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A Conversation With … Nancy Delmont on next-gen nurses

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What’s the status of the new pre-licensure bachelor’s of nursing degree at Southwest Baptist University?
It is under development. The state Board of Nursing has certain requirements. We sent the petition into the board that said we wanted to have a program and also the particulars of the financing. We got that approved in May. Now, we are completing our formal proposal (to) be sent in later on this fall, and that outlines our courses. They evaluate it, and then once we get approval, we can actually start offering the nursing classes. At present, what we’re doing, students have three semesters of prerequisites and general education courses that are needed prior to getting into the nursing program. By the time they’ve completed their third semester, our goal is to be admitting students in the springtime, which would be their fourth semester at SBU.

What types of students are you seeking?
The college student who wants the college experience. They want to live on the campus and have a college life, and then they want to get their four-year bachelor’s degree and they want to be a nurse. That’s our target in Bolivar. The target in Springfield [at Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences at SBU] is the nurse that’s probably more of a nontraditional student – maybe going to work later in life, a second career, those kinds of things. Those students come through our associate’s program, which is a two-year degree, and then if they want to go back, they do a completion program so they get their BSN. The ones in Bolivar live on campus, graduate with their bachelor’s degree, take their board exam and they’ll be all done with bachelor’s and licensure. Once you get out and get a job and you get married and have a family, life gets in the way, and going back to school is more difficult.

SBU is building a BSN simulation lab and learning resource center in Bolivar funded, in part, by a $600,000 donation from Citizens Memorial Healthcare. Why is that needed?
The learning resource center is where they’ll practice their basic skills, where they learn to give shots and learn to give procedures. Simulation is very different. A student is not going to help deliver a new baby during their education because it is a high-litigation area. We can set up a simulation where the students can check the mannequin and help with the delivery of the baby like a nurse would in the obstetric unit. We can design the scenarios to be normal things or to have complications that need certain types of reactions to make improvements. When they get out into the clinical realm, they will have that piece of knowledge in their head. The simulation lab will be under construction beginning this fall and it will be in the Jester Learning and Performing Arts Center above the library. It’s going to (cost) over $1 million [for the BSN program]. We’ve almost got it all gathered.

Once approved, what will be the student cap in the BSN program?
The Board of Nursing makes a majority of the decisions. They have the power to increase and they have the power to decrease our enrollment. Our initial request is going to be for 24 students, and we would like to eventually get to 60 students per year. They will give us what they deem appropriate based on their assessment of our facilities, staff and curriculum.

Nancy Delmont is chairwoman of Southwest Baptist University’s pre-licensure bachelor’s of nursing degree program. She can be reached at ndelmont@sbuniv.edu.

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