University plans to add nursing program

John Brown is one step closer to having a nursing program.

After receiving a unanimous prerequisite approval on Wednesday, Sept. 11 from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing in Little Rock, JBU is set to begin creating a nursing program.

According to the official press release published on Sept. 12, the program will offer students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
The effort to establish a nursing program has been led by Ed Ericson, vice president for academic affairs, and Brian Greuel, chair of the division of natural & health sciences.

Since the beginning of July, when detailed proposals were submitted to the State Nursing Board, there has only been positive feedback from the board.

“This was just the first step in a three- part approval process for new nursing programs,” Greuel said, explaining that this was called the “Pre Requisite Approval”

According to Greuel, passing the Pre Requisite Approval step means the admissions department at JBU can begin advertising pre-nursing as a major for prospective students.

Students that are interested in the program may begin pre-nursing classes in the fall of 2014. They will be in pre- nursing classes for two years. This means students will be taking science classes to decide if they want to enter into the nursing program.

The second step, Initial Approval requires the hiring of a Nursing Director, according to Greuel. This step also requires the development of a curriculum and the proof of affiliation agreements.

The third step, called Full approval, comes after students are in the nursing program.

“This last step shows evidence that what we said we would do is what we are actually doing,” Greuel said. “This will happen before the graduation of the first class.”

According to Ericson, the idea for a nursing program at JBU is not a new idea.

“This is something that has been talked about for as long as I have been here,” Ericson explained. “But we felt like we needed to support other big programs that we had already started first.”

Ericson added that with the success of the Capital Campaign, the idea of the nursing program became more of a reality.

“A nursing program is at the heart of what our mission here at JBU is. A professional program that is service oriented.”

Ericson also noted that nursing is a key program for the university, and that it is key to the growth and stability of the institution.

“This is the largest single academic effort I have been a part of since I’ve been at this university,” Ericson said.

Recruitment for the first class of pre nursing students will begin soon. By their junior year, Initial Approval will have been obtained in order to accept them into the nursing program, and hopefully by that same year there will be a building on campus for the students in the program, according to greuel.

For the science program as a whole, Greuel noted that there would be some good changes.

“With the addition of the program, there will be a lot more students in science classes,” He said. “We will have to increase the number of class sections and labs, and it is likely that we will have to hire a new professor in that area to serve the extra load of students.”