1. Briefly describe the proposed new program. Please indicate if it is an expansion of an existing program; a new program; cooperative effort with another institution, business, or industry; or an on-campus or off-campus program. Attach any formal agreements established for cooperative efforts.


The Nursing program at the University of Montana-Helena College of Technology proposes to offer a certificate in practical nursing and an Associate of Science degree leading to licensure as a Registered Nurse (ASN-RN).


UM-H currently offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in practical nursing, leading to licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse (AAS-PN). This document proposes that the nursing program offer a certificate in practical nursing, with the opportunity for students that have completed the practical nursing portion of the program and have successfully passed the National Council of Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to articulate into the Associate of Science program leading to licensure as a Registered Nurse. This practical nurse to associate degree leading to Registered Nursing (Certificate-PN to ASN-RN) curricula was developed to articulate with the practical nursing and associate degree nursing program's curricula across the state. See the attachment for articulation details.


2. Summarize a needs assessment conducted to justify the proposal. Please include how the assessment plan was developed or executed and the data derived from this effort.

A needs assessment was conducted in November and December 2002. Our currently enrolled nursing students were surveyed and with the assistance of the Montana State Board of Nursing, the same survey was sent to 368 licensed practical nurses in a five-county area surrounding the Helena community. A 49 percent return rate on the survey was obtained (180 responses). Of the 180 surveys returned, 88 percent (158) people stated that they desired the addition of an ASN-RN program in the Helena community. Twelve percent or (25) people would not desire an ASN-RN program. See attachment for comprehensive survey results.

Other data obtained from the survey included where the perspective students would prefer the curriculum be offered, how (campus-based or distance-based) the student would prefer the curriculum be delivered, and when preferred offered. A separate employer survey was developed to gather data from the clinical facilities and employers in the Helena community. The data gathered indicates that the community is in need of both practical nurses and Registered Nurses. This data is consistent with the state and national need for practicing nurses. See attached survey for comprehensive data.

After examining the survey data, it is imperative that the UM-Helena's nursing program changes from an Associate of Applied Science in Practical Nursing to a certificate in practical nursing with articulation to an Associate of Science degree leading to Registered Nursing. This proposal is responsive to both the students' needs, as well as industry's needs.


3. Explain how the program relates to Role and Scope of the institution as established by the Board of Regents.

An Associate of Science degree leading to licensure in Registered Nursing will enhance the UM-Helena's mission to "promote lifelong educational goals of learners, support workforce development needs of employers, and foster community involvement by providing a substantive, responsive, and accessible learning environment."

Implementation of this proposed new program would address the national, the state, and the community/local workforce needs by expanding options for the local community during this severe nursing shortage. By offering this new program, community involvement and lifelong learning opportunities would expand in the Helena area.


4. State what effect, if any, the proposed program will have on the involvement of other departments, division, colleges, or schools.

The new program would be under the direction of the Health Services Department, Nursing program, which is currently under the direction of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In accordance with the Montana State Statutes and Rules Governing the Practice of Nursing, 8.32.1110, the program direction of associate nursing degree programs must be administered by a full-time program director who shall be responsible for program administration. This will be a change in the administrative structure at UM-H. Currently a half-time nursing chairperson administers the practical nursing program.


5. Describe the extent to which similar programs are offered in Montana, the Pacific Northwest, and states bordering Montana. How similar are these programs to the one proposed?

Similar Programs in Montana- (Programs with AAS-PN programs)
Montana State University - Billings COT
Montana State University - Great Falls COT
The University of Montana - Missoula COT

Similar Programs in Montana- (Programs with ASN-RN programs)
Miles Community College
Montana State University - Havre
Salish Kootenai College
Montana Tech of The University of Montana

While there are several college and universities across the state that offer similar programs, the proposed certificate-PN to ASN-RN program would offer the Helena area Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) an opportunity to continue their education. Both MSU-Havre and Butte Tech's programs have extensive waiting lists for LPNs wishing to earn associate degrees leading to RN licensure. The certificate-PN to ASN-RN closely parallels the national nursing education model delivering nursing education in a one-year (PN) plus one-year (ASN-RN) plus potentially two years leading to a bachelors degree in nursing (BSN).

See attached articulation grid.


