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Ohio University School of Nursing graduated the first class of twenty nine associate degree nursing students on the afternoon of June 21, 1970. The School of Nursing began as a two year associate degree program which was then offered only on the Zanesville regional campus. Zanesville campus celebrated the 40th anniversary of that first class in June 2010. Today in addition to the Zanesville campus, the School of Nursing has associate degree programs on Chillicothe and Ironton regional campuses. In 1975 the School of Nursing established the RN to BSN program in the College of Education on the Athens campus of Ohio University. The RN to BSN program was launched and offered through its regional campuses. Ohio University graduated the first three students from the RN to BSN program in 1976. In 1980 the School of Nursing on Athens campus moved from the College of Education to the College of Health and Human Services, now known as the College of Health Sciences and Professions. The total enrollment in the School of Nursing in 1980 was 600 students.  

Over the years, Ohio University nursing programs have evolved to meet the needs of the times. The RN to BSN program now serves approximately 4,500 students in five states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Northern Kentucky, and Michigan) completely via an online learning management system. In 1983, the School of Nursing received accreditation from the National League for Nursing (NLN) for both associate degree and RN to BSN nursing programs. Presently, the associate degree nursing program is still accredited by the NLN, however the baccalaureate program is now accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and has current CCNE accreditation until 2021. In year 2000, the Nursing programs on the regional campuses became a part of the School of Nursing on the Athens campus, and this is when the RN to BSN program sought accreditation through CCNE.

Today, the School of Nursing continues to educate nurses throughout Ohio at the graduate level through the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program started in 2004 on the Athens campus. The MSN program offers four specializations: family nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nurse administrator. The MSN program is accredited by CCNE, and received its initial CCNE accreditation in 2007. The MSN program has recently begun a national student recruitment and enrollment effort for a totally online MSN program in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse administrator.  Enrollment in the MSN program at present is 120 graduate students.

The most recent program began in 2009. The School of Nursing launched southeast Ohio’s first four year BSN nursing program, and welcomed 207 pre-nursing freshmen students in fall 2009. The four year BSN program will graduate its first class in June 2013. The four year BSN program also has CCNE accreditation until 2021. The School of Nursing built a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory in 2010 in Grover Center and houses over $500,000 of 3G Wi-Fi mannequins and simulators for the nursing program.    Total enrollment for all nursing programs on all OHIO campuses is more than 5,700 students. For four decades, Ohio University’s nursing programs have evolved to meet the needs of each generation of students, and meet the healthcare workforce needs of not only southeast Ohio, but now the nation as a whole.