Promoting Excellence through Seamless Progression from Pre-Nursing Scholars to Nursing Honors Students

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 10:18 AM

Jennifer Wilson, MSN, RN, CPN
The Houston J. and Florence A. Doswell College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University, Dallas, TX

Honors Programs are gaining increased prevalence and popularity, attracting highly motivated and academically successful candidates across all disciplines and majors.  Students admitted into Honors Programs as college freshmen intent on earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) provide promise for propelling the profession forward, yet face a unique set of challenges in their pursuit of graduating with an Honor’s Diploma. While some nursing programs admit students into their programs as freshmen, the majority of BSN programs accept students as juniors. While many Honors students have historically fulfilled the additional requirements of graduating with an Honors Diploma during the first two years of college, a lack of Honors support on nursing campuses has resulted in a significant percentage of Honors students failing to complete their Honors requirements while enrolled in a BSN program. With adequate knowledge and support from nursing faculty and a nursing Honors Coordinator, these high achieving students can establish the foundation for scholarly activities as they complete their Honors requirements. As the profession faces new challenges at the crossroads of a major transition in education, it is imperative that we respond to these evolving changes (Masters, 2014), particularly in the preparation of the next generation of nursing scholars. This presentation will discuss the model and interventions employed at one university, which has resulted in a significant increase of Honors nursing students successfully graduating with an Honor’s Diploma. Interventions begin at recruitment to the University’s Honors Program and continue throughout the nursing program and beyond graduation. Providing support and opportunities for these students to engage in research and scholarly activities has proven to be an investment that directly benefits the students and the university, including but not limited to service learning partnerships, student publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations at the local, national and international level.