Catawba College is now accepting applications for its first cohort of students into Phase I of its new Nursing Program. Registered Nurses (RNs) who want to pursue a four-year baccalaureate degree in Nursing can begin taking classes during the spring 2016 semester within the College's School of Evening and Graduate Studies to move them toward that goal.
Catawba received approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in mid-December for the new Nursing Program which the College plans to launch in two phases: R.N. to B.S.N. in February 2016, and a pre-licensure B.S.N. degree program (still pending N.C. State Nursing Board approval) in fall 2017. The start-up of the program is made possible in large measure to a $1 million grant the College received in 2014 from the Salisbury-based Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation. Other gifts have also been received in support of the program.
"We are excited and proud to be on the cusp of launching the Nursing program, which will meet a key need in our community and provide exciting opportunities for current and future health care practitioners," said Catawba President Brien Lewis.
Dr. Racquel Richardson Ingram of Kernersville was hired by Catawba to chair the Nursing Program in January 2015. She has spent the last year working to develop curricula for both phases of the program, preparing documentation to seek appropriate program approvals, developing and cultivating relationships with local and regional health care centers, and overseeing the development of a new, state-of-the-art nursing lab housed in the Shuford Science Building on campus. Two new employees were hired in support of the Nursing program, including Theressa Parks, administrative assistant, and Vivian Stamps, a nursing instructor.
The primary target for the R.N. to B.S.N. program is currently employed and licensed Registered Nurses with Associate degrees in Nursing or Nursing diplomas. RNs seeking to enhance their current knowledge, broaden their career options, or prepare for broader levels of responsibility by earning a B.S.N. degree are encouraged to apply. An active and unencumbered North Carolina R.N. License is required for admittance to the program along with successful completion of a criminal background check.
Nursing courses for the R.N. to B.S.N. program will be offered on Catawba's main campus and at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in Salisbury, and students can complete general education courses at Central Piedmont Community College's Central campus, as well as other community colleges as those partnerships are developed. The Novant Health Rowan Medical Center will provide access for clinical experiences and clinical preceptorships.
The R.N. to B.S.N. option requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, including 60 hours in the Nursing major. R.N. students can complete their B.S.N. degree (start to finish) in about two years by attending classes throughout the entire calendar year. The first year will complete general pre-requisite courses, and the second year will be the sequential nursing curriculum. Thanks to the block format (one course, one month at a time) offered in the SEGS program, R.N. to B.S.N. students can enroll at 10 different start dates throughout the year, or take a block off if work or family issues arise.
Most courses are completed in a four-week block with class meetings scheduled on Monday and Thursday evenings each week (6:00-9:45 p.m.) and one Saturday morning per block (8:00-11:45 a.m.). A few courses offered meet every other Tuesday evening (6:00-9:45 p.m.), and some online courses are offered. Ingram noted that while this is the current format offered in SEGS, there may be additional scheduling options offered in the near future for nursing students.
Most adult students enroll in four or more courses per semester making them full-time and eligible for maximum financial aid programs.
For more information call Dr. Racquel Ingram, Chair of Nursing Department, at (704) 645-4860 or Dr. Jeffrey Bowe, Director of the School of Evening & Graduate Studies, at (704) 637-4463, or visit the Catawba website at www.catawba.edu/nursing.