CCU Introduces a Master's Degree in Nursing

  • Dr. Dennis Ondrejka

Colorado Christian University announces a new Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, kicking off January 12, 2015. The new program will have two emphases: Nursing Education and Clinical Care Management for Adult and Geriatric care. It comes at a time when health care in America is undergoing radical changes, and the program is intentionally structured with the aim of filling potential job needs because of these changes.

“This program is really the future of nursing,” said Dennis Ondrejka, Ph.D., RN, who is the director of the new MSN program. “Changes in the health care law have placed increased focus on clinical care for acute and chronic issues for an aging population – requiring health care organizations to prevent a return to the hospital after they have been discharged. The students in the clinical care of adult and geriatric care emphasis will address this directly. These students will manage populations in areas of prevention, access, coordination of care, and assessing for high risk patients that are often readmitted to the hospital in less than 30 days.” This type of coordinated care will reduce health care costs, and bring money back to those who have the best patient outcomes.

“The Affordable Care Act provides financial incentive to reduce multiple hospital admissions for geriatric health issues, so we’re going to see physicians’ groups and clinics working to manage acute and chronic care outside the hospital setting,” added Dr. Ondrejka. “A growing number of nurses will be needed for this because it happens at a time when America’s population already demands a larger number of geriatric nurses for a growing population of older adults.”

Additionally, Dr. Ondrejka specializes in affective teaching, which will influence the Nursing Education track. His ongoing research and his first book, Affective Teaching in Nursing: Connecting to Values, Feelings, and Inner Awareness (Springer Publishing, 2014), will be a strategic theme in the Nursing Education emphasis.

“For a long time, nursing education has excelled in transmitting information and preparing nurses’ with cognitive and psycho-motor skills. Educational competencies by the national accreditation bodies also suggest that all nursing faculty teach in the affective domain as well,” noted Ondrejka.

“Faculty seldom access the emotions, values, or inner awareness of nursing students, which means we seldom teach the whole student in our classrooms. When we support our faculty to address all three domains of learning, we then have a much more holistic model, both of teaching and then of practicing.”

The Nursing Education emphasis will also promote staff development nurses who are teaching within clinical settings. Best teaching and educational strategies will be used in clinical settings, as well as online and classroom settings.

The MSN at CCU is a 39 semester credit online program presented in a sequence model, which deviates from the cohort model for most of CCU’s adult and graduate programs. Students can choose whichever course they want to begin rather than traveling through a “track” with other classmates. They are able to start a course every 7 weeks, or drop out for a period of time and then re-enter another course without significant delays. The only exceptions are the two clinical courses and capstone course provided at the end of the program.

The program is designed for the working nurse who wants to move forward into their careers in one of the two tracks available. For more information or to apply, visit www.ccu.edu/ccu/nursing/msn.


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