Master of nursing degree takes in first students

The first class in the Master of Nursing Program at TRU. (Jennifer Will/The Omega)

The long-awaited master of nursing degree program has finally kicked off after receiving university and government approval.

Dean of nursing Donna Murnaghan said that the master’s degree program will allow students to achieve an advanced level of nursing, leading to opportunities for nurses to have leadership training, to become educators for the next round of students and to do field research.

“We need nurse researchers to answer questions that will inform policy and practice healthcare delivery. So, a natural transition is the best way that I would describe it, that a graduate program allows for research, education, and advanced practice. That is really critical,” Murnaghan said

The program gives students the option to do a thesis, a project or a paper which makes it unique compared to other graduate programs. The program was built to give flexibility to students and can be completed part-time or full-time.

Angela Achoba is one of the students admitted to the new program.

Achoba started her master’s in 2015 at UBC but has had difficulty making strides due to the commute time, her busy work schedule and her family life.

“I started here [at TRU] in 2007 with the nursing program. It has been great having all of these amazing instructors teach me and help me grow as a person and as a nurse and I really want to give back to the community. I want to give back by teaching here in a university setting or in a clinical setting, just give back to the newer nurses that are coming up,” Achoba said.

Achoba added that she wanted to pursue her masters in order further her own practice but also to be well educated in the field.

“Nursing is a program where lifelong learning is essential,” Achoba said. “I’m just very excited that this program has come to life.”

Murnaghan added that this program was many years in the making and the program is not only a success for the school of nursing but also for the university.

Murnaghan wanted to show her commitment to students’ success in the new program by starting her very own scholarship. The Dr. Donna Murnaghan Award for leadership and quality improvement will give $1,500 to one student every year.

“I have had a long career in nursing. I started off as a young woman saying my whole passion was to become a nurse, and I graduated in 1975. I’ve been in education since 1978 and what I’ve observed is nursing students, like most students, will struggle,” Murnaghan said.

“I just started putting money aside and thought, if I could help make the difference in one student’s life a year for the rest of my time, that would be pretty rewarding.”