Barbara Barta, PhD, RN, Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Nursing Programs at Mount Carmel College of Nursing, is a familiar face among students. Chances are, if you are walking on the first floor of Marian Hall to class, you will see her hard at work in her office, pausing to offer a friendly smile to all who pass. A strong presence at Mount Carmel, she seems to wear many hats when it comes to academics, especially with the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program.
The ROTC program at Mount Carmel College of Nursing is unique in its ability to create leaders in addition to nurses. In collaboration with The Ohio State University, students who are interested in military nursing have the opportunity to take military science classes, while also pursuing their BSN at MCCN as a full-time student. Barta is the liaison for the ROTC program, in charge of transitioning students and making sure they are meeting the necessary requirements at both institutions.
On top of all this, Barta is actively involved in the Nursing 3530, “Military Nursing Survey: Intro to Officership” class, offered as a fulfillment option for part of the four-credit Nursing Seminar requirement at MCCN. The class, which is designed to stretch students’ knowledge of basic military leadership, teaches the values that the Army develops in their own programs. The class is taught by an ROTC instructor from Ohio State, but Barta often oversees the classes.
“I always try to bring the parallel to nursing in this class. We show students how we can use Army values and apply them to nursing,” says Barta. “There’s something very valuable in these learned skills. They become life skills.”
Barta is not unfamiliar with the lifestyle, as her father, husband and son were all active in military life.
“I really respect the people who do this. I admire their self-discipline, leadership, respect and camaraderie, which are values that I see in all of our ROTC students,” according to Dr. Barta, “They all have amazing motivation to study.”
ROTC students at Mount Carmel also have the unique opportunity to attend a four-week nursing program in conjunction with their mandatory Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC). The Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) is a four-week camp designed to give ROTC students real-world clinical experience in the Army nursing hospital setting. In order to encourage students to attend this program, Barta has made it possible for students to receive clinical credit in “Nursing 408: Transitions to Practice” through the NSTP camp, while also completing their theory requirements online.
“Six students have taken advantage of the opportunity and have returned feeling like they were more well-prepared than their peers from all over the country,” Barta cites. ”It makes me happy to see that we are being well-represented everywhere.”
While the Nursing 3530 class teaches military skills, it is not exclusively offered to ROTC students. “I have had non-ROTC students come up to me and tell me they wished they’d taken it sooner because of the valuable skills it taught them,” says Barta. All students are welcome to take the class, which is two credits and will be offered during the Spring 2015 semester.