Tusculum College has received final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for Tusculum's Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the RN-to-BSN programs.
According to Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody, college leadership received notification of the approval on Aug. 28.
Dr. Moody emphasized in a news release that the development of the new program has been a partnership effort from the very beginning.
"Thank you to everyone who has played a role in developing and approving the programs, including members of the feasibility and steering committees, the Programs and Policies Committee, the faculty, Dean of the School of Nursing Lois Ewen, members of the Cabinet and the Board of Trustees," she said.
According to Moody, the program represents a new avenue for student success as well as a commitment to serve the surrounding community and region.
The feasibility study conducted by the college for the nursing program showed a number of local and national factors support the value of Tusculum College's providing undergraduate students the opportunity to complete an undergraduate nursing degree either as first-time freshmen or as registered nurses seeking to complete a bachelor's degree.
Prospective student data collected via Tusculum College's Office of Enrollment Management shows that the number of students considering Tusculum who are also seeking nursing has tripled since 2009.
In addition, a 2008 Tennessee Department of Health study found that all but one East Tennessee county are designated as wholly or partially medically-underserved areas.
The data indicate how strongly compatible nursing is with the civic arts/service components of Tusculum's mission and core values, the news release stated.
"Thank you to our community partners who have provided their support during the development of the nursing program.
"I look forward to the day we graduate our first class of nurses who will become employed in our community," said Ewen, who has coordinated the efforts to integrate the learning with agencies in the area.
ABOUT THE DEGREE
The Tusculum College Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree prepares graduates for beginning practice as a generalist registered nurse in a variety of settings.
The BSN is the professional degree that is the cornerstone of education for professional practice, career mobility and advancement.
Partnerships with local hospitals and other health care agencies and providers are already in place to work with Tusculum to educate and train those participating in the new nursing program.
Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of Academic Affairs, explained that the general education prerequisites, some of which are specific to Tusculum's mission and civic arts focus, provide students with a strong foundation in critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.
Upon completion of the four-year baccalaureate program in nursing, graduates are eligible to take the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensure exam to become a Registered Nurse.
The Nursing Program consists of nursing and non-nursing courses taken over four academic years.
Students enter Tusculum College as pre-nursing majors and must complete the first year of the nursing curriculum, which consists of general education courses that are nursing program prerequisites.
The program provides students with the opportunity to provide nursing care in a variety of practice settings.
Small classes and clinical groups allow for individualized attention. The BSN program has experienced faculty that provide mentorship and support to students, the news release states.