11/23/2011 - Judson College Nursing Program Given Green Light by State Board of Nursing
- By Michael J. Brooks
The Alabama Board of Nursing in Montgomery gave provisional approval to the Judson College nursing program on Nov. 17. Provisional approval is the initial status granted by the board to a new nursing education program.
"It's been a long process, and we're grateful to the ABN for their guidance and support," said Kandace Shoults, program director. "We have 42 current students in our pre-nursing program and over 100 applications for the first class. This is exciting for the college."
Shoults said that the associate's degree in nursing requires a total of 19 nursing and general education courses that will prepare graduates for an entry-level nursing career.
"We'll teach our students quality and compassionate nursing care in Judson's faith-based environment," Shoults said. "And we have a host of excellent of facilities with an hour of our campus who've agreed to be clinical sites for us, including hospitals and nursing homes."
The college first considered a nursing degree program in the early ‘70s and has revisited the issue several times over the years.
Former college trustee chair Charles Dunkin of Birmingham said the trustees talked about the new program seriously for more than two years before giving approval in October of last year. "There’s a real shortage of nurses in the country and the nursing program here fits like a glove," Dunkin said. "It’s a natural outgrowth of our science program and it gives Judson another opportunity to serve the community.”
“Nursing is the most sought after major by prospective students that Judson heretofore did not offer,” said admissions vice president Charlotte Clements. “We believe it’s an opportune time to proceed with a quality program.”
Judson president Dr. David Potts noted there are more than two dozen other institutions in the state that offer nursing studies, but many qualified applicants are rejected due to enrollment limits. Some reports are that up to 140,000 students were turned away from nursing programs in the U.S. last year.
Potts noted that the nursing studies program at Judson will offer a number of advantages over programs in other schools. “We’re a Christian college and the school has always been solid in science and in pre-professional programs in allied health professions,” he said. “We’ve had remarkable success with our pre-med students. Eighty-four percent of our classes are taught by doctoral level, well-credentialed professors. Judson always receives good marks in faculty-student engagement and has a reputation for providing a strong undergraduate experience.”
The Judson program's courses will be taught in the Charlotte G. Lowder Science Building, completed in 2001, and in the James I. Harrison Center for Academic Excellence in Jewett Hall, completed in 2003.
“These new facilities have state-of-the art classrooms and equipment and will be a stellar asset to the faculty and students in the program,” Potts said.
Emphases in the Judson nursing program will include rural health, since the college has been involved in service projects in its rural setting for many years. Through the office of Faith-Based Service and Learning, Judson students participate in numerous health projects in partnership with the local public health department and with the “Sowing Seeds of Hope” interfaith initiative. Judson was recently granted candidacy status to offer a bachelor’s degree in social work by the Council on Social Work Education.
According to school officials, placement of a nursing school in Perry County will bring healthcare professionals to the area and enable broader spectrums of outreach to children, working adults and seniors.