John Brown University announced this week that it has begun steps towards creating a nursing program after receiving unanimous prerequisite approval Wednesday from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing in Little Rock. JBU’s nursing program will offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
The prerequisite approval is the first step in a three-step approval process for new nursing programs. Wednesday’s board approval allows JBU to advertise the nursing program and begin recruiting pre-nursing students for the Fall 2014 semester.
“Prospective students ask about nursing more than any other major not currently offered at JBU. Moreover, there is a critical need for BSN-trained nurses in Arkansas and throughout our region,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “We believe a nursing program will enable more students to follow their calling and meet the needs of our community, so this prerequisite approval brings us one step closer to expanding our university mission to train nurses to honor God and serve others.”
Dr. Ericson, vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Brian Greuel, chair of the division of natural and health sciences, have led JBU’s efforts to develop the new nursing program.
“With over 50 majors offered, JBU already prepares graduates for a broad range of job opportunities, but we have long desired to expand our programming in the health care fields,” said Dr. Ericson. “Because of the shortage of bachelor-trained nurses, we feel creating a nursing major is a healthy move for JBU and will present a highly-sought after option for our students.”
After completing the next step in the process, initial approval, JBU could begin admitting students into its nursing program as early as the Fall 2016 semester. Final approval of the program must be obtained before graduating the first class of nursing majors.
“Obtaining prerequisite approval for a nursing program was the hardest step in the three-step approval process and was the culmination of a detailed feasibility study and a lot of personal lobbying,” said Dr. Greuel. “Our next task is to hire a nursing director and to get to work on planning the curriculum and establishing affiliation agreements with various clinical agencies.”
The pre-nursing curriculum usually takes two years to complete and is required before a JBU student could be admitted into a JBU nursing program as a junior. Assuming that the university completes the next step of the approval process, by the time the first pre-nursing students complete their sophomore year, the nursing program will be ready to admit its first students. Completing the pre-nursing phase and the nursing program is expected to take, on average, about four years, said Dr. Greuel.
John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 Best Value among Southern regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report. JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 40 states and 39 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and concurrent education programs. JBU is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.