Nursing department to expand offerings

The Nursing Department at Castleton State College has been having a bachelor party of a different kind, a bachelor’s degree party that is.Saturday, Oct. 24 brought many prospective students and their parents to the campus for an open house. In particular, the students interested in pursuing the nursing program got an exciting bit of information: the nursing department was, at the time, in the process of trying to introduce a bachelor’s degree to the department.

“In order to create it, you have to establish the need for it,” said nursing professor Susan Hogan, adding that a recent “needs assessment” conducted by Assistant Professor Kim Ratelle showed that people in their “catchment area” of Rutland and Addison counties wanted the expanded program. “A lot of students were interested in it,” exclaims Ratelle.

“We researched other nursing programs in order to find the best model for our program. We decided on a ‘1 plus 2 plus 1’ model, which utilizes the current associate degree program as a foundation and then adds a bachelor’s level curriculum in order to meet the criteria of a BA program,” said Hogan. “Expanding the program will impact other departments in that it may add extra classes to accommodate nursing students, such as psychology or ones included in the four frames.”

The process of introducing a bachelor’s degree program isn’t as easy as simply conducting a needs assessment survey, however. There is a process they have to go through to apply for approval from the Vermont State Board of Nursing.

This includes writing the curriculum, having a faculty with credentials, proving they can house the students and presenting this information before the college’s Faculty Assembly. This presentation took place on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and the Faculty Assembly unanimously approved.

“We are all very excited that we have the support of the college to proceed with our plans,” said Hogan.

Now comes the task of hiring new faculty, she said.

“We will have to hire additional faculty, but it will not be all at once. We will hire qualified faculty as the program is rolled out over time,” she said.

They expect to start the new program in the fall of 2010.

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