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Tuesday, February 19, 2019  

Regis offers room for flexibility in nursing educationPublished 6/16/2009

The Loretto Heights School of Nursing (LHSON) at Regis University offers a variety of flexible programs and schedules for students wanting to enter the nursing field or further their nursing education.
The nursing school, which is part of Regis’ Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professionals (RHCHP), offers Traditional BSN, Accelerated BSN, CHOICE BSN and RN-BSN Completion programs. RHCHP is divided into three schools: Nursing, Pharmacy and Physical Therapy; and two departments: Health Care Ethics and Health Services Administration. Undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs are offered. Candace Berardinelli, RN, PhD and Dean of Loretto Heights School of Nursing, said the school offers programs for every stage of nursing education.
 “The one thing we have is flexibility and multiple ways for students to get their degree in nursing,” Berardinelli said.
For students just starting their nursing careers, the school has the Traditional BSN program. Following the traditional semester academic model, it is a four-year program with nursing courses starting the junior year. The CHOICE BSN program is a pre-license model designed for students that work in some capacity in the healthcare environment. Berardinelli said these students have all prerequisites completed and come to class one or two evenings a week and take one course at a time. They spend five semesters in class and do clinicals mainly on the weekends.
For professionals looking to switch to a nursing career, LHSON has its Accelerated BSN. As one of the first accelerated nursing programs in Colorado, Berardinelli said the program is a one-year, very intense program for students who already have degrees in other fields.  
 “We’ve had a variety of students in that program. From PhDs in psychology to a violinist with the Colorado Symphony to lawyers, philosophers and EMTs, we’ve had people from all backgrounds,” Berardinelli said.
The RN-BSN Completion program is designed to meet the demand for more baccalaureate nurses. The program is offered one night a week on campus and as an onsite group program at many hospitals. These group programs are under way at Lutheran Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Berardinelli said. In these programs, the instructor goes to the hospital one evening a week for eight weeks. The RN-BSN program is also offered online, with more than 500 students enrolled. LHSON  is eager to respond to the needs of the healthcare community, Berardinelli said, as evidenced by its onsite group programs. For example, if a hospitals says it has 15 employees who want to get their masters in nursing, the school will work with them to do an onsite program.
 “This shows our flexibility and willingness to listen to the community and what their needs might be,” Berardinelli said. “We are here evenings, days and weekends.”
For nurses looking to earn their masters degrees, the school offers six MS nursing programs: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP), Leadership in Health Care, Post MS Certificates, MS Completion, and MS Articulation. Several of these programs are designed to be flexible with online and weekend options. Along with the school’s flexibility, Berardinelli said Regis’ Jesuit tradition of strong service to others creates a unique experience, especially for nursing students.
“In addition to typical clinical experiences in nursing programs, our students are also required to be involved in community service in many different areas,” Berardinelli said. “They are doing service to the community. It’s part of the community.”
These experiences include working with senior citizens, the homeless and disadvantaged children. Students work with organizations such as Special Olympics, Catholic Worker House, Denver Rescue Mission, Gathering Place for Battered Women and 9 Health Fair.
 “Our goal there us to have them exposed to all of the cultural and social influences on health and healing and have them have greater experience with social justice issues,” Berardinelli said. But the mission goes beyond dealing with the issues, she said. It then moves onto “now what?”  “How are you going to use your education to be a good nurse but also a socially responsible citizen,” she said. For more information about any nursing and healthcare programs at Regis, visit

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