AUA’s BSN Program Is Empowering Nurses in Armenia

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — In Fall 2022, the American University of Armenia (AUA) launched the groundbreaking Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program which aims at preparing professionals who will become the future changemakers and leaders to advance the nursing profession in Armenia. The first cohort of the program comprises practicing nurses, who work in various hospitals and clinics across Armenia and are currently on their way to becoming registered nurses with academic degrees.

Anahit Arakelyan, Maria Aleksandrova, and Narine Sultanyan came to AUA with a vision to advance in their profession and inspire other nurses in Armenia to follow their example. “I came here because of my great desire to boost my knowledge and apply it in the field of nursing,” Anahit remarks, adding, “I’m simply delighted with the teaching approach, program, materials, and professors.” In her turn, Narine notes, “My mom used to be a nurse, and as a child, I admired her, wishing to become a nurse myself. Now, every day, whenever I see my patients smile as they recover and express their appreciation, it motivates me to move forward in my profession — this is why I’m here.”

Maria has been in the field for more than 24 years. As a nurse who has always looked for ways to develop her skills, she participated in various projects and conferences abroad, during which she met many registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees. “I have always had this feeling that our nurses in Armenia, who are no less competent than others, are disadvantaged just because of our educational system, which until now lacked academic degree programs for nurses,” she says, adding that that is why she applied to the BSN program as soon as she found out about it. “I think the program will give me all the necessary knowledge and skills to make my voice better heard as a nurse,” she highlights.

Maria also recently received the 2022 The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Award of Excellence in recognition of her outstanding commitment to promote excellent palliative care. “During my professional career, I have often used the resources provided by ELNEC which have helped me a lot in my work. It’s a great honor for me to get the award, and I am grateful for such a high recognition,” she remarks.

The nurses note that the teaching methodology at AUA and the content of study materials are very comprehensive, which makes the learning process both productive and fun. In spite of challenges and the language barrier that they faced in the beginning, they were able to record remarkable achievements so far especially thanks to all the support they get from their faculty members. “Apart from giving me new knowledge, the program has also considerably improved my self confidence as a nurse. Our conversations with the Program Chair Dr. Alayan have been especially empowering in this respect,” remarks Narine, for whom receiving higher education in nursing is a dream come true.

As pioneers of the BSN program, the nurses realize that they have a long way to go to bring about change in the profession. “We realize that it’s going to be hard for us to set the foundation for change, but we are ready to do our best to break the stereotype that nursing is a secondary profession,” Maria says. Nevertheless, they have already started taking small steps toward advancement in their daily work by applying the knowledge they get in the classroom.

Given that in many countries, including in our country, the nursing profession has been overlooked for a long time, the nurses enrolled in the BSN program are there to accomplish the Program’s mission of preparing professional, competent, and independent decision-makers. “We have for long been a disadvantaged group, and it’s time to change this. The BSN program is here to make that happen, and we’re here to help make it happen,” says Anahit.

Passionate about their profession, Anahit, Maria, and Narine believe in the success of the BSN program, and its impact on reforming the nursing profession in Armenia. They are positive that they will eventually witness a change thanks to the Program. According to them, the more nurses join the Program, the smoother the process of advancement will be in the profession. “I believe there are many brilliant local nurses with great potential” says Maria, adding “If we could do it, you can too. Do not underestimate yourselves, you deserve the best,” she counsels potential applicants to the nursing program.

To learn more about the BSN program, please visit the Program’s webpage.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.