ABSN Program Webinar - March 8, 2023 - Full Transcript

A couple of students in the HFU ABSN program performing an exercise during their on campus residency
A couple of students in the HFU ABSN program performing an exercise during their on campus residency

Holy Family University hosted a virtual webinar session for more information on the Second Degree Distance Hybrid BSN program on March 8th, 2023. Topics covered by our speakers include:

  • Program overview
  • Expectations and program outcomes
  • The role of your support staff
  • Different forms of support available
  • Clinical placement services
  • Platforms and systems used during the program

The webinar wrapped up with a live Q&A session, included in the recording.

  • Dr. Rinu Stephen, DNP, MSN, RN, Second-Degree Distant Hybrid Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Jinsy Mathew DNP, MSN, RN, Vice Dean, DNP Team Lead, Assistant Professor for School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Amber Baillargeon, Admissions Counselor
  • Anna Rodriguez, Student Success Coach
  • Dr. Margaret Harkins, DNP, MBE, GNP-BC, RN-BC, Dean of School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Board Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Ethicist, Alumni Scholar, Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson's Facility, ELNEC Train-the-Trainer, Core, Gerontology, Graduate, DNP Curriculum

Presented Live on March 8, 2023



Brett Sutow: Welcome, everybody, to the first-ever Holy Family University Virtual Open House for the Second Degree Distance Hybrid BSN. My name is Brett Sutow. I will be your moderator today as we go through we're going to give you some great information about this wonderful program. 

So, just a little bit of an overview, a  little bit of housekeeping as we get started. So today you'll hear from faculty and support staff for the ABSN program. This event is being recorded for future viewing. Only the panelists are unmuted so they'll be the only ones that will be able to talk. If you have any questions please send them through the questions box. We will get to them at the end of the presentation.

So, our agenda today: again, my name is Brett Sutow. I'll be the moderator. I'll be giving you a little bit of detail about Holy Family University and touch on the program a little bit. Our guest speaker is Dr. Rinu Stephen. She will be going over the program overview, the Holy Family course sequence, the student expectations, and the potential program outcomes. Our other guest speaker is Amber Baillargeon and she will be speaking to the role of the Admissions Counselor, the application requirements, and the Clinical placement services. Finally, Anna Rodriguez will be speaking to the role of Student Success, the benefits of a Student Success Coach, and the platform and technology. Then, we'll get to some questions and answers.

Then just some introductions for us, again you can see the lovely pictures of us on the screen: Dr. Stephen, Anna, Amber, and then also as you already have seen, Dr. Harkins. She's the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences so she'll be joining us for the question-and-answer session, as well as Dr. Mathew; she is the Vice Dean and she will also be joining us for the question-and-answer session so that we can cover all the questions that you guys might have.

All right, so now we're going to get into a little bit of the introduction of Holy Family University. So Holy Family University is a private Catholic institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We have over 25,000 alumni across the globe. The university embraces diversity and inclusion, ensuring that it is a welcoming and accessible learning community for all. And, as you can see, a beautiful picture of the campus on there. 

Our mission at Holy Family: At Holy Family, we use the phrase Teneor Votis, which means “I am bound by my responsibilities.” Holy Family University educates students to assume lifelong responsibilities towards God, society, and self. Holy Family University, a Ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, offers education in the liberal arts and professions through graduate, undergraduate, and non-degree programs.

As a Catholic University, Holy Family seeks direction and inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, affirms the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and witnesses to the dignity of each person and the oneness of the human family.

So, just some university highlights. So it has been ranked Best Regional Schools for the North in U.S News and World Report. It has been ranked as one of the best BSN programs according to U.S News and World Report. it is part of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Holy Family University BSN program is a CCNE-accredited nursing program and the NCLEX RN passing rates are above the national average at about 89.87 percent.

