FMU is set to roll out its RN to BSN in the Lowcountry in the fall

  • Thursday, July 3, 2014

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Registration is underway for Francis Marion University's (FMU) new RN to BSN satellite program to be located in the Lowcountry. Classes will be held at Trident Technical College (TTC) in Mount Pleasant (1125 John Dilligard Lane).

“The town of Mount Pleasant has been a wonderful partner to us, supporting us with our Mount Pleasant campus and a very reasonable lease on the building. The town has also made a similar promise of support to FMU,” said David Hansen, spokesperson for Trident Technical College. “Since FMU's facility search has not materialized as quickly as they had planned, we are working with FMU and the town's leadership to provide a short-term lease for one classroom for two nights per week for the upcoming fall and spring.”

The executive director for Public Affairs at Francis Marion University, Tucker Mitchell said, “The program itself for is a vanguard to the agreement with the town going back two years ago now to bring some baccalaureate programs in to Mount Pleasant. We chose to start with the RN to BSN because heath care is such a big industry there and there is a terrific need.”

The Institute of Medicine made a recommendation to health care organizations to have a large percentage of their nursing workforce be BSN holders by 2020. Many hospitals are adopting that as a benchmark.

“Many nurses all over the state and the country realize this is an enhanced standard of education for nurses,” Mitchell said.

The state board reports that there are 8,000 nurses in the tri-county area. “Not all of those are two-year nurses, but those that are will find this to be a program that is very interesting to them and will benefit them, make the organization better and make them better nurses,” Mitchell said. “Our nursing program has taken off over the last 12 years. It is the largest program on campus at FMU and graduates have done well on their state boards. We have a 100-percent passage rate or very close to that,” he said.

The program offers convenience coupled with a hybrid program where there is class instruction and online work requirements.

Students enrolled in the program are largely working people, so classroom instruction with highly trained faculty will only take place once a week, and the online component can be completed at the student's discretion. The course is designed so that students are not tied down to a classroom three to five days a week and can still hold down a full-time job.

To begin, FMU will be sending faculty from Florence to Mount Pleasant once a week to teach.

The search for their own facility is still underway. Mitchell said it's been quite a search. “The good news is Mount Pleasant is really growing. The bad news is that sometimes means real estate is scarce, particularly with this sort of commercial-type building search,” he said. FMU officials are searching for a commercial building that of course looks and feels like a college.

“We've looked at a lot of properties and some have eluded us because of other suitors and some just were not the right fit,” he said.

“In the meantime, we've made a commitment to begin classes this fall and an obvious partner was TTC and President Mary Thornley has been very accommodating by opening the doors of their conveniently located Mount Pleasant campus. This is a great starting point for us,” Mitchell said. “This program is a nice mesh with TTC's program. They graduate a lot of nurses with two-year degrees and those folks can then step into this program and get the four-year degree.”

On Wednesday, July 16 from 5 to 8 p.m., there will be an information session and open house drop-in at the Mt. Pleasant TTC. Faculty members from Francis Marion University nursing school will be on hand to answer questions and sign students up if they're ready to do that. Mitchell said there are already a number of applications in hand.

“We do expect this to grow into many other fields of study. We just chose to start with the one where there is a real need and one were pretty good at,” Mitchell said.

Registered nurses with associate degrees or diplomas who live in the lower region of South Carolina can obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This instructional hybrid, featuring a mix of flexible online courses and regular classroom interaction with FMU's highly regarded nursing faculty, makes for a feasible and rich education for its students. The class will meet one night each week at Trident Technical College's Mount Pleasant campus for the 30-credit-hour course.

The RN to BSN program affords registered nurses the opportunity to gain new knowledge regarding roles and responsibilities of the professional nurse in a rapidly changing health care environment while also building on their previous education. Graduates of the program are prepared to apply for advanced degrees such as the Master of Science in Nursing. Learning in this track focuses on the enhancement of critical thinking, the scientific bases for decision making and the development of leadership skills.

The RN to BSN will gradually add programs over time. Possible degree offerings have not been decided but will likely also include several business degrees, particularly for associate degree graduates who are in need of baccalaureate degrees.

Graduates of the RN to BSN program are prepared to apply for advanced degree programs such as the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree as well as other career opportunities. Learning in this track focuses on the enhancement of critical thinking, scientific bases for decision making and the development of leadership qualities and skills.

To apply to the RN to BSN track, contact Devin Cribb, coordinator of Nursing Student Services at dcribb@fmarion.edu or 843-661-1226. All applicants will need a transcript review to determine the necessary education requirements. To apply, go to www.fmarion.edu/fmu_mtpleasant. For more information on FMU's RN to BSN program, contact Dr. Rhonda Brogdon, RN to BSN track coordinator and assistant professor of nursing, at rbrogdon@fmarion.edu or 843-661-1674.

For more updates from the desk of the Moultrie News editor, Sully Witte, please follow Sully's Scoop on Twitter @SullysScoop and like Sully's Scoop Facebook page.

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