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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions for High School Students:

What courses should I be taking now?

Questions About Being a Student Nurse:

What are the different types of nursing that I can specialize in?

What are the different types of degrees I can obtain at Duquesne University School of Nursing?

What student organizations can I belong to that are specific to nursing?

What is the NCLEX-RN exam?

Questions about the Community-Based Synergy Curriculum:

What is a community-based curriculum?

Are the students only in the community setting? When are the students in a hospital setting for their clinical experience?

Where is the obstetric and pediatric content/clinical in the curriculum?

When do the students have a critical care experience?

When does the students’ clinical experience begin?

To what communities are the students assigned? Can the students move out of that community and be assigned elsewhere?

How many credits are in the curriculum?

Suggestions from senior students…

  • During the summer after your sophomore year and junior year, try to get a job in a hospital. Apply for internships and nursing aid positions. This will expose you to the work environment and provide you with invaluable clinical experience (not to mention networking for your future job).
  • Try to benefit from every possible learning experience. It's better to take the time and learn it when you are a student than on your first day at work!
  • Join all the professional organizations that time permits. Being active will provide you with valuable job connections in the future.

Questions for Second Degree Applicants:

When is the application deadline?

How long is the program and when does it begin?

Is the program full time or can I go part time?

Am I able to work while enrolled in the program?

Where can I complete the prerequisite coursework?

Do the prerequisites need to be completed before I apply to the program?

Is there a specific form for the references to complete?


What courses should I be taking now?
Students often ask which courses would be beneficial to take during high school that will adequately prepare them for furthering their education at Duquesne University. The following graph has been devised to help guide students in their high school course selections. The courses have been ranked as required, strongly recommended, or helpful. Courses marked "required" and "recommended" would be most beneficial to the serious student.

Required Courses

Recommended Courses

Helpful Courses

Algebra I (1 year)
General Science (1 year)
Biology (1 year)
Chemistry (1 year)
English (4 years)
Social Studies (3-4 years)
Foreign Language (2 years)

Anatomy & Physiology
Algebra II
Plane Geometry I
Trigonometry
Computer Science
Physics
Advanced Science
Oral Skills
Fine Arts

Calculus


What are the different types of nursing that I can specialize in?
Nursing has become a highly specialized field. Nurses can specialize and work in a variety of fields. Here are just a few examples:

Geriatrics
Pediatrics
Neonatal
Critical Care
Trauma
Obstetrics
Cardiac
Neurology
Operating Room
Oncology
Emergency Room
Mental Health
Gastroenterology
Recovery Room
Pulmonary
Medical Surgical
Home Health Care
Forensics
School Nurse
Long-term Care
Occupational Health
Military Nurse
Otpatient Services
Hospice

What are the different types of degrees I can obtain at Duquesne University School of Nursing?
Nurses can hold several different degrees. Bachelors and masters degrees are the most common to have. Many nurses go on to become nurse practitioners or obtain certification in specialized areas of nursing. Duquesne University School of Nursing offers specialization at the masters degree level in:
Family Nurse Practitioner
Forensic Nursing
Nursing Education

Post-master's certificates are available in:
Family Nurse Practitioner
Forensic Nursing
Nursing Education
Transcultural/International Nursing

A PhD degree and a DNP degree in nursing is also offered at Duquesne.

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What student organizations can I belong to that are specific to nursing?
Duquesne University has a number of nursing organization that you can join. It is extremely important and highly beneficial to join your student organizations.

Alpha Tau Delta (ATD)
Alpha Tau Delta is a national professional fraternity for nursing students. The Theta Chapter was chartered at the Duquesne University campus in 1938. Eligibility is limited to full-time students who have completed a minimum of one semester in the School of Nursing with a cumulative quality point average of 2.5.

Chi Eta Phi
Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. was founded in 1932 at Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C. Duquesne University's School of Nursing chapter was founded in the spring of 1996. Nationally comprised of more than 5,000 members, (males and females who are predominantly Black) Chi Eta Phi represents many cultures and diverse ethnic backgrounds. Chi Eta Phi is also involved with national programs that include disease prevention and health promotion, educational scholarships, leadership development, recruitment and retention of nurses, and programs for the elderly as well as girls and boys.

Male Association of Nursing (MAN)
Founded by several male students, this organization began in late 2004 with a vision to address the needs and interests of our growing male nursing student population. The purpose of MAN is to provide a common means for Duquesne University students, staff, and alumni to participate in promoting male nursing at the collegiate, local, state, and national level through service related projects, activities promoting nursing, and activities promoting a brotherhood within the School of Nursing.

