CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - The Illinois Board of Higher Education just approved the creation of a nursing program for Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Wednesday, Aug. 6.
Program officials said the the nursing program should provide training for about 300 students once fully implemented over a four-year period.
With this new program, university officials hope to help offset the nursing shortage within the region.
“We are grateful for the IBHE’s decision approving the creation of a nursing program at SIU Carbondale,” Chancellor John M. Dunn said. “With the support of Southern Illinois Healthcare, this will allow students to receive a top-flight education and at the same time help address a critical regional need as the demand for highly trained nurses and health care professionals continues to increase.”
Scott Collins, director of the university’s School of Health Sciences, said, in addition to generating additional enrollment for SIU, the program creates an opportunity for area health care institutions, including physicians’ offices, hospitals and clinics, to have access to locally trained bachelor’s degree-level nurses.
“It’s exciting for the Carbondale campus to have a high-demand program like this come aboard with tremendous community support,” Collins said. “The support alone has been very encouraging.”
Pre-nursing students can enroll in the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program this fall.
They will take core classes before the full nursing curriculum starts in fall 2020.
Along with the nursing program, new doctoral programs for occupational therapy and physical therapy were approved. Those programs will begin in two and three years due to the required accreditation process.
University officials must now gain approval from the Illinois Board of Professional and Financial Regulation along with nursing program accreditation, according to Collins.
The nursing program will feature three separate tracks:
- Traditional BSN four-year program: This track is for incoming freshmen who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Students will also earn a minor in health care management.
- RN to BSN degree completion: This track is for registered nurses who have an associate degree and want to earn a bachelor’s degree. As with the traditional four-year program, these students may also earn a minor in health care management through online courses.
- Accelerated BSN track: The accelerated track is for students who have a Bachelor of Science degree in a different field or who have 70 to 80 credit hours completed toward a bachelor’s degree along with prerequisite courses. Coursework in this track will be completed within 12 months. This program is expected to begin in fall 2021.