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3 Key Traits of Modern Doctor of Ministry Programs

by South University
September 6, 2016

The theological landscape is undergoing rapid, even revolutionary, change. Religious communities are increasingly diverse—not just in areas like gender and race, but also in beliefs and world viewpoints.

Just as the religious community has evolved, so have the options for developing your ministry skills. If you’ve ever considered earning your DMin, it’s time to take another look at your options for a degree in ministry.

1. Fully Online Ministry Programs

Technology now enables you to pursue your degree in ministry from anywhere with reliable internet. As a student, you can connect with DMin faculty and staff through web chats, online classroom, tools and phone calls, all without leaving your practice or your family. For example, at South University, online ministry program does not include any residency or on-campus requirements.

Further helping you to learn from anywhere are systems like Logos Bible Software. Logos offers users a vast, library of eBooks, articles, and educational resources accessible via their computers and mobile devices. Plus, everything in the Logos Bible system is searchable, making research faster than ever.

2. Intentional Diversity

Intentional diversity is another signpost of modern Doctor of Ministry programs. With denominational preference at an all-time low, your education can prepare you for a pluralistic society by bringing together individuals from across traditions to discuss, debate, and share perspectives in a safe, supportive environment. Ultimately, this experience can give you access to a diverse demographic likely to mimic the ministry context in which you will serve.

3. Multiple Entry Points - No MDiv Required

Historically, people looking for an advanced degree in ministry could only enter Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programs after earning a Master of Divinity (MDiv). The problem is that an MDiv program alone can take three years, with a DMin taking an additional two years of time and expense. Earning your DMin degree on this path could require five years of your life.

At South University, we have another way. Even if you start with a bachelor’s degree, you can earn your DMin at South University within three years, while building practical skills essential for effective ministry leadership. On the other hand, if you’re already working in the ministry and have a significant amount of coursework or related graduate degree, you may qualify for the Advanced Track in South University’s DMin program. Qualifying students can earn 56 credits worth of Advanced Standard Credit, leaving only 40 credits of ministry study to complete. This track cuts the time needed to earn a DMin by more than half.

Benefits of Earning Your Doctor of Ministry

Ready for the next step in your ministry career? Earning your DMin can equip you to serve and lead more effectively as:

  • Pastor, ministry staff member, and lay minister in local churches/parishes
  • Program staff leader in parachurch organizations
  • Chaplain and spiritual care coordinator in a variety of institutional settings
  • Program staff leader in nonprofit service agencies, community development, advocacy and justice ministries
  • Social entrepreneur pursuing business as mission, and commercial and industrial chaplaincy

Learn More About Pursing A Doctorate Degree in Ministry

At South University, Online Programs, you’ll find both the flexibility of fully online ministry program and educational pathways designed for those with and without a graduate degree. We welcome people of all affiliations, including those working internationally as missionaries or otherwise. Our DMin program is non-denominational and rooted in the Christian tradition. Learn more and request information today!

See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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The Rising Value of a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

by South University
September 2, 2016

The Rising Value of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that only slightly more than half of all Registered Nurses (RNs) have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Yet, major professional organizations, including the National Academy of Medicine, are pushing for that number to reach 80% within the next four years.

Why Organizations Want RNs with a BSN

While 80% of RNs with a BSN is an ambitious goal, many organizations want to make it a reality. Why? They hope to increase the standard of care for their patients, and a growing body of research demonstrates improved clinical outcomes for nurses with higher education. These outcomes range from lower mortality rates to more accurate diagnoses.

Some hospitals may be further driven by a desire for the coveted Magnet Hospital designation, which requires that hospitals have a plan to ensure 80% of their RNs hold a BSN by 2020. The awarding committee also evaluates the current education of the nursing staff and expects all nurse managers to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

How a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Could Help You

While associate’s and diploma nursing programs focus primarily on the basics of clinical care, BSN programs offer a broader curriculum useful in diverse settings and cases. BSN programs can teach you communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills as well as prepare you to deliver more advanced patient care.

Employers recognize and value that difference, with the numbers clearly showing the value of a BSN to RNs on the job hunt. In 2015, the AACN found that over 83% of surveyed organizations strongly preferred hiring nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while over 47% only hired RNs with a BSN. The US Army, Navy and Air Force, for example, require every active duty practicing RN to hold a BSN.

