly, I was really hesitant about that at first. I was like," I can't work during this program. How am I going to do this?" Now, I understand completely it.

This program is very accelerated. It's a lot. There's been times where I've been overwhelmed, just the amount of information we learn. But my biggest advice is don't take on more than you can chew or finish or whatever the phrase is.

I don't know, but just don't take on more than you actually can. Do what you think... Start off with less, I guess.

And if you can take on more, I really doubt it, but just make sure that you are fully invested in this. It's a lot, but honestly, you'll start to really enjoy, you'll start to understand and you'll start to reach out to other people like in your class, your classmates and whatnot.

Just make sure when you are in this program, you really reach out to each other and support each other. I think that's the biggest thing that Mia and I have figured out. Her and I live 15 minutes from each other and we found that out in the middle of the program.

So now we sometimes will meet up and study together and stuff. Reach out, talk to your classmates, become friends with them and then it really helps.

But yeah, definitely don't take on more than you think, because this program, you have to be fully invested. It's a full- time job basically.

Mia Fiore

Yeah. Adding to that, I was going to say basically the same thing as Danielle, really utilize your resources because Elmhurst does provide a lot of resources for you.

Utilize those. Again, staff is very accessible. Even after our residency, Danielle and I actually even talked to the main person who was hosting it. And she said," You guys, even though you're not this onsite program where..." Because we're the online one, they always welcome us back to the simulation center if we wanted to go back and practice on the mannequins or get more experience.

They have an IV start lab that we wanted to do at some point. So they're very inclusive. They'll include us, even though we're not on campus program, which made us feel very welcomed overall.

I also wanted to point out don't be deterred even if you don't have all of this patient experience that we have prior because we have plenty of people in our program, this is their first time ever getting their hands on anything medical or learning anything medical.

And it's obviously very overwhelming for them as well, but they seem to really enjoy it. They really enjoyed the residency and people are very patient. We're very patient with everyone. Don't be deterred by that.

I fully believe in them and I think they're doing fantastic and they really, really seem to enjoy it. So make sure you just come in with an open mind and really accept all of this really cool, fun information that you're going to be getting.

Katie Macaluso

Thanks Mia. Yeah, that's a great point. That again, this program really does draw people from all backgrounds and I know Dr. Minarich said that they've seen successful outcomes from all different undergraduate degrees as well.

Thank you both so much for sharing your student experience. I hope that was really helpful for everyone on the webinar. I am going to pivot over to the admission team next and turn it over to Nancy to introduce the team and talk a little bit about the application process.

Nancy Hamernik

Thanks Katie. All right. Wow. That was such great information. What comes next? You've learned about this program. this is something that you want to do. What would be the next step? Well, here we are.

Here are the five enrollment advisors that you would be reaching out to first. So it's myself, Amna, Mary Katherine, Tracy or Kim. And it's always very important to talk with us.

There are several things that we want to cover with you as you've learned so far, this program is extremely unique. We want to make sure that you go through all the details, exactly what it's about, who it's for and really make sure that it's a good fit for you based on what you are looking for.

It's not all about, do you meet the qualifications? We want this to be a really great fit. We are the starting point. We will start helping you in supporting you through the application process.

Really find out about your goals, find out about your education background and really what has you interested in joining a nursing program, so we can really make sure, like I said, that this is something that fits with what you're looking for.

You can see there under bullet point number three, there's a link that you can get to chat with someone and schedule an appointment with an admissions advisor.

Once that happens, we're really going to go through and talk to you about those requirements. To enter the program, you have to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school.

At that point, we would ask you to order all of your transcripts so that we can take accumulative GPA, which is 3.2 or higher. And then of course, we look at those prerequisite courses that we already looked at.

Let if there are any that are missing or if there are any that you need to take again that are outside of that five year window. From there, you'll continue through the rest of the application. You'll send us your resume, you'll write a personal statement, you'll have three recommenders.

You will do a second interview along with a writing sample. When that's done, we have everything that we need, you meet all the qualifications. We will send your application for review, get you the decision.

Us here in admissions will help you get ready for the program to begin based on whatever it is that you're getting started. We help you get ready for registration, we set up your email with you, you'll be in contact with the placement team, your student success coach, things like that.

So it's really important to talk with us first. And then we'll walk you through the process and support you through the application.

Katie Macaluso

Thank you so much, Nancy. At this point, it's our Q& A time. We have saved a little bit of time here at the end for any questions that you might have. If you haven't already done, so please feel free to type a question in the chat.

Should be located at the bottom of your screen and we'll save as much time as we can for getting through those. Only I can see if we've got any already.

Let's see here. Our first question is," Can I apply to Elmhurst before my prerequisites are completed?" Nancy, do you want to take that one?

Nancy Hamernik

Yes, absolutely. You can. We do require that at least two of your science prerequisite courses are completed. As long as you meet the other requirements to get into the program, you would finish your application and then you would be sent for review.

Your other missing prerequisite courses would need to be finished prior to getting started in that semester.

Katie Macaluso

Great. Thank you. Let's see. Our next question asks about comparing the MENP program with starting with a BSN degree, can you explain what the perceived benefit of starting at that MSN instead of just a BSN would be?

I'm going to start that with you, Dr. Minarich.

Dr. Laura Minarich

That's a really good question. There's definitely so many avenues right now to become a nurse. The thing that sets you apart when you have your MSN, your masters in nursing, is one you're building on that foundational knowledge that you have from your bachelors.

So you're bringing in those other skills that you have from again, whatever it is, informatics, psychology, education, but you have that to offer to your patients as well as when you decide to move up the clinical ladder.

