|An agreement between two county colleges could ease the health care burden in the region.
The presidents of Southwest Virginia Community College and Bluefield College signed agreement enabling students to complete their Bachelor’s degree in nursing without leaving the county. The two plus two program allows students who complete an associates degree in nursing at the community college to transfer to Bluefield and complete their Bachelor’s in nursing.
Southwest has offered the Associate in Applied Science in nursing for decades and it is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and approved by the state board of nursing.
Bluefield College launched its four year degree program in 2009 as part of a Rural Health Care Initiative. Bluefield received funding from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Thompson Foundation to assist with starting the program.
“The RN to BSN degree is a transformational degree, both for Bluefield College and for the community. It has the potential to significantly improve the quality of health care in southwest Virginia by providing additional opportunities for nursing education at the baccalaureate level,’ BC President Dr. David Olive said.
Bluefield recently completed a study showing more than 90 percent of students in RN programs in the region are interested in a bachelor’s degree in nursing. There are only 20 colleges in the state offering a BS in nursing and Bluefield is just the second in southwest Virginia.
“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Bluefield College on this initiative,’ SwVCC President Dr. Mark Estepp said. Estepp said he oversaw creation of a similar program when he was working at Appalachian State University.