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MNE nursing students get boost

Friday, August 29, 2014

A dozen incoming nursing students got a jump-start on their academic careers over the summer as part of the first-ever Summer Nursing Booster at Mercyhurst North East. nursing students

The voluntary two-week program, which took place Aug. 11 to 22 at the MNE campus, offered an introduction to vital skills in writing, math and science that will prepare the students for their nursing studies.

“We had tried summer bridge programs in the past, but this year we wanted to take it in a new direction,” said Patrick Doyle, Writing Center and Peer Tutoring Coordinator at MNE, who developed the concept for the program.

Past summer programs focused on extra preparation and general skills for incoming students. This year, Doyle wanted to offer a specialized niche program as a means to attract more students.

“The nursing program is one of our flagship programs here at Mercyhurst North East,” he said. “It’s a very challenging program, and we want to see people succeed in it, which is why we developed the booster for it.”

The program, offered free of charge, was first opened to incoming students in Mercyhurst North East’s Associate of Science in Nursing program, and then to liberal arts-science majors interested in entering the nursing program later.

Participants took afternoon and evening classes in writing, math and science in preparation for some of the key required classes for incoming nursing students.

The science component was especially important, Doyle said, because science is one of the greatest predictors of success in the nursing program. The class specifically addressed studying approaches for Anatomy and Physiology, a required course for nursing students, and, Doyle said, “one of the most difficult classes we offer.”

The booster also offered students an opportunity to meet some of their instructors and classmates as well as an introduction to BlackBoard, Mercyhurst’s online learning management system, to ease the transition into the university environment. Though the booster courses are graded, students do not earn credits and their academic standing isn’t affected by their performance.

The program has been a great success in its first year, and the responses from students and faculty have been overwhelmingly positive.

Given the success of this year’s Summer Nursing Booster, MNE faculty and administrators are considering expanding the summer courses for more students in the future.

“The Summer Nursing Booster was definitely a worthwhile program to do this year, and I want to do it again next year,” Doyle said. “I see it potentially opening up into other areas, especially in the allied health majors.”

For more information, contact Doyle at 814-725-6321 or

PHOTO: Students who attended the Summer Nursing Booster picnic include, from left, Bobi Jo Holes, Amanda Van Epps, Benjamin Horton, Steven Kocher, Jessica Newhouse, Htoo Paw, Anthony Ertola and Emily Trevelline.