BGSU launches School of Nursing

New school to help position BGSU to meet critical demand for nurses

By Anne-Margaret Swary

Emphasizing its commitment to creating public good and meeting regional workforce needs, Bowling Green State University has launched a School of Nursing through its College of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The new school will help support the growth of the University’s online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program introduced last year, as well as lay the groundwork for future academic program expansions.

“We are very excited about this announcement and how it will bolster our current RN to BSN program currently offered 100 percent online, as well as our plans to expand the School of Nursing with new and innovative programs,” said Dr. Shelly Bussard, school director.

“As a public university for the public good, we pride ourselves in helping students achieve their goals of becoming health care professionals who provide exceptional care to individuals, across all lifespans, throughout Ohio, the nation and the world.”

The new School of Nursing will help position BGSU to meet the critical demand for nurses both in the region and throughout the country as the nursing field remains one of the fastest-growing industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The demand for BSN degrees will also continue to rise as more workplaces make it a hiring requirement – recognizing data that shows hiring nurses with higher levels of education improves overall quality and patient outcomes. A BSN also helps prepare nurses for leadership roles and career advancement.

In addition to expanded academic programs, the School of Nursing will also feature a new Nursing Skills Lab and Simulation Center, with construction beginning at the end of summer. The project is part of an overall plan to consolidate all nursing program offices, classrooms, labs and support areas in Central Hall, formerly the Business Administration Building. The second and third floors of the building will be renovated to accommodate the relocation of the School of Nursing as the College of Business moves to its new home in the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center.

“These new facilities will provide the most advanced learning environments for our students,” Bussard said. “The skills laboratory features 19 beds and provides opportunities for students to practice skills and do mock patient scenarios. The simulation center will have four highly computerized mannequins that will provide a realistic health care environment. We also plan to collaborate with local health care organizations to provide training to health care professionals while providing inter-professional education.”

After receiving a $200,000 grant last fall to support the online RN to BSN program, BGSU’s nursing enrollment has increased significantly, and its native program has partnered with several community college and diploma nursing programs to assist in a seamless transition from a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

BGSU also offers a nursing degree through a consortium with the University of Toledo. However, that program is phasing out, and the final class of consortium students will be admitted in 2021. Another pathway to a nursing degree is through the University’s partnership and dual degree with Mercy College.

As the School of Nursing continues to serve the public good, BGSU also created a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Industry Certificate, which assists diploma LPN and LPN-to-RN students in seamlessly transitioning to a BSN degree.

“This is the first Industry certificate in the Ohio area that provides LPN and LPN-to-RN diploma graduates from career technical centers with college credit for their successful completion of state board licensure,” Bussard said. “We are committed to working to remove barriers for nurses.”

With this new certificate, students who graduated with a diploma from a PN program and passed the licensing exam are awarded 16 college credits, while students who graduated with a diploma from an RN program and passed the licensing exam are awarded 40 college credits. Nurses who received an associate degree in nursing receive credit for credit towards their BSN.

“We are excited to offer these options to prospective students, and we remain equally excited about the additional opportunities to come with the future expansion of the School of Nursing,” Bussard said.