Now I'm going to hand it over to Dr. Rinu Stephen. She will be going over some of the program overview, student expectations, and outcomes. Dr. Stephen, if you wouldn't mind taking it away.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Thank you, Brett, for your introduction. Hello everyone, I'm Dr. Stephen, the Program Coordinator for the Second Degree Distance Hybrid BSN program at Holy Family University. I'm very thrilled to be a part of this webinar to provide you some overview about this online BSN program at Holy Family, the student expectations, and services offered by our University. 

So first, I would like to give you some highlights about the program. So our second-degree program offers BSN in a blended format, meaning the coursework will be completed in an online format but the clinical component of the courses is in person under the supervision of a preceptor. So our online courses are taught by the same world-class faculty as our on-campus program. Our second-degree students will have the opportunity to interact with the course faculty to clarify any course-related questions or if they need help with the content during live sessions as well as office hours—that's offered every week. I've been a faculty at Holy Family for more than five years now so I can definitely attest to the fact that Holy Family University provides a first-class education at an outstanding value.

We provide comprehensive end-to-end support services from enrollment to graduation and beyond, including exam, clinical, and career preparation. We also have a dedicated clinical placement team that helps you to find preceptors and clinical sites in your community, saving you time to focus on your education, succeed in your program, and thrive as new nurses. You will be fully supported throughout the process with an Admissions Counselor we have here, a Student Success Coach—again, she will speak about what the process looks like—and Program Coordinator, which is myself. And all our faculty are really, really supportive. 

We have other services offered at the University like Title IX, mental health counseling services, disability services, beautiful like student life services—they plan events, and also have to mention the Center for Academic Enhancements. So, they offer diverse services at no cost designed to serve the learning needs of our students at all levels of achievement. So the goal of CAE itself is to help students improve skills in order to achieve greater academic successes. They work with our faculty and staff and in all their academic areas they offer APA writing guidance and tutoring services.

Next slide. So, regarding the program information, our online ABSN program is for anyone who currently holds a bachelor's degree in even an unrelated field. So, for example in our ABSN program we’ve had students from law enforcement, business, kinesiology, etc. who were successful and were currently working as nurses. In other words, it's specifically designed for anyone looking to change their careers in a fast and efficient manner. 

With that said, the program requires 100% commitment due to its fast-paced and heavy course load. But here is the good news: in just 14 months you will graduate with a BSN and be prepared to take the NCLEX. 

We do have three start dates throughout the year: fall, summer, and spring, and we are currently in the process of reviewing and accepting applications for summer. So all the eligible candidates are welcome to apply. 

Next slide. So this is just a glimpse of the course sequence. We have 59 credits to complete the BSN program and 504 clinical hours. 

Slide four. Though I have mentioned before about that program I just wanted to elaborate a little bit more about the program expectation. The online Second Degree Program is a rigorous program that requires full-time dedication. So you will utilize an online platform for coursework and again, I said, like, you can connect with your professors just like our ground programs but the platform is going to be virtual. So students will engage in learning through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions with faculty and other students.

All work is done online except for one residency that will take place at Holy Family University before your clinical placement. So residencies is the lab skill, basically, we are preparing you to go to the clinical. So, all the skills, we make sure that you are well versed in that before we send out for the clinical placement. So the residency for the spring semester was completed this week and all of our students were very impressed and had a very good review about the residency program. 

So I just wanted to read, like I have the feedback right with me, so I wanted to read their words so that you know I'm not exaggerating our students’ experiences. So is from one of our students: “This residency has been both rewarding and challenging. I grew clinically and as a critical thinker while digging deep to find the confidence and resolve to make it through. Our instructors were supportive and pushed us to find the skills we needed to start clinical placements and have the appropriate foundational nursing skills to bring with us.”

So it just gives me goosebumps when I read that, you know? We try to give our best way possible to give them the education and I'm glad when they are receiving it and giving such feedbacks.

Being an accelerated program it is expected to take up a significant amount of time so we just want it to be transparent that it's not advised to work as a full-time or part-time job during the program.