Having a bachelor’s degree in nursing is also commonly a must-have for moving beyond basic clinical positions into administration, research, teaching, or other specialized nursing fields. This holds true in the Veteran’s Administration (VA)—the single largest US employer for RNs—where nurses cannot be promoted out of entry-level positions without a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Earning a BSN can also lead to a jump in your salary. In 2014, reported that RNs with a BSN earned a median salary of $69,000, nearly $30,000 more than those without the degree. Beyond that, a bachelor’s degree in nursing can be a stepping stone to a master’s degree in nursing, which is required for advanced practice RNs.

Solutions for Working Nurses: RN to BSN Programs and Online Nursing Degrees

Without your RN status, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing would take, on average, four years. Luckily, RN to BSN programs can save RNs like you time and money. If you meet RN to BSN requirements, you could earn your BSN in under two years.

What’s more, select schools allow you to earn nursing degrees online—giving you greater flexibility and control over your schedule. Your employer may even offer tuition reimbursement support for RN to BSN programs. Either way, investing in your education now could lead to more job and promotion opportunities and a higher salary in the future.

Ready to start earning your BSN degree online in an environment of supportive faculty and staff? Discover the RN to BSN degree completion program at South University, Online Programs today.

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3 Popular Career Paths for Family Nurse Practitioners

by South University
December 18, 2015

Among the thousands of family nurse practitioners practicing across the US, day-to-day work varies greatly. Many family nurse practitioners, or FNPs, work in physician's offices. Others work in hospitals or walk-in clinics or community and school healthcare facilities. Some FNPs start their own practices, while others chose to travel and work across the country.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, here’s a close look at three of these diverse paths.

Family Nurse Practitioners in a Physician’s Offices

Family nurse practitioners in a physician's office typically work regular, set hours, which can provide a nice work-life balance. Because it is less hectic than a hospital or walk-in clinic, working in a private office can give you more time to focus on treating and educating each patient. You’re likely to get repeat patients, helping you to build close, trusting relationships. Here, you can expect both healthy patients and routine problems or concerns, but you’re unlikely to encounter a great diversity or severity of healthcare needs.

Because you’ll probably be part of a small staff, your relationship with your colleagues can play a big part in how much you enjoy your work. However, you should have relatively easy access to a physician when you need additional support or a consultation.

Practices Owned by Family Nurse Practitioners

Opening a practice on your own or jointly with another family nurse practitioner can be rewarding and offer increased autonomy, but it’s not without challenges and is best for someone with experience under their belt. Because the laws around operating a practice as an FNP vary by state, you’ll want to start by researching your state laws to see what’s possible.

To open a practice, you’ll need business acumen as well as financial know-how and resources. Alternatively, you could partner or get advice from someone more familiar with running a business. You’ll also need to look into third-party reimbursement rates for FNPs and requirements around collaborative agreements with physicians, hospital privileges, and malpractice insurance.

On the upside of owning your own practice, you can make it a priority to build relationships with your patients and provide a quality of education and care you’re proud of. You’ll also set your own schedule, and, while being in charge of staffing isn’t easy, you’ll have full control over who your colleagues are. If you focus on a medically underserved population, starting your own practice can be particularly fruitful.

Traveling Family Nurse Practitioners

For those looking for adventure, a traveling family nurse practitioner career could be a great fit. These FNPs travel from city to city, filling temporary open FNP positions, staying in some roles for a few weeks and others for a year or more. This can be a fantastic opportunity to find out what positions and settings might be the right long-term fit for you. In addition to your compensation, most employers will cover your expenses for housing, travel, and insurance, and may help with making sure you have the right credentials to work in the state you’re considering.

Of course, for this job, you must be incredibly flexible and enjoy change—because from your patients to your colleagues to your home residence, change will be a constant part of your life. Each position will vary slightly, with different expectations and patient care needs. It’s possible that the experience could be isolating if you don’t make friends quickly, but, alternatively, you could end up with friends in every state!

Want to know more about becoming a family nurse practitioner and their career options? Explore our nurse practitioner articles on the blog, or contact us to talk about our graduate degree programs that can prepare you for a career in this field.

Sources for this article include The Pros of Being a Nurse in a Doctor's Office, Establishing an Independent Nurse Practitioner Practice, and Day in the Life of a Travel Nurse Practitioner.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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3 Ways Your Peers Can Support You While You’re in Nursing School

by South University
December 15, 2015

Going back to school for a nursing degree is a big commitment, especially for those who already have jobs or families or just a busy schedule in general—which applies to almost every adult today. The personal and professional rewards of earning your degree can be vast, but, in the meantime, earning that nursing degree will take time, energy and hard work. So, how do you stay focused on the big picture? One thing our students say often helps them is developing a support system that includes a fellow student—a student sidekick, a partner in your education.

