By Mary Reed
The Athens campus welcomed its first class of pre-nursing students this fall, which will go on to become the bachelor of science in nursing Class of 2013.
?Nursing has a true presence on campus with residential students,? said Mary Bowen, director of the School of Nursing. The 207 students are all taking Nursing 101 this fall, titled clinical judgment, which covers nursing ethics, standards, law and critical thinking.
It is the only four-year BSN degree program in southeast Ohio and Bowen says it fills several needs for the region and state. ?Number one, it will diminish the nursing shortage. Number two, it will alleviate the faculty shortage. Number three, it will offer an opportunity for southeast Ohio students to enroll locally near their homes in a four-year BSN program.?
Bowen pointed out that a BSN is required in order to go on to a master's degree in nursing (MSN), which is needed for many career advancements and for a career in nursing education. Nurses with a BSN (versus an LPN or RN) can get jobs outside of a hospital setting as well, such as in public health departments and home health nursing.
?Increasing the level of education for nurses and nursing students provides a career ladder and opportunities for advance-practice nursing careers such as the family nurse practitioner,? Bowen said.
Freshman Sarah Chapman, from Athens, is excited to be one of the members of the first pre-nursing class. ?It?s like a building block of the university and just to be a part of that makes me feel special,? she said, ?It?s like being one of the first members of the (first) graduating class at OU.?
The pre-nursing students are mostly traditional students -- that is, they are recent high school graduates mostly from Ohio. One hundred students from the pre-nursing program will be selected for the nursing program after they finish their general education and nursing prerequisites. The nursing students will start clinical courses in spring 2011.
The baccalaureate program joins three other nursing-degree programs offered by the School of Nursing: a master's of science in nursing, also offered at the Athens campus; a two-year associate?s degree in nursing, offered at regional campuses in Chillicothe, Zanesville and Ironton; and an online RN-to-BSN completion degree program that enables registered nurses to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing in a distance education format.
The RN-to-BSN program for licensed registered nurses is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE) and the four-year traditional BSN program will receive final Ohio Board of Nursing approval after members of the first class graduate in 2013 and take their state licensing examination.