Why major in Nursing?

As a nursing major, you will be studying for a career that offers many advantages! After becoming licenses as a registered nurse, you can expect to earn a good salary, work with interesting people and have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. Demand for registered nurses is high, and you can expect to enter the workforce quickly upon graduation. Because of this high demand, you will have many options as to where to work and even where to live. Nursing is one of the most versatile careers, with potential employment not limited to clinics and hostas but also schools, cruise ships, flight nursing and other unique job opportunities. Upper-level nursing courses include extensive hands-on skills acquisition and clinical experiences in addition to learning in the classroom.

Nursing student and professor treat a patient simulator while classmates watch.

Program Distinctives

As a nursing student, you will take courses in health assessment, nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, community health nursing, obstetrical and pediatric nursing, mental health nursing, nursing leadership and research

The Elliott School of Nursing has a state-of-the-art skills lab where students are taught and engage in hands-on skills training. The simulation center allows for a realistic immersion in simulated situations, using high-fidelity simulators. Simulation allows students to practice using equipment and implementing skills they have learned in a safe environment without fear of harming someone. This results in a more confident student in the clinical area.

After completion of the first year of clinical courses, students have the opportunity to apply for paid externships available at area hospitals.

Nursing student receives her honorary pin for completing the nursing program.

Interesting Courses

NUR 125 Family Nursing This course is an introduction to nursing care of women, newborns and a family experiencing pregnancy and birth. Emphasis is placed upon wellness, prevention, health maintenance and health restoration. Practical experience is provided in community and acute care settings.

NUR 306 Pharmacology This course examines the clinical application of drugs as they relate to clients across the lifespan who are experiencing acute and chronic health problems. Emphasis is placed on gerontological implications of pharmacology.

NUR 245 Mental-Health Nursing This course is an introduction to the concepts of mental health nursing of patients across the lifespan. Wellness, prevention, health maintenance and health restoration are emphasized.

NUR 246 Professional Transitions This course addresses factors that facilitate the transition from a nursing student to a registered nurse. Seminar aspects of the course review the historical, political, social and legal framework of healthcare delivery and nursing practice.

Nursing student

Student Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of UPIKE’s associate degree in nursing program, you’ll be able to provide safe, accountable and effective nursing care across the lifespan in a variety of settings; practice within the legal, ethical and regulatory parameters of nursing; utilize critical thinking and decision-making skills in the nursing process; demonstrate effective and therapeutic communication with clients, significant support persons and the healthcare team; exhibit caring behavior in the delivery of culturally competent care; function collaboratively; and demonstrate effective management skills. You’ll gain the coursework and experience required to be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a Registered Nurse.

Career paths in Nursing

Initially, most graduates will begin practice as a generalist Registered Nurse in various areas (medical-surgical, intensive care, obstetrics, emergency, etc.) of acute care. With additional education and experience, nurses can pursue careers in nursing education, primary practice and anesthesia.



Where Recent Graduates have gone to work or study

Appalachian Hospice Care
Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc.
Baptist Health, Lexington, KY
Chamberlain University
Highlands Regional Medical Center
MedFlight of East Kentucky
Ohio University
Pikeville Medical Center
University of Kentucky, Albert B. Chandler Hospital
U.S. Air Force

Rural Health Nursing Fellowship

UPIKE’s Elliott School of Nursing and Pikeville Medical Center have partnered in offering the Rural Health Nursing Fellowship, a new educational and employment opportunity. Students eager to pursue a career in nursing can now earn a two-year associate degree from UPIKE and graduate debt-free by making a commitment to work at PMC upon becoming a licensed RN. With their commitment, the hospital agrees to cover the remaining education costs once financial aid is applied. UPIKE and PMC are innovatively working together to address the ongoing nursing shortage in the commonwealth by creating an opportunity for education and employment in a lucrative career path. Any student interested in the Elliott School of Nursing or this fellowship can get more information from the UPIKE Admissions Office by emailing wewantyou@upike.edu or calling (606) 218-5251.

Program Benchmarks

Information on program benchmarks can be found in Annual Reports compiled by the Kentucky Board of Nursing, available here: https://kbn.ky.gov/General/Documents/program-of-nursing-benchmarks.pdf


“The Elliott School of Nursing at UPIKE is a place I will forever cherish. When I started my journey to become a nurse, I did not understand what an impact my education would have on my career. The Elliott School of Nursing was more than just a school to me, it was a place I learned to grow, gained many friends and became part of a family I will never forget. When I think back on my time during the ADN program, I cannot find enough words to describe my amazing experience. I will always recommend this school. The Elliott School of Nursing may have required many textbooks to learn the basics of becoming a registered nurse, but the faculty taught us how to be better people. I am forever thankful for the instructors that reinforced the importance of being compassionate in nursing and reminding us to always be knowledgeable with our skills. The faculty taught us how to be respectful and maintain organization and dignity during the hardest times for people experiencing life-altering events. UPIKE is a place to grow, learn and call home. I will carry the teachings I attained through the Elliott School of Nursing throughout my entire career and smile, knowing my education made me a better person.”



Jessica Williamson

Administrative Assistant, Division of Nursing
(606) 218-5750