Next slide. So our Second Degree Distance Hybrid program is a mission-driven program that develops you as a holistically trained nurse with the knowledge and leadership skills to advance a profession and manage care for patients across the lifespan. By becoming a nurse, you can contribute to the healthcare, safety, and patient well-being through effective communication and collaboration, especially when there is a critical shortage of nurses. As you have heard from our own students, that we will prepare you to approach nursing care from an evidence-based mindset as you develop essential critical thinking skill and clinical skills. We also make sure to prepare our students to provide compassionate care, accountable and ethical care, and to serve as advocate for patient and population.

So from my personal experiences, even the healthcare providers have provided you know feedbacks about the about Holy Family nurses. So recently I took my mom to nearby hospital and when the doctor realized that I'm a faculty at Holy Family, she said, “Oh, we love Holy Family nurses. They are compassionate, empathetic, and efficient.”

And I said, “Well, that's our mission and we prepare them so, so I’m glad it's evident.”

So, you know, to just conclude that, at Holy Family we provide first-class education with an outstanding value and accelerated time to completion. So join our family. The people out there need you. Thank you.


Brett Sutow: Thank you Dr. Stephen. And now I'm gonna hand it over to Amber. Amber will be speaking to the role of an admissions counselor and then provide you with some admissions information. Amber, take it away.


Amber Baillargeon: All right. Thanks, Brett, and thank you Dr. Stephen. So I did just want to cover the role of the admissions counselor. So we are with you for your journey all along the way. It actually starts with talking to us, so we are an extension of your goals and we're going to work with you in the university admissions team on your behalf. We're with you every step of the way, all the way from the first conversation through being accepted into the program, and we are here to answer any questions that you have along the way. Don't hesitate to reach out.

So a couple benefits obviously of working with us on the admissions side is we do provide a clear admittance pathway based off of your qualifications and we are going to aid you in completing your application, submission of any documents, and also just be a liaison between you and the faculty in providing any answers to any important questions. And then just providing clear instruction and support throughout the entire process. You are never in the application process alone.

So a couple admission requirements that we do want to cover and highlight here is that you do have to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S college or university and that can be in any field, but with that comes that we do have a GPA minimum requirement of a 3.0 cumulative. And then there are some prerequisites that do have to be completed before you're able to start the program with a B- or higher so those courses are anatomy and physiology one with lab, anatomy and physiology two with lab, microbiology with lab, a nutrition course taught by a registered dietitian, and elementary statistics.

And then in addition to prerequisites we do have some state eligibility. So the states listed here are the states that we are able to work with, so that is Pennsylvania, however, that does exclude the following counties: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. And then we're also able to work with Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Vermont.

And then lastly here, just wanted to touch on the clinical placement services that we have for you. Wo we do have a placement services team that will collaborate with you to secure a quality site and preceptors. The clinical placement team does assist and allows you to just remain focusing on your coursework. As Dr. Stephen had said, it's rigorous. And we will exhaust all resources to ensure that you find a proper placement site to prepare you for your clinicals.


Brett Sutow: Awesome, thank you so much Amber. That was lovely to hear more about the admissions requirements.

Now, we're going to pass it over to Anna. Anna will take us into the role of the Student Success Coach and the support you'll receive throughout the process as a student at Holy Family. Anna, take it away.


Anna Rodriguez: Hello, everyone. My name is Anna and I am the Student Success Coach for our program here at Holy Family. I will be with you from start to finish. I will check in with you as frequently as you would like but definitely a few times throughout the term. I will help you out with the registration process, talk you through what is coming up and what to expect in your courses. I am available via text, email, I'm a call away, so there's definitely different ways to get in contact with me and I hope to respond to you within a few hours. That's my goal.

Also, we will talk about the different resources. I know Dr. Stephen briefly went over some but we have a lot so if you need help from your instructors obviously they have office hours that they would meet with you. The Writing Lab, Counseling Center, so a lot of different resources. But most importantly the goal is to prepare for the next classes and have you be successful here with us.

