BOLIVAR — Southwest Baptist University’s Board of Trustees approved a plan for offering a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing on the Bolivar and Springfield campuses, with a goal of the first cohorts entering in Fall 2017, contingent upon approval from the Missouri State Board of Nursing.
“There is strong demand for nurses within the healthcare field and a strong demand among prospective students for a pre-licensure nursing degree on our Bolivar campus,” said SBU President Dr. C. Pat Taylor. “This degree will complement the nursing degrees already offered on our Springfield campus.”
In collaboration with Mercy Hospital Springfield since 1996, SBU has provided nursing and health sciences education at the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU in Springfield. Enrollment on that campus exceeds 750 this fall.
“Many of our students on the Springfield campus are non-traditional students,” Taylor said. “We already offer a Pre-Nursing program on the Bolivar campus, but after completing pre-requisites and other graduation requirements, the students then must transfer to the Springfield campus. With the proposed pre-licensure program, these students can stay on the Bolivar campus all four years.”
SBU is in the process of submitting a program proposal to the Missouri State Board of Nursing for approval to offer the degree. The pre-licensure program will prepare a student to take the NCLEX-RN examination, which is required to become an RN. The NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate for Associate of Science in Nursing graduates on the Springfield campus consistently are higher than state and national averages.
“Students will take pre-requisite courses during the first two years and apply for the nursing program during their sophomore year,” said Dr. Kezia Lilly, Dean of the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU. “Students who are freshmen at SBU this year could be part of the first cohort, and students entering SBU as a freshman during the fall of 2016 also will have the opportunity to enter the program.”
Health care is the No. 1 high-growth industry in the Ozark region, according to the Missouri Hospital Association’s 2015 Workforce Report, with demand for Registered Nurses expected to increase 13 percent in the Ozarks region.
“We need to be proactive in our educational program offerings to help supply the growing demands of registered nurses for our local hospitals,” Lilly said.
For more information about nursing at SBU, contact SBU Admissions at (800) 526-5859.