So like Danielle and Mia said, they're hoping to become nurse practitioners. They really have that leverage already to be able to apply for doctoral programs. They're used to the intensity of a masters program.

They have that information under their tool belt and their clinical experiences reflect that as well. So there's that as well. If you have a bachelor's, it's really great to get a master's and just be able to take your education to the next level so that when you are looking for those jobs and you are looking for your next career step, you have that next degree as well.

Katie Macaluso

Great. Thank you. Our next question asks about alumni of the program. Can you speak to where some of the alumni are now in their careers?

Dr. Laura Minarich

It's a good question as well. It's hard to answer concisely, but honestly, everywhere. We have a couple of students that are working at Mayo clinic. We have a student that just reached out.

He's in a CRNA program, so to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist, labor and delivery. A lot of our alumni are back here teaching for us at Elmhurst.

Clinical faculty, and then just hospitals, really across the US, depending on where they live and where they want to work.

And then also important to note, not just hospitals, we have students working at the health department, we have school nurses across the community, homeless population, homeless outreach.

Really anywhere you can think of, we probably have an alumni there.

Katie Macaluso

And then our next question asks about, I guess, age for the program. This person asks," Is 55 too old to change your career to nursing?"

Dr. Laura Minarich

Nope. Absolutely not. It's honestly a great time because you have so much to offer and your peers will learn so much from you. Your patients will learn so much from you and it's a perfect time.

Katie Macaluso

Great. Thank you. Our next question asks," Can you choose your clinical location?"

Dr. Laura Minarich

That's a good question. It's hard to give you a direct answer. You can definitely work closely with your placement coordinator and let them know what works best for you. We of course try as hard as we can to accommodate that.

We just can't guarantee that your preferences will be able to work, and honestly for you. So if you want to work somewhere, we have to make sure it aligns with what you need to get the best learning experience.

But we try.

Katie Macaluso

Let's see, our next question asks what qualifies as a general chemistry credit. Does that mean that we had to have taken an introductory chemistry course such as Chemistry 100 or Chemistry 101?

Dr. Laura Minarich

Usually, yes. It depends on where you're getting your prerequisites from. And so typically yes, the important thing is that you have a lab and if you have a question about one of your prerequisite classes, just send it over to us or one of the enrollment advisors.

And we'll be able to take a look at it and look at the syllabus in the curriculum to let if that's what we need.

Katie Macaluso

Perfect. This next question says, let's see, I think this might actually be student- focused. So this question asked, how did you maintain paying your bills?

I work full time right now. My main concern is making sure I can afford to do well in the program. I don't know Danielle or Mia, if you want to take that or-

Danielle Corliss

Yeah. I worked a lot before this program and I had a lot, I have some in my savings still. So what I did was not everyone does this, I know I think there's two people in our program that are working.

I think it's part time though and they have a lot on their plate right now. It's very difficult, I will say. But so what I did was I took a loan out from specifically my dad.

We have an agreement, we made a contract basically and he's going to help me with my bills. And then I pay it back at the end. But from my knowledge from my other classmates, I think they had to take loans out unless they had enough in their savings and whatnot.

It is pretty difficult to, like they said, to work during this program, because it already is a full- time job to begin with.

That was honestly one of the biggest obstacles for me and I know for many other students too. You'll kind of figure out what will work and won't, but in the end I really think this program is worth it.

Because at the end, you're going to have this great experience, you're going to have that career at the end. What they said before, a lot of students had jobs lined up before they even graduated.

They were ready. In my opinion, I think it's going to be worth it. It might be a tough 20 months, but once you get through it, it'll be good.

Mia Fiore

To touch on that as well regarding Elmhurst, they're very helpful in regards to the financial aid. I went through Elmhurst for my financial aid, so I was able to take out a loan and then they also have something called a graduate plus loan.

If you're a graduate student, once you would be in this program, you can take out a loan. It's kind of like a personal loan. So they'll give, you can request the amount you want. They'll give it to you. If you're approved and then works just like a normal loan, you'll pay it back once we get our jobs and once we start making a salary, but yeah...

They've been really helpful. Before I even started, I consulted with the financial aid office many of times and they always helped me, walked me through the whole process. So yes, definitely availability for loans through Elmhurst.

I know a lot of people from our program also took that option as well. It's been really helpful and it makes it easy because your loan money will just kind of transfer right to your tuition. So it'll pay it off. You don't have to worry about that.

And then obviously when you're done with the program, then you'll start paying off that loan.

Katie Macaluso

That's great. Thank you so much for that. And then I would just add to, if you have any questions about that square, if you reach out to the admissions advisors, Nancy or any of the others that she introduced on the side, they'll help put you in touch with people at the university who can help you explore those options.

All right. We're almost at the end of questions. Let's see, I've got one last one here. It's just asking this person wants to know how long does it typically take to receive an admission decision?

I'll pass that to you, Nancy.

Nancy Hamernik

Yeah. It can vary. I think it just depends on what's going on and that kind of thing, but usually a couple of weeks is usually what I tell students. Sometimes it takes less time than that.

Sometimes it's two weeks, sometimes it's one week but I would say to give it a couple of weeks.

Katie Macaluso

Perfect. All right. Very good. That is going to wrap up our Q&A for today. Thank you so much to everybody for joining. Thank you especially to Dr.

Minarich, Danielle, Mia and Nancy, for all the information you shared. If anyone attending has thought of another question that hasn't been answered yet, please feel free to reach out after the webinar and we'll get you in touch with that.

After this webinar, we'll send out a recording and you'll have access to that. And then we hope you have a great rest of your afternoon. Thank you so much.