TCSPP launches online nursing program focused on mental health
Nurses play a vital role in our health care system: providing and coordinating patient care; educating patients, families, and the public about various health conditions; and providing health information and emotional support to patients and their family members. Now, with increasing health care consumer expectations of integrated quality health care, nurses are expected to expand their roles by not only focusing on physiological aspects of diseases but also the psychosocial dimension of patients’ lives.
To help address this challenge, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) launched their first Online Nursing Program, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN), that places emphasis on the psycho-social aspects of nursing and mental health.
The online nursing program both paves a path for current registered nurses (RNs) to advance their careers while also deepening their understanding about the significance of mental health during the delivery of quality, integrated health care.
“Other programs may be graduating students with a general nursing degree. But in the nursing profession, we always say we need to look at patients in a holistic way,” says Dr. Usama Saleh, whose more than 16 years of experience in nursing clinical practice, clinical education, and academic leadership made him a prime choice as department chair of TCSPP’s nursing program. “Many nurses are well equipped with competencies to deal with physical and physiological aspects of treatment, but they lack the competencies and knowledge to deal with patients from a psychosocial aspect. Once nurses learn about mental health they will be better capable of delivering psycho-social support to their patients, their patient’s families, and to the community at large.”
The Bachelor of Science (RN-BSN) program at TCSPP is full-time, 100 percent online, and can be completed in as little as 16 months.
“This is a program meant for registered nurses,” Dr. Saleh says. “Generally, these are going to be adult students, potentially with families, have full-time jobs, and a social life. They are not the traditional students who can come out of high school and go to a university campus—they don’t have time. Online education gives RNs the convenience to log on whenever and wherever they are able, and allows them to juggle their education, family life, and work.”
There is currently a severe shortage in the field of nursing, but it is even worse when it comes to psychiatric mental health nurses—the job outlook for psychiatric nurses shows a predicted growth rate of 26 percent by the year 2020.
The online RN-BSN program not only helps graduates better understand mental illnesses, but it can also prepare them to deal with many of the psycho-social aspects of treatment that may often be overlooked.
“When an individual is sick, their family may also need some caring. Because the individual is sick, the family may also be suffering from the absence of a care provider,” says Dr. Saleh. “They may experience financial hardship or other psycho-social problems. So we need to not just look at the individual patient, but also look at the family unit and provide care accordingly.
“We can be caring for a cancer patient and administering chemotherapy while simultaneously dealing with the patient’s anger because they have been diagnosed with cancer. Or maybe dealing with the patient’s depression because they know that they may be dying soon. So, in addition to delivering the regular nursing care for the physical problem, which is cancer, graduates would be capable of giving the support and care needed to support a patient experiencing these additional aspects related to mental health that many RNs may not often think about.
In addition to addressing the need for nursing programs that provide current RNs with a foundational understanding of mental health, our online RN-BSN program can increase the appeal of graduates to hospitals seeking Magnet Status, an award given to hospitals by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The award represents that a hospital has fulfilled predetermined requirements measuring the strength and quality of their nursing staff. Therefore, hospitals may seek to hire more nurses with a BSN degree or encourage current nursing staff to complete an RN-BSN program.
Current RNs who complete TCSPP’s online RN-BSN program may also be able to advance into roles they were not previously qualified for.
“Once you have a bachelor’s degree in nursing you can be a head nurse, nurse manager, educator, researcher, consultant, and more,” Dr. Saleh says. “So, bridging their education to a bachelor degree opens many more opportunities for current nurses.”
TCSPP’s expansion into the field of nursing underscores our commitment to building inter-professional education and interdisciplinary degree programs that provide education focused on integrated health care. In combination with our health services degree programs (Master of Public Health, Master of Health Services Administration, Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology), the online RN-BSN program pushes us further into the future of health care, where a holistic understanding of how patient health care works will be essential.
Are you interested in learning more about nursing programs at The Chicago School? Visit the nursing program page or fill out the form below for more information. Or you can apply today through our application portal.
Blake C. Pinto
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