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The Dual Degree in Nursing Program

I think it is my duty to write a bit about this awesome program which I am a part of called the Dual Degree in Nursing (DDN) program at the University of Rochester.

What is the DDN program?

As the title infers, students of the DDN program receive two degrees—one of their choice and a second for nursing, over the course of five years. DDN students fulfill standard major and cluster requirements and a few nursing prerequisites on the River Campus for seven semesters (basically until halfway through senior year). Technically by this time, a DDN student has graduated. Students then spend three more semesters at the nursing school on campus. In short, the DDN program is really cool.

What are your classes like?

Check out this in-action photo below of me in class. I’m the one smiling on the left.

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Just kidding. This is a photograph from a book I picked up while in the lobby for my interview at Rochester. It kind of reminded me of why I was there and inspired me just before I went in to meet my interviewer.

But that’s beside the point. My classes now are not oriented toward my nursing degree yet. I have decided to major in public health (as part of health, behavior, and society) so for the moment I am focusing on taking classes related to that major. I am also taking dance classes for one of my clusters (possibly a minor).

That said, as a DDN student, your first few years of college will consist of whichever classes you enjoy! Whether that is public health, English, biology, anthropology, etc., you can pick courses that apply to your first degree and your clusters. There is no obligation to choose a degree that coincides with nursing—seriously, study whatever you like! You will, however, have some prerequisites to take before you transition to the School of Nursing.

What are these prerequisites you keep mentioning?

You can major and cluster in anything you like, but there are some basic skills and knowledge that the School of Nursing wants you to master before you are a student there. There are five courses for you to take while a River Campus student: Social and Emotional Development, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Nutrition, Statistics, and Microbiology. You can check out a sample schedule for more details. You may take any combination of these as actual courses on the River Campus, or you may take them online as part of the Nursing School. I am personally doing half on campus and half online, so I still have room to fulfill my major and cluster (possibly minor) requirements. It’s up to you!

Why did you choose this program?

I have type I diabetes, which is sometimes a stigmatized disease. As a younger kid, I felt embarrassed about having to sit out of gym or having to eat a snack when other kids weren’t. However, I am very lucky to have grown up surrounded by very encouraging people: my parents, my brother, my diabetes educator, and fellow diabetics whom I met at a diabetes camp. All of these influential people in my life taught me to be proud of my diabetes, and I think that is one of the most valuable lessons I will ever learn.

But I am determined to pass on that lesson to many, many diabetics. So this is why I chose the DDN program: I want to make a difference as a diabetes educator. I felt that a dual-degree program was an interesting way to learn all the skills required to really impact someone’s life; I have time to learn multiple interests that might help me better achieve that goal. I can receive a liberal arts degree as well as a professional degree.

How can I apply? (Because you should apply!)

Basically I wanted to inform you about this program because I think it is such a neat opportunity to explore more than just one major, one career path, one direction of interest. Imagine this: We have this awesome program, but there are only two, I repeat, two freshman students in the program. So just remember that this opportunity is available and amazing.

To apply, there is a supplementary essay in the Common App or Universal College App to write in addition to your application to Rochester. You have to complete it by December 1.

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Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take more cheesy photos like me!

I hope that helps for any of you who are interested! Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns: cpillow2@u.rochester.edu

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