muw's nursing program: a tradition of excellence


Alexandra Woolbright

Senior Editor

Sitting in Hogarth Cafeteria surrounded by friends, Ruth Brown appears to be the typical college student. Her easy-going wave hello to others certainly doesn’t bring attention to the notes she’s diligently studying. In fact, someday this material could help her save someone’s life.

A senior BSN major from Saltillo, Miss., Brown is a nursing student, making her far from the ordinary college student.

“Since I was a child I’ve known that I would pursue a career in the medical field. My mother was a nurse and always encouraged me to become self-sufficient and independent. A degree in nursing will provide me with a stable career with endless opportunities for advancement and furthering my education,” she says.

After deciding to become a nurse, she needed to determine where she would attend college. Brown found it was any easy decision.

“MUW’s nursing program is hailed as one of the best in the state. I knew that I wanted to advance my education and being in the bestprogram would provide me with the best opportunities. After being offered a scholarship through the Ina E. Gordy Honor’s College, I knew this university was meant for me,” she says.

Brown, like many others, made a wise decision by coming to Mississippi University for Women.

Accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (Associate of Science in Nursing) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (Bachelor and Master’s in Nursing), the nursing program at MUW ranks among the highest licensure exam performances. In 2011 U.S. News ranked MUW in the top grad schools for nursing.

According to the MUW nursing website, students and graduates have achieved success and awards at local, state, and national levels. Some of these awards include the National Spirit of Nursing Award, the National Pfizer Advanced Nursing Practioner Award for exceptional contributions to health care, and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing Educator Award.

All of these achievements certainly reflect on the faculty who work each day to help students become nurses.

One professor dedicated to helping students achieve is Brandy Houlk Larmon, an MUW alum and Assistant Professor of Nursing in the ASN program.

“I chose the W because of its excellent reputation among healthcare agencies and the community. I chose to teach because not only do I love my job, but the job allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds. I get to work with wonderful students while still practicing clinically with students and patients,” she says.

MUW provides multiple programs in nursing to accommodate all types of qualifying students.

Students who wish to receive an ASN have two options. A Generic Option is open for qualifying students who currently have no nursing experience and an Advanced Placement Option for students who wish to go from a Licensed Practical Nurse to an ASN.

Like the ASN program, the BSN program at MUW also provides two options. A Generic Option is provided for those who wish to complete a 4-year degree plan and an Advanced Placement Option for individuals wishing to advance their careers as registered nurses.

Both programs are open to students who meet ACT, GPA and other course requirements. Program requirements differ.

With such a high-achieving program, there are, of course, high standards expected of the nursing students. Students in the programs are expected to maintain a “passing” score of a “C” or higher in their nursing courses.

“If a student fails a nursing course in the ASN program they are no longer allowed to continue. They meet with the department chair to discuss their future options. If the student wishes to re-enter, she must have a GPA of 2.5 and write a letter of intent to the Readmission Committee. After a year, if there is a spot available, the student may be allowed to re-enter,” Larmon says.

Requirements for readmission and continuance vary by each program.

Being a nursing student certainly requires a strong work ethic and determination.

“It is important for students to be organized, dedicated and have excellent problem-solving and prioritization skills, along with good study habits,” Larmon says.

Brown agrees that nursing school has taught her a lot about herself and the habits she had to develop.

“I’ve learned most about self-motivation and determination. At times I feel completely exhausted from the program. I have learned that I have to be completely responsible for myself and get through one day at a time,” she says.

Despite the hard work expected of applicants, that doesn’t seem to deter them from applying and hoping to become a part of the program at MUW.

Dani Jennings, a sophomore Pre Nursing major of Brandon, Miss., is one of those hopefuls.

“My fears [for nursing school] are the stress and not being good enough. I’ve always had great grades, but the workload is intimidating, but I wanted to come here because it’s the best program around,” she says.

Though the program may be tough, the achievements certainly showcase the hard work and dedication provided by both the students and faculty.

“Our faculty and staff are committed to producing programs and graduates for which the W can be proud. Students who are enrolled in our programs know they will be held to high standards, but they will graduate recognized for their accomplishments in both the healthcare area, as well as the community,” Larmon says.

Certainly, this sentiment is also held in the minds of the program’s students.

“I have no doubt that I will leave the W with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue my professional career. The excellence shown by the faculty in the nursing program and standards to which I am upheld ensure that I will become an exceptional nurse,” Brown says.