Spring 2003


New nursing program offers fast track to a professional career

Visiting Norwegian professor has much to teach and learn at PLU


New nursing program offers fast track to a professional career

College graduates looking for a career change are discovering new opportunities in health care through a program at Pacific Lutheran University.

The entry-level master of science in nursing program will enroll its first class in June. By the end of the following summer, successful students will be able to take the RN licensing examination while completing coursework for a master’s degree. The full program takes 36 months.

"I’ve always loved science and been interested in a career in nursing," said Maria Pecchia, who graduated from PLU in 1999 with a double major in biology and history. "This program is the only one that will allow me to become an RN after 15 months and get back into the work force while I complete my master’s degree. I could never afford to spend the three more years in school that similar programs require."

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in any field and have completed courses in statistics, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and developmental psychology.

The first 15 months is a period of intense, full-time coursework and clinical training in preparation for the national exam for a registered nurse’s license.

After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, students enter the 21-month advanced practice portion of the program. These graduate-level classes are offered one day and one evening each week enabling students to also work part-time as registered nurses.

"It’s an exciting new program that is good for our students and good for the nursing profession," said Emily Mize, graduate coordinator in the PLU School of Nursing.

Mize estimates that an entry level RN can work half-time and earn $20,000 a year. "There are many job openings, with real job security and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others," Mize said.

"In addition, with a master’s degree and a few years of experience as an RN, graduates of the program will be well-positioned to fill a teaching position in many of the nation’s nursing schools where there is a critical shortage of instructors," she said.

Nurses holding a master’s degree are also often well qualified to move into leadership and management positions in nursing, Mize said.

For more information call 253-535-8264, e-mail, or visit


Visiting Norwegian professor has much to teach and learn at PLU

Thousands of miles from home in Olso, Norway, Gerd Melsaeter is sharing her knowledge with PLU students while extending the university’s good reputation throughout the Scandinavian community.

Melsaeter, a visiting professor of nursing, came to PLU in the fall of 2001 as part of a sabbatical she earned as dean of the four campuses of the Oslo nursing program. Her experience was so powerful that she continued her work in the 2002-03 academic year.

She focuses on research and working with students in their practicums as well as writing stories for Norwegian magazines and newspapers on the differences in educating in the health care field.

"The people here are good people," she says. "The university is not so big. They can integrate more of the theory and practice."

The day after Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, Melsaeter spoke lovingly of the award given in her hometown and of a vision of bringing peace through education.

"The university and educational system can do so much more for peace in the world." Melsaeter says. "We must learn more about other people."

She says students should understand the experience of being a foreigner in order to sympathize with others in a similar situation, and to empathize with those from other cultures.

Hands-on practice is a key element that Melsaeter has seen at PLU. She believes that the personal connections students make with one another, professors and especially patients, set the PLU nursing school apart from the programs she has participated in Norway. The global traveling professor, who has studied Asian and European programs, hopes to create a program that allows students and professors to live and study in a series of countries with diverse cultures and methods. She sees opportunities to incorporate many of the strengths of the PLU nursing program on international levels.

Terry Miller, dean of the School of Nursing, said having Melsaeter at PLU has been a great experience – both in the educational and cultural sense.

"I think Gerd and other Norwegians offer a perspective on nationalized health care," he said. "It’s just been a great cultural exchange. And she’s just a wonderful person."

By Noreen Hobson ’99


Earl Lovelace, distinguished writer-in-residence, was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the University of the West Indies, Trinidad/Tobago last fall. Lovelace traveled to speak at the event at which he was honored. Several newspaper stories were done about his accomplishments.

E. Wayne Carp, professor of history, was featured in the Oct. 28 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education for his work in the field of adoption. He is considered a leading expert and has published many books on the topic. The article "Adoption Studies Hits the Humanities, With Surprises in Store," by Jennifer K. Ruark, highlighted books by him and others.

Maxine Herbert-Hill, director of Cooperative Education-Academic Internships, was named president-elect for the Northwest Career Educators and Employers Association. She will be president in 2004-05. Members include co-op, internship and career center personnel from community colleges and universities and employers from around the region.

After 38 years of service to PLU, Gary Minetti ’67, Ph.D., will retire as director of Counseling and Testing this summer. He joined the PLU Counseling Center staff in 1965, served as director since 1975, and received his license as a clinical psychologist in 1978. His dedication to the well-being of PLU students has been exemplified throughout his years. In addition, he has taught in the psychology department and is an associate professor in the School of Education.

Patricia Kirkwood, assistant professor and reference librarian, published, "How to Find Materials Properties Data," in "Handbook of Materials Selection." Following an overview of the logical steps helpful in resolving information needs, Kirkwood details the processes and sources best employed for finding data on materials properties.

Spring 2003 Scene Copyright © 2003 Pacific Lutheran University
Credits ~ Last Updated 03-11-2003 ~ Comments