Meet the Director - Dr. Jenny Sauls
Welcome to the MTSU School of Nursing. My name is Dr. Jenny Sauls, Professor and Director of the School of Nursing. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to producing undergraduate and graduate students who are prepared to meet the health care needs of our citizens and shape the future of a changing health care environment.
The mission of the School of Nursing is to provide excellence in nursing education by preparing individuals to meet the dynamic and complex healthcare needs of society. Through robust academic programming, the School of Nursing demonstrates its commitment to the art and science of nursing.
The nursing program at MTSU began in 1966 as a two-year associate degree. A total of 799 students graduated from this program prior to the phase out with the last graduating class in 1990.
The current four-year BSN program enrolled the first group of students in the fall of 1988, and the first class of 23 students graduated in May of 1990. At any given time, there is approximately 1,000 pre-nursing and 300 nursing students in our pre-licensure undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
We currently enroll approximately 130 new students in nursing courses each year and graduate approximately 110 students each year who are prepared as Nurse Generalists and are qualified to take the RN licensure exam. Most of our graduates begin their nursing careers in hospitals in the Middle Tennessee area. Many go on to complete advanced degrees in Nursing as Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators, and Nurse Anesthetists.
During the program, students spend approximately 200 hours in our state-of-the-art clinical simulation labs as well as more than 500 hours with our community partners across middle TN providing hands-on care for the citizens of TN. Students learn to care for infants, children and adults with a variety of health care issues.
We are proud to report that close to 100 percent of our graduates pass the licensure exam on the first attempt and that many area healthcare facilities preferentially hire our graduates. Eighty-eight percent of the most recent graduates secured jobs prior to graduation.
The MSN program started in the fall of 2004, and we have graduated more than 400 Advanced Practice Nurses from this program. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is currently offering the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track. Family nurse practitioners provide primary care for individuals across the lifespan, and many provide care to the indigent and uninsured populations. There are currently more than 200 students enrolled in the master’s program. Our MSN graduates are providing primary care in the mid-state and across the country.
To meet the educational needs of working nurses, our graduate program is offered in an online format with the exception of clinical rotations. Students complete clinical rotations with approved preceptors in the student’s home area whenever possible. Students graduating from this program are eligible to sit for national certification exams as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
MTSU’s School of Nursing is accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (AACN-CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and has full approval by the Tennessee State Board of Nursing.
To tell you a bit about myself, MTSU has been my second home since I attended band camp here during my junior high and high school marching band days. I fell in love with the campus then and knew I wanted to complete my Nursing degree here, which I did in 1981 as a graduate of the ADN program. While working as a staff nurse, primarily in critical care, I finished my BSN degree in 1984 at Tennessee Technological University and my MSN in Nursing Administration in 1988 at Vanderbilt. I completed my PhD in Nursing Education in 2000 at University of Alabama at Birmingham while teaching at MTSU.
My tenure as an educator started at MTSU in 1990 as a Clinical Teaching Associate. This was a grant-funded position supported in total by the Christy-Houston Foundation and included a joint appointment with Middle TN Medical Center. I provided clinical instruction for MTSU students in Critical Care, Leadership, Medical/Surgical Nursing, and Fundamentals. I also provided continuing education and staff development for the staff nurses at MTMC in Critical Care. In 1992, I was hired in a tenure-earning position, and the rest is history. I earned tenure in 1998 while completing my PhD in Nursing Education. After 20 plus years of full-time teaching in various courses for the BSN program, I became the Director in 2013, and I am True Blue.
We have an outstanding group of faculty all of whom are educationally and experientially qualified to teach in their respective areas. We have 28 full-time faculty and six part-time faculty. All classroom faculty are doctorally prepared, and all clinical faculty are at least prepared at the Master’s level. I encourage you to explore our website to find out more about our programs and to visit us when you are in the middle Tennessee area.