1. To Be A Watchful Eye

Having a peer and classmate who you know will hold you accountable is incredibly valuable. Once you know each other's goals, whenever things get hard, you can remind each other of your ambitions, of why you’re in school and of what you’re trying to achieve. Your student sidekick will have expectations for you to succeed, and when you don’t attend or participate in class, turn in your work or study for an assessment, they can call you or check in on you to see what’s going on and how they can help. Of course, when one of you is doing well, you can celebrate your accomplishments together as well—it’s no fun to only point out the negatives!

2. To Offer a Sympathetic Ear

Every now and then, you’re going to feel overwhelmed, and you might just want to vent. That’s perfectly normal. Who better to listen to you and give you the emotional support you need than someone who is experiencing something very similar? Your student sidekick will understand how hard you’re working and what’s going on in your classes, because they’ll be there too! More importantly, they’ll know you can get through this and encourage you to do just that.

3. To Lend a Helping Hand

As you work through your courses, you are bound to have questions and need a little help now and then. Your instructors and university support staff are great resources, but it’s nice to have a peer to ask for help too. Sometimes, reaching out to a friend for a quick question can be less intimidating, and they might be able to walk you through a concept you don’t understand in a new way. Also, since you trust them, you can ask your student sidekick for advice on specific professors, classes, scheduling, study tips, time management—you name it!

Do you already have a student sidekick at South University? Email to tell us all about it and how you’ve helped each other so far!

You can also find tips on getting to know your peers in this blog post or get advice from our faculty on how to succeed in your nursing career or degree program in an article from earlier this year.

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Career Pathways for Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

by South University
December 8, 2015

Considering a career as an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)? If so, there are many places you could find yourself practicing--including your own private practice in certain states. You might work in a specialty clinic, a physician's private practice, a long-term care facility, or perhaps even in the homes of your patients. Let’s look at three of these options for AGPCNPs now.

Home Healthcare

Some Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners own or work in a practice in which they treat patients who have difficulty leaving their homes. This work can allow for flexibility and variety in your schedule, as every day you’ll be travelling to different locations. Your patients may include elderly, as well as those with chronic conditions or who are recuperating from surgery or a serious illness.

This role will allow you to treat patients in an environment where they’re more relaxed, social, and receptive to receiving care. You may also meet your patient's family and other caregivers as well as gain a clearer picture of their daily life, including social interactions and living conditions. This can help you in developing a treatment plan and giving your patient relevant educational counseling and guidance.

Your day will include a set number of visits as well as occasional unscheduled urgent visits. Nurse practitioners in home health are usually compensated per patient visit plus mileage. If you run your own practice, in addition to examining, diagnosing, treating, educating, and following up with patients, you’ll be in charge of scheduling, billing, and other administrative duties, unless you hire someone to assist with such duties.

Walk-in and Community Healthcare Clinics

Depending on the size and type of clinic, your experience as an AGPCNP could vary greatly. In small community and nurse-managed clinics, you may have set hours and see repeat patients on a regular basis for healthcare planning and treatment.

At walk-in clinics, however, your hours may be longer or more varied. While you might see patients with more diversity in healthcare needs, the increase in patient load coupled with fewer repeat patients could make it challenging to give each patient the attention or education you wish to provide. However, clinics that are part of large chains may offer opportunities for advancement, better benefits and even allow for relocation if that becomes needed.

At many clinics, you’ll be working alongside other nurse practitioners and collaborating with healthcare providers outside the clinic as needed.

Long-term Care Facilities

As an AGPCNP, you may have the opportunity to work as a nurse practitioner in a long-term care facility, such as an assisted living community or a nursing home.

In this role, you’ll primarily work with the elderly or those with debilitating chronic conditions, providing treatment, preventive care and education. Overall, you’ll likely spend less time on diagnosing problems than on managing, prescribing and adjusting care and treatment, and many of your patients will have multiple conditions you’ll need to consider. While providing long-term care for patients in need can be very rewarding, you should be prepared to work with patients near the end of their lives as well as the families of these patients--something that can take an emotional toll over time.

In some cases, you may be associated with one particular facility and have a set schedule, while in other instances you may travel between various facilities to care for more patients.

Want to know more about becoming a nurse practitioner and your career options? Explore our nurse practitioner articles on the blog, or contact us to talk about our graduate degree programs that can prepare you for a career in this field.


Sources: Day in the Life of a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner | | A day in the life of a home care nurse practitioner | More nurse practitioners visit home care patients | 3 Reasons You Should Become a Home Health NP | Why walk-in health care is a fast-growing profit center for retail chains

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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