CF to offer bachelor in nursing

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The College of Central Florida will offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing beginning in August 2014 to help meet growing local and national demand for more nurses with higher degrees.

The Florida State Board of Education approved the college’s proposal to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in November, and the college believes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, its major accrediting agency, will approve its application for degree program expansion this spring.

“We are excited to bring this much-needed degree to our community,” said Dr. Mark Paugh, CF vice president of Academic Affairs. “It’s something our students and local health care agencies have wanted for a long time. It’s going to be a win-win for everyone; students won’t have to leave the area to get their BSN, and the cost will be much lower since our upper division tuition is nearly half that of the Florida State University System.”

CF estimates that tuition for upper division nursing courses at CF will cost $4,715, which is more than 40 percent less than a student would pay if they earned their degree at a four-year public university such as the University of Florida. 

Dr. Barbara Lange, CF dean of Health Sciences, said the appeal of CF’s BSN degree is more than convenience and affordability.

“Our nursing program is well-established and more successful than many other state and national programs,” said Lange. “Our students’ passing rates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses are much higher than state and national averages. In 2012, for example, our passing rate was 96 percent, but the state average was 87 percent and the national average was 90 percent.”

The new program will make CF part of a national movement to better educate nurses and meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that the number of practicing nurses with baccalaureate degrees increase to 80 percent by 2020. Currently less than 40 percent of all registered nurses nationwide have a bachelor’s degree.

The 120-credit hour degree, which will feature both classroom and online classes, is open to students who live in Marion, Citrus and Levy counties. Interested students must attend an online information session before they can apply, and students must attain an active, unencumbered Florida RN license prior to the second semester of upper division nursing courses.

Applications for the inaugural fall 2014 cohort must be submitted by April 15. For information about the programs, contact Laurie Saputo at 352-854-2322, ext. 1586, or Nancy Cintron at 352-854-2322, ext. 1433.