6. Please name any accrediting agency (ies) or learned society (ies) that would be concerned with particular program herein proposed. How has this program been developed in accordance with criteria developed by said accrediting body (ies) or learned society(ies).

Based on faculty, curriculum, and support services, this proposal meets the standards for accreditation by the Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities.

In accordance with Montana State Statute and Rules Governing the Practice of Nursing, 8.32.801, a letter of intent was submitted by UM-Helena's nursing program chairperson in July 2002. A feasibility study of a certificate-PN to ASN-RN program was initiated by this letter of intent. The feasibility study is due to the Montana State Board of Nursing in July 2003. The feasibility study will be presented to the Montana State Board of Nursing in April 2003.

If the proposed program were to be implemented, the UM-H would seek National League of Nursing Accreditation status.


7. Prepare an outline of the proposed curriculum showing course titles and credits. Please include any plans for expansion of the program during its first three years.

The proposed certificate in practical nursing is comprised of 20 general education credits (all transferable within the MUS system) and 24 nursing credits, totaling 44 semester credits for this proposed program. With the addition of the Associate of Science degree in Nursing, a student would accrue 72 credits, with a total of 39 nursing credits and 33 general education credits. This coursework is in accordance to the curriculum requirements set forth in the Montana State Statutes and Rules Governing the Practice of Nursing, 8.32.1104.

See attachment for further details regarding the draft of the proposed curriculum.



1. Please indicate, by name and rank, current faculty who will be involved with the program proposed herein.

Current Faculty

The nursing program at UM-Helena currently has three full-time, tenure-track faculty, one three-quarter-time faculty, and one adjunct faculty member.

Cory Hartman, BSN, RN                   PN level Adult Nursing, Pharmacology
Candace Pescosolido, BSN, RN        PN level Skills, Fundamentals, Mental Health
Rebekah Walker, BSN, RN, MSN      PN level Geriatric Nursing
Karmen Williams, BSN, RN               PN level Maternal/Infant, Pediatric Nursing
Ellen F. Wirtz, RNC, MN                   PN level Introduction to Nursing, Leadership


2. Please project the need and cost for new faculty over the first five years of the program. Include special qualifications or training. If present faculty is to conduct the new program, please explain how they will be relieved from present duties.

New Faculty

With the introduction of this new proposed program, there would be a need for Master's prepared-in-nursing faculty and adjunct faculty to augment the current faculty in place. The current faculty would also have the opportunity to work towards obtaining Master's degree preparation. A complete assessment of faculty needs is included in the proposed budgetary assessment. The college has received vitae from appropriate potential faculty candidates.


3. Please explain the need and cost for support personnel or other required personnel expenditures.

See proposed budgetary needs assessment.



1. Please summarize operating expenditure needs.

See proposed budgetary needs assessment.


2. Please evaluate library resources. Are they adequate for operation of the proposed program? If not, how will the library need to be strengthened during the next three years?

The UM-Helena's library collection and electronic support meets the needs of the proposed practical nursing program but needs augmentation, as indicated in the proposed budgetary needs assessment.


3. Please indicate special clinical, laboratory, and/or computer equipment that will be needed. List those pieces of equipment or computer hardware presently available in the department.

The UM-H nursing program personnel, in collaboration with the nursing personnel at Carroll College and at the numerous clinical sites have negotiated clinical sites, assignments, and projections for the Academic Year 2003-2004. Computer hardware needs are included in the proposed budgetary needs assessment under capital outlay: equipment.


4. Please describe facilities and space required for the proposed program. Are current facilities adequate for the program? If not, how does the institution propose to provide new facilities?


Space for faculty offices, additional classroom and laboratory are assessed as adequate for the proposed program change and addition.



1. Please name faculty committees of councils that have reviewed the program herein proposed.

The Certificate-PN to ASN-RN program has been reviewed by UM-Helena Nursing program faculty, UM-H Management council, the General Education/Mathematics faculty, and to the UM-H Nursing Advisory Board.

The UM Academic officers reviewed the proposal in January and March 2003.

The proposal was submitted to UM-H Academic Affairs for review on February 18 and March 18, 2003 and was positively endorsed.


2. If outside consultants have been employed, please list the names of these consultants, their current positions, and titles. Append copies of their written reports (this is required of new doctoral programs).


No outside consultants were used.