Monday, October 26, 2015

St. Thomas University Expands Health Science Programs with New Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nursing


In response to the high demand for nurses, St. Thomas University has expanded its nursing programming to now offer a 125-credit-hour Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and a master’s in nursing designed to prepare students as nurse practitioners. The nursing curriculum is built on liberal arts and natural sciences with learning outcomes for which assessment of each is provided.

Upon completion, graduates of the BSN program will be eligible to sit for the National Commission on Licensing Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses (RN’s). Graduates of the 45-credit MSN program will be eligible to take the Family Nurse Practitioner Exam.

The BSN degree program was approved by the Florida Board of Nursing, and both the BSN and MSN received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

“St. Thomas University is in the midst of one of the most exciting periods in its history,” said University President Rev. Msgr. Franklyn Casale. “Equally as exciting is the ability to fill a huge need for highly educated nurses in the healthcare field, especially as our population ages and the number of nurses declines.”

The 2013 Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) report titled “The US Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education” states that only 55 percent of the RN workforce held a baccalaureate or higher degree. The landmark 2010 report on the future of nursing by the Institute of Medicine called for increasing the number of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent, and doubling the population of nurses with doctorate degrees. And according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 79 percent of employers are now requiring or expressing a strong preference for nurses with a baccalaureate.

“Nursing is part of the cutting-edge academic offerings that enhance the academic and professional success of our students while producing ethical leaders for our global community through our commitment to St. Thomas’ Catholic mission of service to the community,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Irma Becerra. “We are preparing the nurses and nurse practitioners that will have important roles in the delivery of quality, culturally-competent healthcare.”

The nursing program is based out of St. Thomas University’s School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management, and will be headed by Linda A. Simunek, associate dean for nursing, who has more than four decades of experience practicing and teaching nursing, and who has also served as dean at numerous nursing schools.

“The expansion of the nursing programs at St. Thomas University will serve as an anchor for other health professions that are in the strategic plan of the School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management,” said Wim Steelant, dean of the School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management.

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