We have our University Systems, which we utilize Canvas. It will house everything: your courses, your degree plan, Canvas, your student email, financial, registration, and I'm here to guide you through the process to maneuver through it. Our orientation site is wonderful to make you feel more comfortable, especially if you're a first-time online student. It’s very user friendly, so we utilize our Canvas and here's a little snippet of our site and what that would look like as a student. And again, I am your point of contact through the support process here.


Brett Sutow: Thank you, Anna. Thank everybody for attending this event it's been wonderful. Thank you to our panelists.

At Holy Family, we believe in serving and giving back to our community Through the Second Degree Distance Hybrid BSN, we believe you can deliver the difference. Find your calling. Join our family.

I just thank everybody so much and now we're going to open it up for question-and-answer. If you have any questions, please put it in the box and the wonderful faculty and staff for Holy Family will be able to provide you with some answers. So we'll give that a few minutes to see if we have any questions come through. 


Dr. Margaret Harkins: I would just like to say a few words if you don't mind.


Brett Sutow: Of course.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: I’m Dr. Harkins, the Dean for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and we’re absolutely thrilled to have everyone here tonight. This is a wonderful career move for those of you who are interested in coming into the nursing profession. I can only imagine the shortages from where you're coming from as it's a national crisis right now. So I always tell the students when they come in that you'll never be unemployed in the profession of nursing unless you want to be, and not to mention the fact that it's a great paying profession as well, so that always helps bring students in. 

But I think coming into a nursing profession is a commitment like Dr. Stephen said. It is — you have to be 100% on board with this program as it is really rigorous. We are here and our team is here to work with you, to help you along the journey. 14 months goes relatively quick, so you got to kind of hit the ground running, but you already know that. You’ve already gone through another bachelor's degree.

So I think coming into nursing is a smart move. It is the hardest degree out there for a bachelor's degree, we have evidence of that in the literature, but it is well worth it. And the jobs are incredible and I would like to hear from some of you what the job market is and where you're coming from, what state you're coming from, and why you're looking to come to an online distance program as opposed to an on-ground program. 


Brett Sutow: Looks like we have some questions coming through. So the first one I see is, “I recognize it's only 14 months but is it possible to take a break if needed?” So, not sure who wants to handle that one.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: So yeah it's a 14-month program and the core sequences are prescriptive. So, you know you are progressing from one course to another course. So if you are taking a break that's considered as a leave of absence and then you have to like join back later and your cohort is gonna move ahead. And then, you know, you have to like begin with whatever you're pending. So it basically is like withdrawing from the program and then — break is like withdrawing from the program, taking a leave of absence and starting over.


Brett Sutow: Another question we have: "Are classes every day of the week?” 


Dr. Rinu Stephen: So typically there's no scheduled classes for this since it's online. So we do have live synchronous session that's planned by the faculty so it's typically three to four times in eight weeks, meaning the maximum like, again, you will be taking two courses together, two or three courses together in eight weeks. So it will end up to like one synchronous session every week and it's for one hour. There's no content being taught during live session. It's just an opportunity for you to interact with the faculty and the faculty will just give you an overview about that you know week’s content and if there's any clarification of concept—that's what happens. Like there is no scheduled class, live classes. Just varies with courses.

So for example, I taught 202, which is the Introduction to Nursing. So I had live sessions every Friday, 7:30 to 8:30. And another faculty had 204, it was Thursday, you know, depending upon the faculty availability. And it will be available in your syllabus.


Brett Sutow: Okay. Dr. Stephen, would you say that's a good chance to get to know your students and interact with them and really help them with any questions and guide them along?


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Oh, yes. And we do have office hours, so like two hours is there. So mine was Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8 to 10 p.m., I offer office hours. So if they have any questions related to the content they can set an appointment with me and meet with me. You know, any kind of clarification of concept or assignments and things like that. 

All the courses are pretty self-explanatory so we have all the information right there. But, you know, we will be there to guide them if they need it. 


Brett Sutow: Okay, now we have another question. “If I live near campus, can I take any classes there or use the Holy Family facilities?”


