BENNINGTON >> Southern Vermont College's new online nursing program has been approved by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
The program is designed to allow registered nurses to obtain their baccalaureate degree in nursing. Mary Botter, chairwoman of SVC's nursing department, said that, in addition to the online portion of the class, the students will meet on campus the first Thursday of every month. "SVC's special niche is that we work closely with our students, particularly in the nursing program," she said, "Their success is our success."
"This is an exciting new element of SVC's popular nursing program," said Provost James White, "The low-residency, online RN-to-BSN track is in response to the needs of working healthcare professionals and makes a bachelor's degree attainable in a more convenient manner. The new track also represents an important step for the college in regards to online education."
The college also announced a new reduced tuition rate of $406.25 per credit hour for the RN-BSN program. According to SVC's website, the RN to BSN program is 128 credit hours, although up to half of those credit hours are transferable from an associate's degree in nursing program. The curriculum is designed to be as flexible as possible, said Dean of Admissions Daniel Summers, so that students can begin in either the spring, fall, or summer. "The flexibility of this program makes it a very viable option for working nurses who live within one or two hours of the college," he said, "By helping local nurses earn their degree and better their professional lives, SVC is striving to be a good neighbor in the region as well as the local community."
Botter said the new program both responds to employer requests for more BSN nurses in the workforce, and national and state goals to have 80 percent of RNs receive their BSN by 2020. "Studies have shown that having nurses with advanced degrees makes a difference to patient outcomes," she said.
Founded in 1885, NEASC accredits programs ranging from pre-kindergarten through doctoral studies. The organization has accredited over 2,000 public and independent schools, colleges, and universities in the United States, as well as international schools in 65 other countries. SVC as a whole is accredited by NEASC, and will remain so through at least 2019. The college announced last year that its re-designed nursing program had received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.