On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to approve a new Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at East Georgia State College. This program will serve as an RN-BSN Bridge program to create an educational pathway for associate degree nurses to earn an advanced credential. The program will appeal to working nurses and recent associate degree in nursing graduates and is a targeted baccalaureate-level degree program that fills an immediate need in the area.
Due to a shortage of doctors in rural areas, medical offices and clinics are often staffed with nurse practitioners supervising nurses with varying skill and experience levels. Baccalaureate-trained nurses are needed to increase the level of nursing care. There is also a trend toward baccalaureate-level nurses in entry level positions, and this degree program will seek to meet those needs.
The BSN program will be offered in partnership with Southeastern Technical College in Swainsboro. This arrangement greatly reduces facility costs and accelerates the implementation of the program, which will, in turn, provide a swift response to the nursing shortage in the area. The program will be housed in Southeastern Tech’s Health Sciences classrooms and laboratories. The facility was opened in May of 2015 and contains state of the art technology and equipment.
“East Georgia State College's new bachelors of science in nursing program is possible because of the cooperation of Southeastern Technical College and the joint commitment of EGSC and Southeastern Tech to improving health care in this deserving community,” said EGSC President Bob Boehmer. “Graduates of associate degree nursing programs and nurses working in our region will now have a clear pathway to an affordable bachelor’s degree.”
“The bachelor’s program is designed to fit with the busy schedules of working nurses,” he continued. “It's home in Southeastern Technical College's new health science building enables the program to be offered efficiently and with access to the highest quality equipment. Imagine the possibilities now for a high school student in our community to begin taking nursing courses in high school and to continue on to earn a BSN degree -- all in our community.”
Larry Calhoun, President of Southeastern Technical College, added “This is great news for health care in our region. The graduates of EGSC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program will significantly enhance the quality of medical care available to the people of our communities. Southeastern Technical College is proud to partner with EGSC on this important endeavor.”
He went on to say, “EGSC's BSN program will provide a marvelous opportunity for ASN graduates to continue their education locally."
A vital part of this program will be the close relationship both colleges will have with Emanuel County’s local hospital, Emanuel Medical Center.
“We especially like the spirit of collaboration East Georgia State College demonstrated in developing this program,” said Mel Pyne, CEO of Emanuel Medical Center. “More bachelor-prepared nurses are needed in the rural hospitals of Georgia, and this program will help meet that need. I offer my thanks and commendation to all those involved in the planning, development, and authorization of this much needed program.”
“Emanuel Medical Center is excited about the RN-BSN nursing program,” said Ginger Hall, Director of Nursing at EMC. “This program will benefit many nursing students wishing to earn their BSN, as well as benefit so many of our associate degree nurses who wish to further their education by completing the BSN program. Opportunities in Nursing are great and varied, and having the BSN will give nurses more opportunities to expand their career. EMC looks forward to being a clinical site for the program and building a great relationship with the school and faculty.”
Local physician Dr. James Ray also added, “This is a good step up. Any time you have more advanced training, it benefits the whole medical community and local health in general. The college has done a good job in getting this program, and the community support has been good.”
The BSN program is slated to begin in the Fall of 2017.