College to launch B.S. degree nursing program

CASTLETON - Castleton State College will inaugurate a bachelor's degree program in nursing beginning in the fall of 2010. After nearly 50 years of offering an associate's degree in nursing education, Castleton expands the program to include both two-year and baccalaureate nursing education.

The addition of this new program comes at a time when research has linked increased numbers of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the workforce with better patient outcomes. In addition, the American Nurses Association has recently rallied support for "BSN in 10" legislation which proposes requiring associate's degree candidates seeking licensure as a registered nurse to finish a bachelor's degree in nursing within 10 years of their initial of licensing. This legislation has already been proposed in New Jersey and New York.

Nursing professor Kim Ratelle, who is coordinating the baccalaureate program at Castleton, said, "We continue to support associate's degree education in nursing. We are excited about this new program because it increases options for students by offering a number of pathways to a bachelor's degree. Our goal is to increase the pool of baccalaureate prepared nurses in our area while at the same time promoting the educational and professional advancement of nurses in Vermont and in the surrounding states."

Now students have the choice of applying to the two-year associate's degree program, the new four-year program, or a bachelor in science completion program for registered nurses with an associate in science or diploma degree. Those enrolled in the four-year program will have the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing while participating in a more traditional college experience. To accommodate their demanding schedules, registered nurses can pursue part *time enrollment or attend the program full-time and earn a bachelor's degree in two years.

Castleton President Dave Wolk said, "I am proud of our faculty and community partners for advancing a program that addresses the nursing shortage and contributes to Vermont's health care and economic well-being."

According to Dean of Enrollment Maurice Ouimet there has already been significant interest in the new offerings.

"We have a limited number of seats available. I recommend that interested students apply as soon as possible. Applications are currently being reviewed and we will continue to process them until the program is full."

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