UIC nursing majors enrolled at CU campus, understanding program


Photo Courtesy of Juliana Isayeva

Students part of the Student Nurses’ Association pose in front of Alma Mater. They are UIC students participating in a nursing program on the UI campus.

By Elizabeth Sayasane, Assistant Features Editor

Therese Hanley knew two concrete characteristics in her career: to work in science and to work with people. Naturally, Hanley chose nursing and was accepted in March to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s nursing program at the UI campus.

The nursing program at the UI campus differs from some other nursing programs. First, it is not direct admittance; students apply after completing two years of prerequisite coursework. Second, the program on campus is one branch of six, all stemming from the UIC campus.

Hanley applied to the University as a biology major with the intention of transferring into nursing January of her sophomore year, as students typically do. In the fall, though, she will stay in Champaign-Urbana as a UIC student.

“Technically, yes, I’ll be a UIC student, but I get all the benefits of U of I,” Hanley said.

Some of these U of I benefits include access to the ARC or on-campus events requiring I-card entry.

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Krista Jones, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s urbana regional campus, said this provides students a balance between the benefits of the large Urbana-Champaign campus and a top-ranking nursing program with UIC.

Other campuses are located in Rockford, Peoria, Quad Cities and Springfield.

“We have the various campuses to assure that we are providing settings and locations that are easily accessible by students throughout the state to achieve a superior education,” Jones said.

In 2019, 90 students were interviewed to fill 64 slots on the UI campus. The application was submitted in January, cohort interviews were in February and 64 students were notified in March of their acceptance.

“We are the preeminent producer of nurses across the state of Illinois to fulfill the practice position in both primary and acute care settings throughout the state,” Jones said.

Juliana Isayeva is working to be one of these nurses.

Isayeva also started as a biology major at the University. She said she wanted to go into medicine and started working on her nursing prerequisites toward the end of second semester freshman year.

She is now a junior in the nursing program and president of the Student Nursing Association.

This organization works with pre-nursing and nursing students. They volunteer at hospitals and host donation drives for charities in the area. They also have social events and study hours for members.

“I get a lot of questions just from pre-nursing students about, ‘Should I be taking this class?’” Isayeva said. “They could ask these questions from the nursing school, but sometimes it’s easier to ask someone who’s already in because I kind of know.”

Isayeva said while the UI campus has good counselors to help students plan and prepare, navigating the program can still be confusing.

Coordination between both the UI and UIC campuses can be difficult, she said. The UI campus also does not have the tutoring resources UIC does. While students can Skype with a UIC tutor, Isayeva said it is not as convenient.

“If U of I had their own nursing program, I think that it would be better organized,” Isayeva said.

However, these challenges have not stopped Isayeva. She added that regardless of the difficulties, the program is strong.

“They do a really good job of giving you that exposure and giving you those tools that you need to hopefully graduate one day and be a good nurse,” Isayeva said.

Hanley said challenges make her triumphs more satisfying.

One challenge Hanley said she faces is the intensity. Because students are not admitted until their sophomore year, they only have two years for their nursing coursework and clinicals.

The pressure of these intense classes reflects the goals of the program well, Hanley said.

“It’s just stressful. I think that’s why it’s most difficult, but it has to be stressful just because it’s so competitive, and the nursing program is hard, so you should be prepared,” Hanley said.

Jones said the UIC nursing program prepares students to become world-class nurses. She said it creates leaders who are changing healthcare form local city levels worldwide.

“Students are going to be held accountable and responsible for patient’s lives upon graduation,” she said. “We have to assure that those individuals are prepared and have the competencies to be able to successfully care for their patients.”

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