May 26, 2010
Pre-nursing students at Ohio University celebrated their first National Nurses Week this year. The week of recognition to the healthcare professional is held annually between May 6-12.
The School of Nursing’s (SON) Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is a new addition to the College of Health Sciences and Professions. The program was approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing on May 12, 2009, according to Mary Bowen, Director of the School of Nursing.
“There has been a demand for a BSN program at this campus for many years,” Bowen said. There were already associate nursing degree programs on several of OHIO’s regional campuses.
Additionally, the SON Athens campus has had a RN to BSN completion program since 1974, and a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program since 2004.
The associate degree program has accreditation through the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, and the RN to BSN and MSN program are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
OHIO is not the first four year college to offer a BSN program in Ohio, but it is currently the only one in the Athens region. The nearest program like it is in Columbus.
“There was an unfilled need for Ohio residents in the Athens region who wanted to study nursing at the four-year baccalaureate level,” Bowen said. “Now we can draw those students in because [Ohio University] offers a local and regional program that they were looking for.”
There are currently 150 students in the pre-BSN program. Though this is the first year of the program, there will be a competitive selection process to determine which students will continue into the BSN program as nursing majors, as there will also be in future years.
According to Deborah Henderson, associate director of the BSN program at OHIO the pre-BSN students will be selected on their overall cumulative GPA, various standardized test scores, a written statement, community service and an interview,.
“We plan to admit 100 students in the nursing program for fall 2010,” Bowen said. “We are focused on recruiting the best-qualified students for the BSN program. The pre-BSN program will always have 150 students.”
The pre-BSN students are well prepared to enter into the full program by the time they are admitted. Students complete many community service projects through the School of Nursing and on their own, gaining valuable experience while gaining insight into the profession of nursing.
Courtney Fort, a sophomore in the program from Cleveland, has volunteered in multiple locations in Athens and in Cleveland in preparation for her future in nursing.
“I’ve volunteered at UCM [United Campus Ministries], GoodWorks, The Gathering Place and Kimes Nursing Home in Athens, and I still volunteer at The Homewood Residence Senior Living Center at home. I love taking care of people,” Fort said.
The volunteer work that Fort and her colleagues are doing is diverse and multifaceted.
“Students are participating in the March for Babies walk through the March of Dimes foundation next month,” she said.
Students may participate in health fairs where they educate the community about a wide range of topics.
“When the students actually get into the nursing major, there will be many more opportunities for them to get involved, especially when they begin their clinical experiences in the health care system,” Bowen said.
Many students hold the same sentiment as Fort.
“The preparation for the program is hard. It’s no cake walk. But I’ve started to build bonds with the staff and the students and they are so supportive. I have no doubt that I’ll be successful after leaving Ohio University,” Fort said.