Plaid Works

Judith McKenna: ‘People Need Nurses’

December 03, 2013

Nurses need a liberal arts preparation, says Judith McKenna, the director of Alma College’s new nursing program.

The first class of up to 32 nursing students will enter in fall 2014.

“Students in our program will not be taught in silos or segregated from other students,” she says. “They will have opportunities to bring together concepts from biology and chemistry as well as English, political science, sociology, administration and even the arts and apply them to the nursing practice. We intend to prepare nurses who have the ability to communicate, think critically and realize the value of a well-rounded education.”

The four-year bachelor’s degree has become the minimum educational standard for the nursing profession, says McKenna.

“People need nurses, and that’s why it is so important to develop competent nurses who can think critically,” she says. “It’s nurses who are at the bedside of a critically ill patient or with the family who has lost a loved one. It’s nurses who guide families through the next steps of their recovery programs. It’s nurses who look at personal situations beyond the disease and see what really needs to happen at this point in a patient’s life.

“Nurses need to be able to do these things,” she says. “The BSN equates to the development of a professional nurse and incorporates ethics, research, leadership and creativity.”