School of Nursing to continue modifying degree programs

Nursing student, Eian Dumamon, studying in the library.
January 30, 2022 (Photo by Ron Cabacungan)
Nursing student, Eian Dumamon, studying in the library. January 30, 2022 (Photo by Ron Cabacungan)

Written by: Lindsay Beckwith

Starting next school year, Southern Adventist University’s School of Nursing (SON) pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program will be available for students to begin both semesters, according to Holly Gadd, dean of SON, and Nissa Haugen, the school’s Director of Admissions and Progressions.

Previously, Southern provided an AS (Associate in Science) and BSN pathway available for students to start both semesters, while the pre-licensure BSN could only be started in the winter semester. 

Now, students can enroll in the six-semester BSN program starting in the fall as well as the five-semester BSN program starting in the winter. According to Gadd, allowing nursing students to enroll in the program in the fall provides them with more flexibility, ensuring that they will be able to efficiently complete their degree requirements. 

Haugen said this new availability will allow students to obtain their BSN without being interrupted by a premature Associate of Science (AS) graduation and the accompanying National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX), typically taken at the completion of a nursing degree. 

“We are always looking for ways to make things better for our students,” Haugen said, “and this is a wonderful new opportunity for SAU School of Nursing students.” 

Obtaining a BSN not only decreases hospital-caused illness and death but also increases salary and promotion potential, and those with BSNs have higher first-time pass rates on the NCLEX exam, continued Haugen.

SON also provides an AS-BSN (or RN-BSN) online option available to start in the fall, winter or summer semesters.  

Additionally, SON’s off-campus consortium program joined Southern’s Adult Degree Completion (ADC) program as an online option in the fall of 2022, according to Gadd and Danielle Wolf, clinical instructor for SON. 

The off–campus consortium program started years ago with a mission to bring back, at 40% of the tuition, nursing students who were already working in the field. The consortium offered a few classes once a week, in person, at a communal location, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program had no access to facilities and switched to offering classes online.

 According to Gadd, after COVID-19, the consortium never switched back to offering classes in person, and it became apparent that the program would never thrive as it had before the pandemic. This realization prompted the decision to merge the consortium and ADC program. 

Gadd explained that since both programs were created to reach out to working adults and help them complete their degrees, the consortium and ADC programs joined forces. The online program is also a convenient option for RN-BSN students due to the flexible schedule and reduced price. 

“We are trying to meet the needs of our nursing population,” said Joelle Wolf, associate professor in SON. “The nation is in a nursing shortage, and we are trying to help.”

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