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Pictured is the University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program Class of 2021 at the completion of the students’ White Coat Ceremony. These students have completed their didactic (classroom) studies and will begin their clinical rotations this month. They will graduate in spring 2022 with a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS). Shown from left to right are: Carly Granger, Kassandra Abdel-Kader, Kendra McSheridan, Emily McCoy, Ashleigh Ebreneyin, Darian Vines, Codi Daoust, Jessica Sheffield, Taylor Green, Racheal Lafferty, Margaret Keener, Steven Snedegar, Barbara Leal, Josie Wnek, Cara Buenaventura, Elise Morrissey, Stacy Adkins, Kaylee Cross, Andrea Mashayekhi, Stephen Diggs, Craig Thompson, Sommer Beane, Michelle Levine, Marcia Kuhlman, Marissa Roberts, Morgan Beaty and Anthony Palm. Courtesy photo by Brock Burwell/University of Charleston

UC PA Class of 2021

UC adds master's Nursing degree option to fall curriculum

Beginning this fall, the University of Charleston will offer a Master of Science in Nursing degree designed to prepare graduates for becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner.

The program will be offered online with no more than two residency weekends. The curriculum is 42 credit hours.

The program director for the new degree is Dr. Betty M.L. Beimel, Ph.D., CRNP, FNP-C, CNE. She brings academic experience in traditional and online formats from more than five educational institutions. Most recently, she was a Visiting Professor for the RN to BSN program at Chamberlain University College of Nursing & Public Health.

“Dr. Beimel is an experienced nurse educator with a proven track record of successfully leading the development of high quality, online Family Nurse Practitioner programs,” said University of Charleston Provost Dr. Kim Speizio in a release from the school. “Provost Betty’s leadership will make a great contribution to UC’s continuing commitment to address the workforce and health care needs of West Virginia by offering innovative programs in the health sciences for students of all ages.”

The University of Charleston has offered nursing programs since 1964, and its programs – an Associate Degree in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and online RN to BSN degree — were recently recommended by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing’s site review team for an eight-year continuation of their accreditation.

The May 2019 graduates from the BSN program had a 95.45% passage rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Passage rates on the NCLEX-RN examination continue to be significantly above the state and national average, according to UC.

Family Nurse Practitioners may practice in various health care settings and specialize in the type of care provided. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, West Virginia employs Family Nurse Practitioners at two-and-a-half to three and half-times times the national rate.

UC Nursing program named one of state's best

Rncareers.org has ranked the University of Charleston’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program as one of its 2021 “Best Ranked RN Programs in West Virginia.”

The site also ranks the program as number 63 in the United States, with a grade of 97.17.

Programs were ranked via a system that included first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, program nursing accreditation and more. Results were compared against other state nursing programs to provide the rankings. The complete list can be found at www.rncareers.org.

Rncareers.org is a 10-year-old site, with a team of nurse educators, nurse practitioners, RNs and LPNs who publish the site to provide “meaningful information about earning a nursing degree.”