CUNY SPS Salutes First Class of MS in Nursing Graduates

Melissa Hinds on CUNY SPS Campus

As part of the Class of 2020 celebrations this year, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is proud to recognize its first-ever class of MS in Nursing graduates. These eight students, all of whom completed either the CUNY SPS masters’ in Nursing Education or Nursing in Organizational Leadership this spring, are showcased on the Nursing Convocation website.

Dr. Margaret Reilly, academic director of the CUNY SPS nursing programs, said, “We are incredibly proud of our masters’ degree nursing graduates. These students completed their programs and their practicums in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many of them were also working on the frontlines as the demands on the healthcare workforce escalated to care for those afflicted. Their diplomas bear proof of their fortitude, resilience, and dedication—qualities that will serve them well as they advance further in the health care profession.” 

A masters’ degree in nursing is increasingly important to equip nurses with the tools, technology, and critical thinking needed for today’s rapidly changing health care fields. Patricia Bartley-Daniele, an associate professor of nursing and nursing education graduate advisor, observed, “Graduate nursing education at CUNY SPS promotes advanced practice nursing in all health care settings. The core courses are the foundation for all graduate nursing students. The specialty nursing courses support their unique personal, professional, and clinical goals. The CUNY SPS graduates contribute to quality healthcare outcomes through education, informatics, and organizational leadership nursing roles.”

CUNY SPS’s first MS in Nursing cohort includes six graduates from the MS in Nursing Education, one graduate from the MS in Nursing Organizational Leadership, and one graduate from the accelerated BS to MS in Nursing Organizational Leadership program. Of the eight graduating, four had already completed the undergraduate RN to BS in nursing program.

As we salute this inaugural class, here is a look at the students and what they achieved while at CUNY SPS.  

Melissa Hinds, who earned an MS in Nursing Education, has a long history at CUNY SPS. Prior to her masters’, Hinds started on the path to nursing by completing the School’s RN to BS in nursing degree. As she noted in her student profile, "Joining CUNY SPS has helped me feel confident in my decision to go into nursing and the importance of continuing my education. Knowing the skills that come along with nursing is great, but being able to really apply them and understand why is even better." 

During her final semesters, Hinds developed a masters’ practicum project that explored how to reduce the level of anxiety and fear that many nursing students may feel when beginning a mental health clinical practicum. Titled, “Investigating the Impact of Simulation on Nursing Student Anxiety and Self-efficacy in Psychiatric Nursing Practice,” her scholarly research project was also entered as a poster session in the virtual conference on “Promoting a Culture of Research” hosted by the John F Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education at CUNY SPS this June, for which Hinds won first place.

Alicia Khan is another nursing graduate with several notable distinctions. She is the first student at CUNY SPS to finish the accelerated BS to MS in Nursing Organizational Leadership, a dual degree program that allows students to ‘fast track’ and complete both degrees in less time than each degree completed on its own. As part of her program course load, Khan also developed a master’s practicum project focusing on issues within endoscopy titled “Tackling First Case On-Time Starts in Endoscopy.” Finally, Khan’s work, grades, and efforts have been recognized by CUNY SPS: she is graduating Summa Cum Laude, the School’s highest honor for general excellence awarded to students who have completed their baccalaureate degree.

Other nurses in the cohort include:

Chimataran Oji completed the RN to BS in Nursing at CUNY SPS and then returned for the MS in Nursing Organizational Leadership. Her practicum project focused on “Identifying Reasons for Increased Falls in the Hospitals and Utilizing Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevent Them.”

Yasman Yudeh was part of a new pilot program with CUNY SPS and NYC Health & Hospitals for Nursing Education students. During her last semester, Yudeh was required to change her nursing education practicum as a result of the COVID pandemic, but easily met the challenge. Yudeh developed new knowledge and skills with academic online undergraduate nursing education course delivery, management, and evaluation. Her final practicum project was titled “The Impact of Faculty Caring Behaviors on Pre-licensure Nursing Students.”

Vivian Lien, who first completed the RN to BS program at CUNY SPS, conducted a pilot study on the “Effectiveness of a Multiple Patient Simulation Clinical Experience on Students’ Self-confidence Levels in Accelerated Baccalaureate Pre-licensure Nursing Students” and has already secured a nurse educator position following her graduation.

Collins Ihunnia conducted an integrative review on the “Effects of Preceptorship on New Nurse’s Job Turnover in Hospitals” for his practicum project.

Nawana Viechweg, another alumna of the CUNY SPS RN to BS in Nursing program, specializes in pediatric care. Her practicum project was entitled “Can Triage Self-efficacy be improved in Emergency Department Nurses using Virtual Simulation as opposed to Traditional Triage Training Methods?”

Galina Murdakh examined “Factors Impacting the Retention Rates among Pre-licensure Nursing Students” for her practicum project.

About the CUNY SPS Online Nursing Programs

The CUNY School of Professional Studies offers a portfolio of online degree and advanced certificate programs in nursing in order to help fill the growing void within the healthcare system. Serving as the first fully online nursing degrees in the CUNY system, our programs help nurses advance within their careers while continuing their education in a timely, flexible, and affordable way.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

For over 15 years, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education in New York. Offering the most online Bachelor’s and Master’s degree options at the City University of New York, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who are looking to finish a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers.

The School’s growth has been remarkable, with twenty-three degrees launched since 2006. Enrollment has risen by more than 30% in the last four years to over 3,700 students in the credit-bearing programs and thousands more who are enrolled in non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs. In addition, the School has an active Alumni network and has established the CUNY SPS Foundation, which offers multiple scholarship opportunities to current students.

CUNY SPS has been ranked in the nation’s top 5% by U.S. News & World Report for the past six years, most recently in its list of the 2020 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs, making CUNY SPS the highest nationally listed program in New York State and New York City.

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