The University of Louisville School of Nursing Owensboro began offering its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in Fall 2010.
The program has since graduated nearly 300 students and grown exponentially since its conception.
The program presently enrolls 96 students and has aspirations to launch an accelerated second-degree BSN programming in May 2022.
“Initially, the program enrolled 20 students every fall and spring semester. We’ve increased that to an enrollment of 35 students per semester,” said Assistant Dean of Owensboro BSN Programs Dr. Amy Higdon. “The accelerated program will provide an opportunity for those with previous bachelor’s degrees in other fields to obtain a BSN in 15 months.”
The new program will feature a hybrid format in which coursework is completed online with laboratory and clinical experiences in person in Owensboro. Additional hybrid training includes the school’s Nurse Aide Training (NAT) program for those seeking to apply to a program of nursing or to work as nurse aides.
Higdon said collaborative partner Owensboro Health initiated the idea for the program when they recognized a need for BSN-prepared nurses in the area. Before the program began, the percentage of BSN nurses in the Owensboro area was around 30%; it has since increased to 60%.
“We know from research that patient outcomes are better when patients are cared for by nurses who have at least a BSN,” Higdon said. “We still have a long way to go, but we’re excited to play a part in providing the best care to patients in our community.”
The University of Louisville School of Nursing exists to prepare graduates to achieve distinction in leadership, innovation, practice, research/scholarship, engagement, and service.
“Students are involved in a multitude of activities when enrolled in the program to meet their educational goals,” Higdon said. “Not only do students gain the knowledge necessary for nursing practice, but they also have numerous opportunities to apply knowledge in hospital and community agencies, analyze evidence-based practice, participate in leadership opportunities, and engage with many community partners.”
Students transfer to the program after completing prerequisite coursework at any regionally accredited college or university. They then apply to the university and complete two courses in Lower Division before applying to Upper Division (the nursing program).
Admission to the traditional BSN program requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8, a minimum program GPA of 3.0, and the completion of a goal statement. Deadlines for Upper Division are May 1 for the fall term and September 15 for the spring term. Additional information is available here.
The university recommends a cumulative GPA of 2.8 for acceptance to the second-degree accelerated BSN program. Still, Higdon said selection “is based upon a holistic review process, meaning that leadership, community engagement, and health care experience are also considered.”
The deadline to apply for the accelerated program is Nov. 15; additional information can be found here. The NAT program admits students on a rolling basis.
“Having a local option for obtaining a BSN degree has made a major positive impact on our community,” Higdon said. “Not only are graduates prepared to provide excellent care to patients, but they also have many opportunities for community engagement throughout the program.”
Students will often work with homeless shelters, school systems, detention centers, community health and global health centers, urgent care centers, long-term care facilities, among many other populations.
The program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and has consistently exceeded benchmarks for completion, employment, and licensure rates.
By Ryan Richardson The Owensboro Times