News: New Nursing Program Launched

CCU Launches New Nursing Degree Program

Working adults who dream of getting a nursing degree but can't juggle school along with their jobs and families can now keep working and pursue their degree in a trailblazing Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program designed just for them by the College of Adult and Graduate Studies at CCU.

"No other nursing program in Colorado offers both instruction and clinical placements in locations throughout the state," said Barbara White, Professor and Dean of Nursing and Sciences.

Thanks to satellite classrooms, online study options, and more than two dozen statewide locations for clinical experience, working adults can earn their degree while living virtually anywhere in Colorado. Enrollment is expected to begin this summer for fall, and CCU expects its first class of nurses to graduate in 2012.

CCU's innovative BSN program comes at a time when the nation's severe nursing shortage is especially critical in Colorado. Government studies project that Colorado will have 17 percent fewer nurses than needed in 2010, exceeding the national shortfall, and that figure may grow to 30 percent in the coming decade.

What's more, aspiring nurses who want to get into existing nursing programs in Colorado are facing waiting lists of a year or more.

By offering a mix of online study and classroom sites throughout Colorado, students can remain living and working in their home communities. A number of places will be available for hands-on, clinical experience, thanks to a partnership between CCU and more than two dozen hospitals and health facilities throughout the state.

In addition, the BSN program will offer courses in two of the newest, cutting-edge fields of medicine -- genetics and global health care, two of White's areas of expertise.

The global health component will draw from White's extensive experience working overseas, including in Korea, China and Africa. In addition, students will be required to attain some literacy in Spanish, and given the chance to go overseas for some clinical experience.

The genetics portion of the program will be enhanced by the involvement of the National Institutes of Health, one of the nation's foremost medical research centers. It has named White to a new, one-year position as "Faculty Champion," making her one of 20 educators nationwide who have access to the latest NIH genetics research materials for use in classroom teaching.

White said the new NIH program is an acknowledgement that the specialty of genetics will play a key role in the training of nurses, as well as in the future of health care.

"I think honestly, we're the only one in Colorado that has the opportunity to take a brand new curriculum and craft it with this cutting-edge material," White said. "Most programs are already jammed full with content; we can design ours from the ground up."

CCU can admit 48 BSN students at a time, and students of every faith and belief are welcome. "We want to give all students the opportunity to explore ethical ideas and values from different perspectives," White said.

White was hired in 2007 to begin developing the CCU nursing program. She is a fellow at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity University in Deerfield, Ill., and has been a longtime teacher and professor in bioethics and nursing. From 1983-86 she was director of Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center School of Nursing in Denver.