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VOL. 128 | NO. 21 | Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baptist to Highlight RN to BSN Program

By MICHAEL WADDELL

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The Baptist College of Health Sciences is gearing up for a series of open houses over the next several months, with the first set for this Saturday and open to all prospective students. The following three open houses on Feb. 7, April 4 and June 6 will be designed specifically for people interested in the college’s RN to BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, which is tailored for working adults. Students can complete their baccalaureate degree in 12 months.

“Many of the institutions locally and nationally are promoting that associates degree nurses and diploma nurses return back to school and complete their degree curriculum to at least have the minimum of the BSN,” said Dr. Anne Plumb, Baptist College of Health Sciences dean of nursing. “Literature does support the increase in preparation of the nurse at the bedside has significantly improved quality and safety outcomes for the care of patients.”

Many hospitals are now expressing a preference for BSN education level as the entry for the professional nursing workforce.

Several institutions have strategic initiatives to increase the current workforce of BSN-prepared nurses to 80 percent by 2020 as recommended by the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine. Many institutions have reimbursement programs for their nurses to go back to schools for their BSN and/or MSN.

“What sets us apart from other schools is we are not a liberal arts college or a business college. We are a health sciences college,” said Lissa Morgan, head of the college’s admissions department. “So from the beginning English class to the last case management or leadership class, it is all dedicated to making that person the best health care practitioner that they possibly could be.”

The college’s fall 2012 semester enrollment of 1,025 students was the highest ever for the college, and spring 2013 numbers are estimated at 1,043 students. In the traditional program, more than 800 students declare nursing as their major. Half are pre-nursing students in general studies education and half are enrolled in professional course work.

Plumb expects continued growth in the school’s enrollment following the recent report from the Institute of Medicine, and she believes a large number of nursing jobs will become available over the next several years.

“What sets us apart from other schools is we are not a liberal arts college or a business college. We are a health sciences college.”

–Lissa Morgan, Head of Baptist’s admissions department

“I do foresee many of our seasoned nurses who have come out of part-time employment and gone full time due to the economy going back to part-time or retiring,” she said. “So I think that’s going to open up a floodgate of open positions by 2020.”

Baptist College of Health Sciences is a private, Christian school that transitioned into baccalaureate education in 1994, admitted its first traditional baccalaureate class in 1995 and graduated its first class in 1999, when the RN to BSN program formed.

“Since then, the RN to BSN program has sustained itself with average enrollment of 35 to 50 students per calendar year, and our graduation and completion rates are very high,” Plumb said.

As of April 2012, the college has awarded 2,107 baccalaureate degrees.

There are currently 50 students enrolled in the RN to BSN program, and Baptist currently has no cap on the number that could be admitted for future classes.

The college also offers baccalaureate degrees in eight other health care majors in addition to nursing: biomedical sciences, diagnostic medical sonography, health care management, medical laboratory science, medical radiography, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy and respiratory care.

“The biomedical sciences major is brand new, and we are so excited,” Morgan said. “We will be launching it for fall 2013 applicants. One of the things that makes our program very different is that it will offer some science courses that are quite advanced that many times would not be offered until the graduate level, such as histology and infectious diseases.”

The biomedical sciences program is the only one of its kind in Memphis. Students will be surrounded by clinicians and have opportunities to shadow current health care practitioners and join organizations that develop leadership skills.

The upcoming open houses will take place in the college’s main building at 1003 Madison Ave. The school will also host a “Male Call” event on Feb. 9 for males looking for more information on majors in the health care industry.

The priority registration deadline for the fall 2013 semester is March 1.

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