LRMC Gift Enables FSC to Pursue Four-Year Nursing Degree
LAKELAND, Fla. (June 23, 2006) — A half million dollar commitment from Lakeland Regional Health Systems will enable Florida Southern College to add a traditional four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing, the first professional baccalaureate nursing program offered in Polk County. The gift will support five years of operational expenses to launch the program.
“I am excited about this wonderful opportunity for Florida Southern College and for the Polk County community,” said college president Anne B. Kerr. “This generous partnership arrangement with LRMC will allow the college to graduate highly trained health care professionals who, in accordance with our mission, are prepared to make significant contributions to society.”
“We are proud to partner with Florida Southern College to create a unique opportunity for individuals to achieve a four-year baccalaureate degree in nursing without leaving our community,” said Phyllis Watson, RN, Ph.D., vice president and chief nurse executive at LRMC. “Pairing the academic excellence of Florida Southern with the broad range of services and clinical experiences available at LRMC is consistent with the hospital’s vision for nursing, ‘Caring Hands. Educated Minds.’ An educated workforce is critical to the health of our community, and we believe that this program will increase the number of nurses being educated and remaining in Polk County.”
For the past 30 years FSC has offered a BSN degree at its Lakeland and Orlando campuses for students who are already licensed registered nurses. Two years ago the nursing department opened a Master of Science degree program in Lakeland, also through generous support from LRMC. Both the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The new program will be the thirty-ninth major offered as part of FSC’s traditional undergraduate programs.
Upon approval from the Florida State Board of Nursing, FSC will accept 24 students into the nursing program each fall with the first freshman class entering in fall 2007 and the first nursing graduates anticipated in spring 2011.
“The more global perspective of BSN graduates correlates with better patient outcomes,” said Mavra Kear, FSC nursing department chair and associate professor of nursing. “Although registered nurses who graduate from associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs start out with similar clinical skills, studies show that BSN graduates’ skills exceed the associate degree nurse after one year,” continued Kear. “The baccalaureate-prepared RN has a better grasp of the role of the nurse as a coordinator of care as well as a care provider, and of how the patient’s view of his or her illness and changes in the health care system impact care.”
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