Pathway to Nursing program brings nursing to K-State

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(Illustration by Zoe Schumacher | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: In the print edition and original online version, Sherry Pogranichniy’s title was incorrect. Her title, originally “dean of health and human sciences,” has been corrected to “academic advisor in the College of Health and Human Sciences.” We apologize for this error.

The Manhattan area is a “registered nurse desert” because there is no nursing school nearby, said Laura Sooby, assistant director of undergraduate programs at Wichita State University School of Nursing. This is a need that the K-State and Wichita State Pathway to Nursing program seeks to fill. 

The program was developed under K-State’s College of Health and Human Sciences and is a partnership with Wichita State University, Sherry Pogranichniy, academic advisor in the College of Health and Human Sciences, said. Students in this program will graduate with two majors, one from K-State and one from Wichita State, Pogranichniy said.

“It’s a little different because normally if someone just wants to do a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, they’re going to do two years of prerequisites and two years of actual nursing classes and clinical experiences,” Pogranichniy said. “This program, they actually need to do not only the nursing prerequisites, but also another major and that’s going to be their K-State major. So the nursing isn’t a K-State major, Wichita State actually offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing or the BSN program.”

Pogranichniy said the program usually takes at least a year longer than traditional majors, but this depends on the amount of dual credit students bring into college and the K-State major they choose.

Students in the Pathway to Nursing program typically spend their first three years on their K-State bachelor’s degree, then spend their last two years in WSU’s nursing program. 

“We’re not really finishing the bachelor’s degree in three years,” Pogranichniy said. “We’re using nursing classes to finish it. So the nursing classes will transfer back to Kansas State as electives in their original major that they started with and they would graduate with both degrees at the same time.”

Some K-State majors work better than others in conjunction with the program, Pogranichniy said.

“If a major has a lot of electives, it works better because we can use more nursing classes in that 120 credits that we usually need to get a bachelor’s degree at K-State,” Pogranichniy said.  “If a major has fewer electives … it has more required courses. So it might take a full four years to finish the requirements and then two more years to do nursing.”

Pogranichniy said majors that work well with the nursing program include: health and nutrition, human development and family sciences, integrative human sciences, kinesiology, life sciences, psychology, sociology and possibly anthropology. 

Sooby said the double major program will help students in their future careers.

“It’s a very unique model, and is especially beneficial for those rural communities or those people who will practice in them, because it’ll offer the students a chance to have a separate specialty or a separate perspective that a single bachelor’s degree would not offer them,” Sooby said. “So they might have an accounting or kinesiology or dietetics background and that will help inform their practice as an RN.”

The first six students began nursing classes in the fall 2022 semester and another class of nurses have been admitted for the spring semester. 

Sooby said even though the faculty in the nursing program are WSU faculty and have yellow and black name tags, they live in Manhattan. 

Pogranichniy said one of the things she likes about the program is it allows students to stay at K-State for nursing school, as nursing students will do clinical or practicum in Manhattan and surrounding communities.

Audrey Mellick, freshman in public health and pre-nursing, said she is considering staying at K-State for nursing school.

“I just absolutely love K-State and I want to stay somewhere that has a great opportunity,” Mellick said.

Pogranichniy said students who are interested in the program can email her directly at sherrypo@ksu.edu to get information. High school students who have selected pre-nursing will automatically get an appointment with Pogranichniy if they visit K-State.

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