The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has approved a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for the University of North Georgia (UNG). The move reflects the requirement by many healthcare institutions for incoming nurses to have at least a bachelor's degree.
The new, four-year BSN program, expected to go into effect in August 2014, will accelerate students' time to degree completion, but still includes a strong foundation in general studies. The program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of experiences such as graduate studies, clinical practice, and the required National Council Licensure Examination. The program will be offered on UNG's Dahlonega Campus, and will include clinical experiences in regional healthcare facilities and community agencies.
"We are pleased to have received approval from the Board of Regents to offer the four-year BSN program on our Dahlonega Campus," said Dr. Patricia Donat, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "Situated in an underserved, rural region of our state, the nurses trained through this program will assist in meeting the healthcare needs of those in our service area. Our nursing program has a long history of excellence and is an effective and valued healthcare partner with our area hospitals and medical professionals in meeting the needs of individuals and families."
Dr. Bob Michael, dean of the College of Health Sciences & Professions, agreed that the program is essential for meeting the growing health care needs in the region, and added that it reflects the faculty's deep commitment to ensuring that their students are prepared to provide exemplary nursing care and leadership. This is indeed an important milestone for the Department of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences & Professions and the University of North Georgia, he said.
"This is a very meaningful move for the university that will yield positive results for our students, community and region," said Dr. Kim Hudson-Gallogly, head of UNG's Department of Nursing. "I also am very grateful to President Jacobs and Dr. Donat and for their commitment to this program, and to Dr. Dianne Nelson and her team for curriculum development."
With the new BSN program in place, the university will phase out the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program and the Licensed Practical Nurse bridge program. The department will maintain its program that enables current registered nurses (RN) to transition into BSN program.
Shortening the time and expense required to earn a degree could help more adult students across the region finish or earn a college degree, a key goal in UNG's Complete College Georgia plan. Complete College Georgia was announced by Gov. Nathan Deal as a statewide initiative in the wake of a 2011 study by Georgetown University that found Georgia will need to increase the percentage of its population with some level of college completion from a current 42 percent to 60 percent to meet projected workforce needs.
Information about the new program and the nursing department can be found at http://ung.edu/nursing/.