“This program is geared towards the working RN (registered nurse),” said Cordia Starling, dean of the School of Nursing for Dalton State. “It will be offered in a hybrid format: partially online, partially live lecture.”
“I am really excited about this innovative new program,” said Starling, who explained that the course design is at the forefront of nursing education.
For starters, it is interdisciplinary and can be customized with electives to meet the professional needs of each participating student.
“A nurse interested in management can take business courses,” Starling explained. “One interested in public health nursing might choose to take some social work courses; humanities and social science courses are other options.”
The program offers an international perspective on the field of nursing so that graduates can participate more fully in the global economy.
The first Dalton State BSN cohort will begin in the fall of this year, and Starling believes that the first bachelor’s degrees in nursing could be awarded as soon as next spring. “It’s an accelerated program. If a student has all his or her general education requirements complete, it’s possible he or she could graduate in spring of 2013,” she said.
The college already offers the associate of science degree in nursing which allows graduates to practice as registered nurses.
The University of West Georgia (UWG) has offered an RN-to-BSN completion program as an external degree in Dalton since 1990. However, UWG recently reallocated resources to address demand in locations closer to its home campus in Carrollton, and graduated its last cohort of registered nurses in Dalton in May 2011.
Subsequently, Dalton State made the continued availability of an RN-to-BSN completion program an institutional priority and has been working with the Board of Regents to make this high-demand degree program accessible again to Northwest Georgians, Dalton State President John Schwenn explained.
In addition to adding a new bachelor’s degree program to Dalton State’s program offerings, the board also terminated 18 associate of arts degree programs that, according to Schwenn, more appropriately reside with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). None of the terminated programs are currently offered at Dalton State and no current students are affected by the terminations.
“This is an administrative function that as much as anything cleans up our books,” Schwenn said.
Most of the terminated degree programs were cooperative programs between Dalton State and Georgia Northwestern Technical College and/or Appalachian Technical College. Dalton State’s relationship with the TCSG formally ended on June 30 of last year.
“All of these changes are completely in keeping with our vision of becoming more of a traditional four-year college,” Schwenn said, adding that additional bachelor’s degree program proposals are being prepared for Board of Regents consideration.