Mount Union Adds Bachelor of Science in Nursing

May 07, 2011

The University of Mount Union Board of Trustees approved the addition of a bachelor of science of nursing to the institution’s degree offerings at its spring meeting Friday.  The University expects to launch the program in fall 2013, pending the appropriate external approvals.
The proposed four-year program, also approved by the faculty of the institution, stems from Mount Union’s strategic initiative to build a curriculum for the future, with a particular focus on health-related programs.  It also meets the five criteria the University has established for new programs – it is mission compatible, draws sufficient student interest, provides significant career opportunities for graduates, enhances or maintains the current academic profile of the student body and is fiscally responsible.
“The bachelor of science in nursing program at Mount Union truly supports our mission to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work and responsible citizenship,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the University.  “Not only will it offer academic, clinical and professional excellence, but it will also guide students in their journeys toward becoming compassionate caregivers.
“Nurses care for individual patients, families and communities and make up an indispensible component of our nation’s healthcare delivery system,” Giese added.  “At Mount Union, we have a long tradition of preparing students to be caring humanitarians, and this will provide a solid foundation for our nursing program.”
The proposed program will build on the strengths of Mount Union’s tradition in liberal arts and sciences and will complement the institution’s growing number of healthcare-related programs, including the successful graduate program in physician assistant studies that was launched in 2009.  This program and others, including the medical technology major, a cooperative program with The Cleveland Clinic, already have close ties with the medical community.
“Hospitals in the immediate area are supportive of this type of program,” said Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for student affairs and dean of the University.  “We are currently in the process of contacting alumni physicians, nurses and healthcare providers as well as area doctors and community hospitals, seeking their support of and assistance with the development of the program.”
The bachelor of science is now the fastest growing option for those seeking to practice nursing.  In addition, both the American Nurses Association and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education recommend that the bachelor of science become the entry-level degree for professional nurses.  Thus, the demand for such programs is expected to increase over the course of the next decade.
In addition, according to the Center for Health Affairs, Ohio could face nearly a 30% shortage in the nursing workforce by 2020, and data from the Ohio State Senate’s Nursing Education Study Committee indicates that 40% of Ohio’s practicing nurses are expected to leave the field within the next 20 years.
“In the future, there is clearly going to be a demand for nurses in our state as well as an increased emphasis on the extensive training that the bachelor of science degree offers,” said Giese.  “What’s even more compelling is the growing number of prospective students in our own applicant pool with strong academic backgrounds and an interest in the nursing field.”
The program will be presented to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Ohio Board of Nursing in conjunction with the Ohio Board of Regents and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for accreditation.  
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