Colorado Christian University's trailblazing
nursing program launching this fall has been three years in the planning -- and
nearly 25 years in the praying.
"That's what God laid on our hearts
in the mid 1980s, to teach nursing at CCU as a ministry," says Dr. Barbara
White, professor and dean of the new nursing division.
admits that, during the past quarter century, she sometimes wondered about his
timing. She got discouraged at times, but she never stopped praying. Nor did a
dozen others in the Nurses Christian Fellowship Group who shared her passion to
bring a nursing program to CCU.
Why CCU? "Nursing has a soul," Dr.
White says. "Obviously, the essence of nursing is being competent and
scientifically well-versed in patient care. But the art of nursing is in
relationship building, compassionate care for people, and the opportunity to
touch people's lives at a deeper spiritual level."
The group felt
strongly that nursing, with its spiritual side, needed to have a presence in a
Christian setting, she explains. CCU was the only Christian evangelical
university in the six-state region.
Now, she has to laugh: God wasn't
moving slow -- he was creating a program worth waiting for. When CCU's nursing
program launches as expected in fall 2010, it will be the only one in Colorado
designed specifically for working adults. Thanks to satellite classrooms, online
study options, and more than two dozen statewide locations for clinical
experience, students can earn their degree while living virtually anywhere in
The program comes along during a critical nursing shortage
in the state. The numbers of available nurses is nearly 20 percent below the
numbers needed, and due to get worse in the coming decade. What's more, there's
a bottleneck for new nurses entering the field, because many existing university
and college programs have long waiting lists.
During the long pause
of 25 years, Dr. White earned a doctorate and a series of other impressive
credentials, including a Fulbright scholarship. When CCU's program got the green
light, her background made her a natural for the job of dean. It was something
she never expected: "I never dreamed of being the dean. I just wanted to be part
Now the program will get the benefit of her experience in
global health, bioethics and genetics. She has had several teaching stints
overseas, including a university post in Korea in 2006-2007. Her work in
bioethics attracted the attention of the National Institutes of Health, which
named her one of its "Faculty Champions," giving CCU special access to NIH's
latest genetic research.
Dr. White's vision -- to prepare the next
generation of Christian nurse leaders-- remains as fresh as when she began
praying more than two decades ago: "God had to prepare all the circumstances
just right. You can't just expect to walk in. You have to honor him every day
while he's preparing for what he has in store. His timing is perfect."
CCU's offers several nursing programs through the University's College of
Adult and Graduate Studies. Visit the CCU Nursing Programs website