Duquesne University Student Nurses Association (DUSNA)
DUSNA is a professional organization interested in contributing to nursing education by volunteerism, thereby contributing to the community and university. Our organization strives to keep abreast of the current healthcare issues and concerns, legislation and other prudent issues at a preprofessional stage by speaking out and attending various conventions and bi-annual legislative programs. Most importantly, each and every nursing student of DUSNA grows as a whole person by their individual dedication and collaboration in striving to make a difference. When you join DUSNA you also become a member of the national organization, the National Student Nurses' Association.

Sigma Theta Tau International
The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International is dedicated to promoting excellence in nursing education, practice and research. Duquesne University’s Chapter, Epsilon Phi, was inducted into this honor society in March of 1982. The stated purpose of the Duquesne Chapter is to recognize superior achievement in nursing and to develop qualities of leadership among nursing professionals and students, to foster high professional standards of nursing practice, and to strengthen commitment to the ideals and purposes of professional nursing.


What is the NCLEX-RN?
The NCLEX-RN is the National Certification Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. All nursing students are required by law to take the NCLEX-RN in order to become registered nurses. The NCLEX-RN is taken after you graduate from an accredited nursing program.

What is the preparation for the NCLEX-RN?
NCLEX preparation starts in the freshman year. All students use a software program to promote success in their courses as well as on the NCLEX. Faculty in all courses have made a commitment to active learning strategies which enhance critical thinking skills and NCLEX success. In addition, tests are constructed similarly to the NCLEX and NCLEX questions are used during the class time as a teaching strategy.

Students take two nursing courses in their senior year that focus on the NCLEX exam.

What is a community-based curriculum?
Unlike more traditional curricula, our students begin their clinical experience in the community or “neighborhood” and learn their basic skills in this setting. Since our curriculum is grounded in the community, our students maintain a presence in their community throughout the four years. They also have an appreciation of the emerging spheres of health care needs such as the health promotion needs of the community, the management of long term care, and chronic care needs of aging citizens.

Are the students only in the community setting? When are the students in a hospital setting for their clinical experience?
The students are not only in the community setting. They are in a hospital setting starting in their junior year, the focus of which is acute illness. The students have a total of 1170 clinical hours (hospital based–675, community-based–495).

Where is the obstetric and pediatric content/clinical in the curriculum?
Our curriculum is an integrated curriculum and all courses cover the lifespan. Specialty areas such as obstetrics, pediatrics, and psychiatric mental health nursing are integrated throughout the curriculum.

When do the students have a critical care experience?
All students have a critical care experience in the spring semester of their junior year in the course UPNS 322 Synergy in Nursing Practice: Illness II. In addition, when students are in their final semester, many choose a critical care setting for the transition course UPNS 416 Synergy in Nursing Practice.

When does the students’ clinical experience begin?
The students are placed in a community setting for UPNS 107 Service Learning Strategies in the spring semester of the freshman year. This placement is in a school in one of our “neighborhoods” which is where they will have their community-based clinical experiences. However, the actual clinical experiences do not start until the fall semester of the sophomore year with UPNS 203 Synergy in Nursing Practice: Healthy People I.

To what communities are the students assigned? Can the students move out of that community and be assigned elsewhere?
The current communities or “neighborhoods” to which the students are assigned are: East Liberty, Hill District, Homewood, McKees Rocks, Northside and South Side. The students will remain in their assigned community through the senior year. However, they may be assigned to an experience outside of their neighborhood dependent on the availability of the experiences.

How many credits are in the curriculum?
There are 130 credits in this curriculum.

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When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is December 1st.

How long is the program and when does it begin?
The program is a twelve-month program that begins in August and concludes the following August.

Is the program full time or can I go part time?
The program is full time only with class and clinical experiences during the day.

Am I able to work while enrolled in the program?
It is strongly recommended that you do not work while in the program due to the time and effort necessary to excel in the program.

Where can I complete the prerequisite coursework?
The coursework may be completed at any accredited college or university.

Do the prerequisites need to be completed before I apply to the program?
No. You may apply to the program before completing the prerequisites. If accepted, your admission will be contingent upon successful completion of the coursework before the program begins.

Is there a specific form for the references to complete?
No. The letter should address your desire to obtain your BSN and your ability to do well in an accelerated BSN program.

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