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Frostburg State University and Allegany College of Maryland Announce New Nursing Degree

November 13th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Frostburg State University, starting in fall 2018, will offer a four-year, face-to-face bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, established in partnership with Allegany College of Maryland, to create the only four-year program of its kind available in Western Maryland.

“Until now, Western Maryland students who wanted the four-year college experience and to pursue a four-year degree in nursing had to leave the area to do so,” said FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk. “The region and nation are facing a significant shortage of nurses, and FSU is expanding the pathways to that profession.”

This new program marks the third way that regional students can earn an accredited BSN. FSU offers an online bachelor’s degree in nursing program for students who are already registered nurses. In addition, local student enrolled in ACM’s Associate Degree Nursing Program also have the option of dual enrollment in FSU’s BSN program.  These students can begin taking online courses in nursing through FSU during the ACM Nursing program. Once the Associate of Science Degree is awarded at ACM, students must take and pass the nursing licensure exam, the NCLEX-RN, and then continue coursework at FSU to complete the BSN.

“A bachelor’s degree in nursing prepares students for positions that require a BSN, such as leadership and community health positions,” said Dr. Heather Gable, chair of FSU’s Department of Nursing. “FSU’s nursing courses focus on evidence-based practice, research, informatics and leadership aspects of being a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse.”

In addition to taking courses at FSU, students will take clinical nursing courses through Allegany College of Maryland’s registered nurse program. At the conclusion of the program, students will be able to graduate with both an associate and bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“Our partnership with FSU presents a unique opportunity for students to obtain a quality education with ACM providing essential clinical training in a new curriculum that will greatly benefit our region,” said ACM’s president, Dr. Cynthia Bambara. “Our two-year career program, which qualifies graduates to seek employment, is highly regarded by tristate-area health care employers and has enabled more than 3,000 residents to enter registered nursing since 1972,” she added.

Students in the new FSU nursing curriculum will also have the option of joining a Living Learning Community in Allen Hall. The living arrangement clusters nursing majors together as they take courses together, receive additional mentoring opportunities, attend lunch-and-learns and shadow nurses on the job within their specialty at Western Maryland Health System.

“The opportunity to be on campus at FSU while earning a bachelor’s in nursing also provides an opportunity for students to declare a minor, such as psychology, to help them stand out,” Gable said.

The on-campus BSN program will be limited to 50 students for fall 2018.

The program aims to contribute to reducing a nursing shortage throughout the country and to answer the call of the Institute of Medicine to have 80 percent of nurses with a BSN by 2020.

“The type of student who is going to complete this program is a first-year student who is coming to Frostburg State and wants to leave as a baccalaureate-prepared nurse,” Gable said. Baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses are in demand at hospitals recognized as having Magnet status through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which signifies that about half of nurses involved in direct patient care have a BSN.

“FSU’s nursing courses add components that cannot fit into a two-year program, making graduates more well-rounded,” Gable said.

Frostburg also offers four options for nurses to pursue graduate degrees, the accredited, fully online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with tracks in administration and nursing education, and the new Nurse Practioner master’s program, with concentrations in Psychiatric & Mental Health practice and Family practice.

The FSU baccalaureate degree in nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation), as is the MSN.

For more information about FSU’s nursing programs, email nursing@frostburg.edu.

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