Aug 29, 2016
August 29, 2016
College's liberal arts curriculum gives students a boost into medical professions
SALT LAKE CITY
- For students interested in careers in the medical field, a liberal arts education at Westminster may be the key to success. The college boasted a 100 percent acceptance rate for 2016 graduates applying to medical school and a 94 percent pass rate for nursing students taking the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination)-far surpassing the national average.
This success has been attributed to a combination of factors, including Westminster's liberal arts curriculum, small class sizes, engaged learning environment and demanding courses.
"The rigor required in our courses pushes students to learn the information necessary and develop the critical thinking skills that are crucial to do well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)," said Dr. Robyn Hyde, professor of chemistry and pre-professional health advisor. "Pre-med students get individual attention by peer and faculty pre-med advisors from the time they are first admitted to Westminster to the time they apply and interview for medical school."
According to Dr. Sheryl Steadman, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Westminster's nursing program focuses on clinical and technical skills, while also emphasizing critical thinking, leadership and the social skills students need to hit the ground running after graduation.
"Westminster nursing graduates are professional, empathetic, passionate about patient advocacy and effective team members," Steadman said. "Our NCLEX pass rates have always been above 80 percent, and 100 percent of our nursing graduates are employed within three months of graduation, which demonstrates the quality and strength of our educational programs."
For 2016 alumnus Jackson Shaver, who was recently accepted to the University of Washington's Medical School, a liberal arts education was critical to helping him apply to medical school.
"Westminster's liberal arts education prepares students incredibly well for medical school because it encourages students to think critically and ask meaningful questions," said Shaver, who hopes to become a surgeon. "Applying to medical schools requires many essays that convey who you are as a person and why you want to go to medical school. The college's Honors program helped me to develop my writing and communication skills in a way that allowed me to accurately and precisely explain my motivations for going into medicine."
While Westminster integrates important skills like critical thinking, communication, leadership and social responsibility into its curriculum, Westminster's faculty also work closely with students to give them the personalized attention they need to be successful in their medical pursuits.
"In addition to my clinical nursing skills, Westminster taught me leadership skills, which is something that can help me advance in my career," said Jeelan Fall, a recent nursing graduate who works as a labor and delivery nurse and hopes to become a midwife. "Westminster provided me with an educational program where the faculty was more involved with the students and knew me on a personal level, which is something you don't typically see in other schools."
"At Westminster, all of the faculty ask you what your goals are for a career and help teach you in a related manner, where, for example, your physics professor understands what you need to know to succeed in upper level chemistry classes," Shaver added. "It is this type of interdisciplinary learning, where students are required to think critically in all of their classes, that prepares them for the MCAT and medical school."
Both Westminster's nursing and pre-med programs provide students with individualized attention, rigorous coursework and life skills that are not always offered at all universities.
"A big research university might have lots of money and labs, but I seriously doubt an undergraduate there would have as many opportunities for the amount of research or work we do here, or to develop as strong of a relationship with faculty mentors," said Emma Deloughery, Westminster Honors program alumna and current Mayo Medical School student. "Westminster might not have a big name, but I believe the education I received there was far above anything I would've received elsewhere."
NCLEX Pass Rates*:
*National Average: 84% (2016)
Medical School Acceptance Rates*:
*National Average: >50%
For more information on Westminster's nursing programs, click here
For more information on Westminster's pre-med program, click here