Wilson College Rolls out Online RN Classes

Updated:   08/13/2014 03:57:15 PM

CHAMBERSBURG >> Wilson College is rolling out new healthcare programs, beginning with two degree programs for registered nurses this fall — one that allows registered nurses to get a bachelor of science degree in nursing and one that leads registered nurses to a master of science degree in nursing. Both programs are offered only online.

The RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN programs, which were approved by the college’s Board of Trustees in May, have already exceeded enrollment goals for the fall semester, primarily through word of mouth, according to Carolyn Hart, program director for Wilson’s Department of Nursing.

With a projected total enrollment of 15 students in both programs, 34 students have enrolled to date and another seven have already applied for next year, said Hart, an RN and Certified Nurse Educator.

The strong early response to Wilson’s new nursing programs can be attributed in large measure to trends in the nursing industry, which is experiencing shortages of qualified nurses. Key trends include growing demand for RNs to continue education and earn academic degrees.

“Current research and recommendations from the Institute of Medicine support (the idea that) higher levels of education lead to better patient outcomes,” said Summit Health Vice President of Hospital Services Sherri Stahl.

In cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore, most hospitals already require RNs to have bachelor’s degrees in nursing, according to Hart. “If you’re a nurse without a bachelor’s degree, your chances of working in a large city hospital are slim,” she said, adding that the trend is spreading to other communities.

Wilson’s RN-to-BSN program is designed so that students can earn their bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months. Upon entering the program, students can be awarded up to 82 credits for a valid nursing license and prior coursework. A total of 120 credits are needed to complete the degree.

The program will include liberal arts courses selected specifically on the basis of relevance to nurses.

In fall 2015, Wilson will add two more health-related programs — a general master’s degree in nursing and a health sciences degree, which will offer concentrations in management, exercise and sport science, and pre-physical therapy. The health sciences degree will prepare students for careers in such areas as health benefits management, pharmaceutical sales, client/patient advocacy, independent living administration and social services case management, as well as preparing them for graduate programs in public health, social work and healthcare administration.

For more information about Wilson’s RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN programs, contact Hart at 262-4853, 575-4964 or carolyn.hart@wilson.edu