FranU's expansion opens the door for 40 new PT students this August, when the program begins.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (FranU) in Baton Rouge will broaden their offerings for degree programs in the medical field this year.

Formerly Our Lady of the Lake College, FranU recently unveiled what they call a simulated learning environment. The room looks much like your above-average physical therapy facility. It features modern PT equipment and machines, as well as a short track to mimic what a PT workplace would likely have in-store for patients.

"All of the PT programs across the nation now are at the doctorate level," Director Kirk T. Nelson said. "In the state of Louisiana presently we're the third PT program. There were two existing programs: LSU-Shreveport and LSU-New Orleans."

FranU's expansion opens the door for 40 new PT students this August, when the program begins.

"It's a brand new program," Nelson said. "Applications are on the website now."

The university still features a top-quality nursing program. In fact the graduate program recently won Nursing School of the Year at the 17th Louisiana Nurses Foundation Nightingale Awards Gala. The programs in nursing go from basic to practitioner's to specialized programs in nurse anesthesiology.

FranU's new offerings include: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT); Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences (MSNS); Bachelor of Arts in Theology; and Bachelor of Business Administration.

As of the time this article was written the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is in the process of obtaining accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

A press release states that the expansion of programs, including doctoral level programs like the DPT, is a main factor that prompted the University’s name change from Our Lady of the Lake College to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, or FranU.

“FranU continues to respond to the needs of the community through our new programs and innovative learning opportunities,” said Tina Holland, PhD, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University president in the release. “Our programs not only deliver the necessary content and skills, but are also tightly wrapped in our Franciscan values and traditions.”

Moreover, the university took advantage of a $1.4 million capital project to renovate the entire second floor of the School of Health Professions building (7443 Picardy Avenue).

Not only does the facility feature the new physical therapy gymnasium, but it utilizes two Anatomage tables. These are virtual cadavers, basically. Associate Professor of Physiology Albert Swafford, PhD was giving Pre-PA sophomore Joshlyn Shelby a demonstration of the Anatomage machine during an open-house media event. Press was invited to discuss the university's expansion and see first-hand the renovations that have been made.

Lastly, FranU has much to offer students in the Capital Area. Even PT graduates with an associates degree can earn $80K once they begin their career. FranU’s Simulated Environment Teaching Hospital (SETH) is a good place to begin a new career in the medical field. An open house will be held this month.