Nursing program expands with success

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, April 7, 2016

The nursing program at Longwood University has seen substantial growth since 2009 as the only public university in the region offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN.

“The nursing program has grown significantly since it was implemented in 2009,” said Longwood spokesman Matt McWilliams.

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“The program earned accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2013 and each year receives hundreds of applications from students hoping to study in the top-notch department.”

McWilliams said the first graduating nursing class was composed of 25 students, who graduated in 2013. He said freshman classes within the BSN program will remain at around 80 students.

According to the university’s website, nursing students can expect to enjoy small class sizes while working under highly skilled faculty.

“Challenging academics, laboratory and clinical work are integral components of the BSN program. The blend of classroom and hands-on clinical experiences will introduce you to the real world of health care,” the website states.

“The program also includes a summer externship and final semester, individually designed intensive clinical practicum to prepare you to step into your first position as a professional nurse.”

McWilliams said Longwood is the only public university in the region offering a BSN program.

“Longwood’s nursing program holds the distinction as the only one in the state that admits students as freshmen, gaining clinical experience in some cases years before their peers,” he said.

Graduates of Longwood’s nursing program will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination upon graduating to practice as a registered nurse (RN).

McWilliams said the first RN to BSN class was admitted at Longwood University in January 2015.

This program allows individuals who are already RNs to work toward a BSN.

“We are expanding the RN-to-BSN program this year, offering for the first time a fall semester class, and expect to admit between 20-30 students this year,” McWilliams said.

“Our approach to growth mirrors the university’s overall plan: sustainable growth built by increased retention.”

In addition to this new program, McWilliams said the university has established a Student Nurses Association, Honor Society and is currently in the process of developing a study abroad experience.

“I love being part of the Longwood Nursing Program because we are still relatively new,” said Kaylin Grainger, a senior nursing student at Longwood.

“We have state-of-the-art simulation technology and smaller class sizes that give you a feeling of family among your classmates. (I’ve) also enjoyed that since my freshman year. I have seen the program develop and become more recognized as a top school for prospective nursing students.”