Dr. Rinu Stephen: We do have an on-campus program, on-campus ABSN program. It’s the same as the distance hybrid program. So it's just the delivery: online delivery is different. Like two tracks, the only difference is that one is offered online the other is on campus. So if you wanted to be on campus, like take scheduled classes, look and do 14-month day program. And of course like if you're nearby, we do have restrictions for counties for online program. So you know if you are if you are in the facility you can definitely use Holy Family facility if you're online. During the residency, our students definitely use like all the facilities and services offered.


Brett Sutow: Okay.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: The other option is to look up the day program.


Brett Sutow: Wonderful. Next question: “Are clinicals every day of the week and any shift?”


Dr. Rinu Stephen: So clinical, typically, you will be placed with a preceptor, so the student and the preceptor will work together with the schedule. The maximum hours students are allowed to do is 12 hours, so 6 to 12 hours per week they can do the clinical with the preceptor.


Brett Sutow: How many students are you seeing right now in the courses, Dr. Stephen? How many are you seeing? When a student enrolls, what can they expect? 


Dr. Rinu Stephen: So our cap is like 20 because we want to keep like a small group to give individual attention to the student. We don't believe in having like much enrollment and you know just give information. We just focus on individual students and meet their individual needs. So 20 is our cap for online programs.


Brett Sutow: Okay. And it looks like we have a follow-up about the leave of absence, Dr. Stephen. “Does that mean you'll be repeating the courses that you've already taken? Or does that mean you just start off from the same spot if you decide to withdraw and come back?”

Dr. Rinu Stephen: So it depends upon like when you are taking the break. For example, if you are beginning the program and then completing the courses and deciding to take a break for one semester like you know it depends upon the time that you need a break. You need a break in the middle of the semester? Definitely you have to repeat the course. But after completing courses, your grades are in and you wanted to take a break and then start over in summer? It would be possible.

Dr. Harkins, you wanted to add to that regarding the leave of absence and dropping of the course? definitely you have to repeat the course but after completing like courses your


Dr. Margaret Harkins: Yeah, so I just added in the chat, I just said that you don't have to repeat a course that you successfully finished. You have to complete the entire course, get a grade, and if you were successful in that course and you need to take a leap of absence like Dr. Stephen said, you're certainly eligible to do that. 

The only time that we have a little bit of concern—if you took a leave of absence and say you were out for about six to nine months for things that happened, and we have had this happen. Families, you know, have crises situations and individuals get injured and whatnot, then what we do is we bring you back but we want to make sure that you're up to speed with your skills. So we would probably test you out on blood pressures and pulse taking and those sorts of things. It wouldn't mean you would have to repeat any of those courses. We would just want to make sure that you are up to speed in those skill sets if you're out for a long period of time. But in most cases, once you've completed the course and you were successful, you return, you just pick up where you left off.


Brett Sutow: The next question that we have: “Can you CLEP courses like statistics or nutrition?”


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Dr. Harkins? 


Dr. Margaret Harkins: No. We don’t provide for CLEP courses right now. In the future, we might, but right now do not.


Brett Sutow: Okay. Okay, that's good to know. And then it looks like we have one more question. “Can you talk more about the residency? How long would I need to be on campus? And what are the days like?


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Okay, so the residency is typically offered during the first semester towards the end. So for example you start with three courses— 202, 204, and 347. By the end of the seventh week, typically the eighth week is the on-campus residency. So you will be on campus for seven days. You will be completing the lab requirement of 204 and 341, which is the next clinical course. So we have combined the residency together to meet the lab hours of both courses. That is why that's happening in between the 204 and 341 time frame. So it's typically the eighth week of the first semester. You have to travel here if you if you're outside the state and it's offered in the Newtown campus. 

And we will be teaching the skills basically like injections, you know, feeding, tracheostomy, etc. All the nursing skills before you go to clinical with the preceptor for 341 course.


