AVON PARK — A new bachelor’s degree will be available at South Florida State College that is geared toward working adults seeking to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
The college launches it in fall at its Highlands campus.
The program is a limited-access, two-year program for students who hold an Associate Degree in Nursing or its equivalent and a Registered Nursing license in Florida.
“The program will incorporate prior nursing education and experience with advanced nursing practice, theory, concepts, and leadership skills. BSN course work will address topics related to leadership and management, informatics, community and public health, nursing theory, and research,” a news release from the college states.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing opens doors to higher-paying nursing positions by expanding the types of nursing duties RNs can perform and preparing them for positions in management and health education, the college says. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing can also qualify students for admission to a graduate nursing program.
According to Florida Jobs by Occupation for Workforce Region 19, health care is a major industry in DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties and accounts for 10 percent of the jobs in the region.
“Registered nursing has grown at an annual rate of nearly three percent over an eight-year period, higher than all other health care-related occupations,” the college says.
“The opportunity for higher education among nurses answers a need and a preference among health care providers both locally and nationwide,” said Leana Revell, vice president for educational and student services at SFSC. “There is a growing trend to hire bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses while the same is actually required by some states’ accreditation processes. There is the basic demand for nurses, and there are multiple opportunities available to them. This continued education expands their experience and their value.”
SFSC completed a significant amount of background research and data collection to provide exactly what prospective students wanted and needed from the program. Michele Heston, director of nursing education for the college, said that research and surveys were done largely with the input of graduates of SFSC’s Associate Degree in Nursing program.
“It is exciting to see the level of interest our graduates have for the new bachelor’s program,” she said. “They are out there working, and they’re excited to be coming back. Their input is essential. They are a reflection of our community, and they reflect the needs of this community.”
Designed with the working adult in mind, SFSC’s BSN program will offer a convenient class schedule that maximizes the time students spend in class and frees up the rest of the week for working schedules and family life, the news release states. Classes will be offered one full day per week and will be held on Tuesdays for third-year students and Thursdays for fourth-year students.
“The data collection among working nurses showed a preference to attend class on just one day, specifically a weekday as opposed to night or weekend classes,” said Rebecca Sroda, assistant dean of Allied Health at SFSC. “A lot of these prospective students are already working long hours, three and four days a week. The new program is working-nurse friendly and will allow free time for their lives, their careers, and even studying.”
“Students will be introduced to the varied aspects of nursing through theory and research in the classroom. Outside the classroom, students will have clinical experiences in health assessment, maternity, pediatrics, adult health, community health, mental health, and complex care settings,” the news release adds.
Admission to the two-year program is limited and open only to those who have completed an ADN or its equivalent from a regionally or nationally accredited institution, have a current unencumbered Florida registered nursing license, obtained a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, have a minimum grade of C on all common prerequisites, and are certified in Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Provider or higher through the American Heart Association.
The BSN program will become the college’s third baccalaureate program. Others are the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, coming to SFSC fall 2014, and the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management that launched in 2012 and graduates its first class on May 6.
For more information, go to http://www.southflorida.edu/academic/bsn/ or call the SFSC Advising and Counseling Center at 863-784-7131.