In September, the Student Government Association at Mount Carmel (SGA) sent a letter to MCCN President Christine Wynd, PhD, RN, outlining and offering assistance to help address these concerns:
- Affordable tuition and fees, including an explanation of the costs associated with the medical surgical class, which is a little over $10,000
- Classes that would allow for a healthy lifestyle, noting that many classes end at 11:50 a.m., but a typical hospital work shift begins at 11 a.m., requiring students to work the late shifts. SGA expressed concern for early burnout
- Printing that is free and convenient. SGA noted that not being able to print in the library has created a huge inconvenience for many students, since there are now only two printers in the Student Computer Lab for the 550 undergrads enrolled at MCCN
- Creating a recycling program
- Clear communication between students and administration. SGA noted examples of changes over the summer that students were unaware of
In response to these concerns, Dr. Wynd sent a letter to SGA President Elizabeth Wells, which is reproduced below with Dr. Wynd’s permission, along with the attachments that support her response.
Dear Ms. Wells:
Thank you for your letter dated September 10, 2015. I am very happy to recognize your letter as representing the voice of our students and I think it is highly professional and positively constructive that you communicate concerns and issues while also desiring to be a part of the solution. Together as students, staff, faculty, and administration, we can work as a team to make the Mount Carmel College of Nursing (MCCN) a truly great place to study and learn.
As President, I also recognize the tremendous cost of a nursing education today and my desire is to provide you with a fiscally sound yet high quality education. Attachment A lists Ohio private colleges and universities offering nursing programs. If you compare the average annual cost of an MCCN education with other programs, MCCN appears to be very competitive and a great deal less expensive than other schools. This observation is probably not terribly comforting because the cost is still high, but we believe that we provide an excellent education while keeping the costs at least in line with our college expenses in terms of paying our bills. We are certainly happy to continue to dialogue about the costs of an MCCN education.
Attachment B provides a detailed breakdown of MCCN costs as published on our website. I am in the process of obtaining additional information from Business Office Director, Ms. Kathy Smith; however, I would guess that the expense of the medical-surgical course is due to the fact that it is a full semester course containing 10 credit hours, 96 total theory clock hours, 168 clinical clock hours, and 24 laboratory clock hours, thus totaling 288 clock hours (see Attachment C for our BSN curriculum plan). The medical-surgical course constitutes many more hours beyond the other nursing courses and requires faculty to teach in the classroom, clinical faculty to teach in the clinical areas, and the clinical faculty are many in number due to our promise to students to keep ratios of faculty to students low – approximately 1 faculty per 6-8 students in each clinical rotation. The laboratory time and the number of students moving through the labs also require purchase and upkeep of equipment and supplies.
I am not certain that we can reduce costs further because it is very expensive for a college to provide nursing education mainly due to the sheer numbers of faculty needed and the labs, equipment and supplies. Yet, since the beginning of my presidency, my leadership staff and I have been examining expenses, realigning and sequencing courses, particularly at the graduate level, where there are fewer students compared to the BSN programs, and we hope to bring our expenses into a better accounting for the future.
In terms of scheduling courses for a healthier lifestyle, I am not quite sure how to address this issue. Would you prefer starting earlier in the morning for courses? This issue will probably require more long-term discussion with faculty and all students in a democratic fashion to determine the best solutions.
Regarding printing that is free and convenient, I hope that our MCCN students understand that other colleges and universities charge for printing. Most schools have students use a “swipe” card, similar to your identification card, and you have to add money to the card via cash, debit, or credit cards. The student must then swipe into the printer to make the prints and pay for printing. Printers, the paper, and especially ink cartridges are very expensive and that is why the library has had to close all printing to students.
I am not certain what is involved in offering printing and printing charges to students but this may be the direction we will need to take as our MCCN/Mount Carmel Health Systems budgets are tightened more and more each year. Also, we do not have the staff to maintain the printers each time they break, jam, or require more paper or cartridges, and so we would need to request more staff. In light of these concerns, there is a good chance that some kind of fee or payment will need to be charged to students in the future for printing. Decreasing the faculty and student dependency on paper is a very worthwhile subject to pursue in terms of finding a solution.
Recycling is certainly an issue that is worth discussing. I understand that you and other students are doing some investigation into options available for bringing recycling to the college. This is a very admirable endeavor and I hope that we can continue to pursue it and discuss options.
Our mission is to provide an organizational culture in the college that allows for open, honest, constructive, and professional communication. We want to have everyone informed to the greatest degree possible about changes, innovations, new ideas, and solutions. The faculty, staff and administrators want to discuss communication further with students and try to find solutions that will fit the needs of the majority. I will work with the Student and Alumni Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees to find better times for students to be present at these meetings. Ms. Colleen Cipriani has already apprised me of this need for a better meeting time and I will attempt to find solutions. Additionally, I believe that you are working with my Executive Secretary, Ms. Tonya Fletcher, to find times when a majority of our students can meet with faculty and staff to discuss issues. If these times need to be adjusted for improved attendance, we will attempt to do so.
Your letter and the work of the Student Government Association (SGA) at MCCN are admirable endeavors. Achieving the dream of becoming a professional nurse is significant for each student as well as for our society in general. I personally look very forward to working with you, the SGA, and all of the motivated and wonderful students that come to MCCN for their nursing education.
Christine A. Wynd, PhD, RN
President, Mount Carmel College of Nursing