West Virginia State University’s bachelor’s degree in nursing program has gotten its final approval to start operating, WVSU officials said last week.
The state Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses approved the program Friday. WVSU leaders said the vote means the Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) program can start recruiting and accepting students.
Mary Sizemore, WVSU’s new nursing director, said students will be able to enroll in pre-nursing general education and science requirements in the spring semester of the current academic year, with the actual nursing classes starting in Fall 2020.
Sizemore said the program can accept up to 30 new students annually. Those interested can call her at 304-766-5117.
Paige Carney, dean of the WVSU College of Professional Studies, called the approval a “game-changer” for the school.
“It’s a much-needed program based on the needs of our community, and we are just so looking forward to being able to implement this,” Carney said.
Jack Bailey, the school’s assistant vice president for communications and marketing, said the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting agency for WVSU, has already signed off on the program.
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the oversight and policy agency for four-year colleges, gave the go-ahead in 2018.
WVSU President Anthony Jenkins has said it will be the school’s first nursing program in a decade.
West Virginia State Community and Technical College, which was part of the school now called WVSU, began graduating associate’s degree nursing students in 2007.
But lawmakers, as they did elsewhere in the state, forced the community college and four-year school to separate. That split started around 2008.
BridgeValley Community and Technical College, which descended from that untethered community college and now has campuses in South Charleston and Montgomery, offers nursing associate’s degrees.
Marshall University already offers an online program to convert the associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree.
Sizemore says a bachelor’s in nursing opens up students to management and education positions that associate’s degree-holders can’t get, and the bachelor’s allows students to progress to master’s degree-level occupations, like nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist.
WVSU doesn’t currently have a master’s degree-level nursing program.