Nursing program receives approval for bachelor’s degree program

Hesston College received approval from the Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN) March 25, to launch a bachelor of science in nursing program (BSN) starting with the 2015-16 year. The introduction of the program to the existing associate degree program (ADN) will make Hesston the only college or university in Kansas where students may choose to pursue either the ADN or BSN.

“The nursing program has been a strength of Hesston College for decades, in terms of both the number of students served and the quality of instruction,” said Dr. Brent Yoder, vice president of Academics. “The expansion of degree options in this program is a natural growth opportunity. 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 for Hesston College Nursing. 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 Bonnie Sowers, MSN, RN, nursing program director. “Placement options for clinical training are being limited for some associate degree programs at a number of major medical centers. The BSN program will allow Hesston College to continue providing nursing students with exceptional clinical learning opportunities, and ensuring they are highly prepared and employable.”

Hesston College’s discussion toward a BSN offering began in the summer of 2013. Nursing faculty diligently researched necessary additions for creating a four-year degree curriculum as well as steps to gain approval and accreditation. The college’s Board of Directors granted approval to pursue accreditation and state approval following the September 2014 meeting. Following a two-day site visit, the college received approval from the Higher Learning Commission in early February. The KSBN also conducted an on-campus site visit in February.

The BSN program will launch in August 2015 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 are looking to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Student applications for the program are being accepted immediately. For more information, call 800-995-2757.

“We are pleased to be able to add this option for nursing students,” said Sowers. “Hesston College has always been committed to offering excellent preparation for students in their chosen fields of study, and this allows us to continue doing that for nursing students.”