Nursing program named most affordable in Commonwealth

Rhiannon Branch/The News

Story by Katlyn Mackie, Staff writer 

Murray State’s School of Nursing was named the number one most affordable nursing program in Kentucky by College Choice. 

Dana Todd, associate professor in the nursing program, said Murray State School of Nursing is a “hidden treasure” and this recognition will provide publicity of the affordable, yet quality education that is provided through the program.

“The program is professionally accredited with qualified nursing faculty that care about the success of their students,” Todd said.

While the school of nursing is an affordable and quality program, Todd said, it should not be considered “cheap.”  

Todd said the BSN program provides students clinical experiences similar to that of other programs, but there are also several experiences that are unique for Murray State nursing students.

For example, students in the pediatric clinical course have the opportunity to work with nurses at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Students enrolled in the school of nursing have six semesters of nursing courses with clinical experience in each one. In the last five weeks before graduation, students practice 135 clinical hours with a registered nurse mentor.

For this, students are placed locally in Nashville, Louisville, Evansville, Owensboro and Lexington.

Throughout the program, students gain experiential learning in our on-campus lab and in multiple hospital settings in the region.

The list comes from The National Center for Education Statistics database of nursing programs in Kentucky that offered a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in the last academic year.

The list was then sorted to include the top ten most affordable schools of nursing in the state of Kentucky, by in-state tuition, with Murray’s coming out on top with an average tuition of $7,608.

Marcia Hobbs, dean of the school of nursing, said this recognition is special because it supports Murray State’s efforts to provide quality education at an affordable price.

Hobbs also said although every college student needs to be cost conscious, she would like to think that decisions are based on more than just the cost of an education.

“I think we are a value because we have a reputation of producing strong and productive graduates who do well in their chosen profession of nursing,” Hobbs said.

The School of Nursing has about 210 BSN students, 80 RN-BSN students and about 80 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students. The acceptance rate into the traditional BSN program runs from 50-65 percent. 

Anna Ellis, senior from Eddyville, Kentucky, said this recognition is great for the school of nursing as well as Murray State.

“I think this is a very positive thing for our program, especially when comparing programs who have the same success rates,” Ellis said.

Through the nursing program, Ellis was able to study abroad in Italy as well as learn about the Blue Zone – a concept that describes how to help people live healthier.

“If it weren’t for Murray State and the School of Nursing I would have never been able to experience something like this,” Ellis said.

She also said the small class size allows the students to be able to form better relationships with their classmates as well as their professors.

Jessica Loyd, senior from Herrin, Illinois, said she believes this recognition is positive and it will draw more students to our program that may not have previously been aware of it.

Loyd said the atmosphere on campus and the tight knit community along with the excellent reputation of the nursing program was her reason for choosing Murray State.

Loyd also said she believes the faculty sets the program apart, especially since the curriculum is difficult, and the knowledge requirements to pass our licensure exam are always changing.  

“I feel that our faculty does their best to prepare for our licensure exam and support us as students,” Loyd said. “They push us to be our best, and they are always there to help us if we need it. “