University paves way for nursing

Faculty members voted in favor of a proposal to add a nursing program at John Brown University on Sept. 19. Brian Greuel, chair of the natural and health sciences division, presented the proposal after years of work.

Interest in a nursing program has grown for quite some time. In the process, Greuel met with the University administration several times. In addition, he sent out a survey to alumni, which received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“They said it was right in line with our University’s mission,” Greuel explained. “There is something about the nurturing role of a nurse…what better way to be the hands and feet of Christ, to use your mind and to serve others, than a career as a nurse.”

A summit of local people, trustees and administrators met about a year ago, which made the idea more serious. During the day-long, intense discussion, consultants assessed the needs involved. Questions addressed included the feasibility of the program and whether the community could support it.

As a result of the summit, the University decided to pursue the program and Greuel began further investigation. He spoke with people both on and off campus, including President Pollard and Siloam Springs Regional Hospital representatives.

The biggest challenges Greuel encountered in the process dealt with deciding on a venue for student clinicals.

A nursing degree requires clinicals during the last two years, which offer hands-on experience for students as they work with patients, doctors, nurses and other staff.

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital would meet most of the program’s potential needs, Greuel said. The hospital is also preparing for an exclusive partnership with the University, agreeing to run clinicals solely for University students.

The Undergraduate Council and all of the campus faculty members each passed the nursing program proposal unanimously.
Before the beginning of November, it will be submitted to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, which will vote on the proposal in January. If the state board approves the proposal, the University’s Board of Trustees will discuss it in April.

The projected start date of the program is fall 2014. Freshmen will enter a two-year pre-nursing program, which consists primarily of both the University core and the department core classes.

Students will then apply to the nursing program for their junior and senior years. Recommendations, grades and a submitted essay will form the basis of the selection process. Those who complete the degree will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The program will require additional faculty and facilities. The University will hire a nursing director and three or four professors; and construct a new building dedicated to nursing.

Fundraising for the building could start as early as this spring, with the goal of completing the building by fall 2016. The administration has not made any decision about its location, although it is certain the building will be on campus.