HESSTON, Kan. — Hesston College received approval from the Kansas State Board of Nursing March 25 to launch a bachelor of science in nursing program starting with the 2015-16 year.
The introduction of the program to the existing associate degree program will make Hesston the only college or university in Kansas where students may choose to pursue either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“The expansion of degree options in this program is a natural growth opportunity,” said vice president of academics Brent Yoder. “Hesston will still be a place that focuses on the first two years of a college education, but we are excited to meet the needs and desires of students who want to broaden their understanding of the nursing profession and obtain advanced credentials.”
A bachelor’s degree program is new territory for the college, but one that is a logical step.
The impetus behind the change stems from a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine that set a national goal of 80 percent of the nursing workforce having a bachelor’s degree in nursing by 2020. Likewise, according to the American Association of Colleges in Nursing, Hesston alumni and other two-year graduates nationwide are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in increasing numbers.
“With the industry shift, both ADN and BSN options are needed to meet employer demands and industry standards,” said nursing program director Bonnie Sowers. “Placement options for clinical training are being limited for some associate degree programs at a number of major medical centers.”
Hesston’s discussion toward a BSN offering began in 2013. Nursing faculty researched necessary additions for creating a four-year degree curriculum as well as steps to gain approval and accreditation. After a two-day site visit, the college received approval from the Higher Learning Commission in early February.
The BSN program will launch in August for students who will begin their first of four years at Hesston, as well as for those students who have completed their 60 hours of required college course work and are ready to begin their junior year of nursing.
The college anticipates launching an RN-to-BSN program in the fall of 2016 or 2017 for students who have their ADN and want to earn a bachelor’s degree.