Dr. Brett Sutow: Okay, perfect. It looks like that's all the questions that I'm seeing. Dr. Stephen, Dr. Harkins, do you have anything else you'd like to add before we wrap this up? Oh wait, looks like we got one more: “Is there a time limit for the prerequisites?” 


Amber Baillargeon: I can jump in on this one Brett. So, we do have a 10-year requirement. However, if you do exceed that 10-year rule, we do also ask for a resumé and actually Dr. Stephen and Dr. Harkins will take a look at that as well.


Brett Sutow: Does anyone else have any more questions? It looks like a few more are coming through: “Is financial aid offered or is it an out-of-pocket expense?”


Dr. Rinu Stephen: There's definitely final financial aid options at Holy Family, that's one of the services provided, which I didn't mention.


Brett Sutow: Okay, and that's also the next question: “Is FAFSA available as well?”


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Yes.


Brett Sutow: Any other questions from our attendees?


Dr. Rinu Stephen: I did want to add about the residency—I think I missed one question—how long you need to be on campus? So it's typically like Monday through Sunday.


Brett Sutow: Okay.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: The max is like seven days. Can be like six to seven days.


Brett Sutow: Any more questions? Looks like another one. “I understand about clinical placement help but does Holy Family offer job placement support after graduation?” 


Dr. Rinu Stephens: Dr. Harkins? Want to jump in?


Dr. Margaret Harkins: Well, I can say that there are depending upon where you live. I can tell you, in the Pennsylvania area there are tons of jobs available. And we have the hospitals knocking down our doors for our graduates literally. So yes job placement is not an issue. You will have a job. Many of our graduates end up getting hired even before they graduate.


Brett Sutow: Oh, wow. I think Dr. Stephen. I think said it said it best. It sounds like around the area, Holy Family students coming in as nurses are well-known so that's wonderfu.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: They are. We have a wonderful reputation.


Brett Sutow: Looks like that might be it for questions. I don't see any more coming but I want to hand it over to Dr. Harkins or Dr. Stephen if you wanted to add any anything else before we wrap this up.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: I would just like to see if anyone could type in where they're from, where they're located, that brought them on to this call. I’m curious what areas are being captured out there. Anybody want to type anything?


Brett Sutow: We have a Scranton.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: oh, okay. Excellent.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Yeah, we do have a student right now from Scranton.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: yeah, yeah, that’s great.


Brett Sutow: that’s wonderful. Allentown. Lehigh County. 


Dr. Margaret Harkins: okay. Wonderful. That's that whole St Luke's and all that area up there. Wonderful.


Brett Sutow: Northeast Philadelphia, we have.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: You’re five minutes from us. You need to come talk to us.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Right. You’ll be eligible for our on-campus program.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: Yeah.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: So for on-campus program, the pattern is different. Like you have scheduled classes. So you have to attend the class and then they will be sending out to the clinical — it's not preceptor but the clinical faculty is going to be there. So a faculty from Holy Family is gonna be with eight students in the clinical. Here, for online program, it's one to one. 


Brett Sutow: So it's a little bit different for the on-ground to online.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: It is.

Dr. Rinu Stephen: So the content and like everything is just the same. The only thing only difference is that the delivery model is different One can be like, online is mainly for, you know, working people and then have obligations with family, things like that.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: It looks like Maria's from Mississippi. That’s another one of our states.


Brett Sutow: A further one than Pennsylvania. Awesome.


Dr. Rinu Stephen: We would love to have you on board, Maria.


Brett Sutow: Yes.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: Absolutely. All of you. 


Brett Sutow: Well, it looks like there's no more questions coming in. So I think we can wrap things up. Again I just want to thank our wonderful staff and faculty from Holy Family who joined us today and spoke so wonderfully about this program. Again, we hope you find your calling at Holy Family and we'd love for you to join our family. So thank you all so much for joining in and we just appreciate everyone who attended this event. So thank you so much.


Dr. Margaret Harkins: Thanks, everybody! Hope to see you!


Dr. Rinu Stephen: Bye!


Dr. Margaret Harkins: Take care!