RN-BSN Completion Program

Institution: 
Washington State Community College
Approval Status: 
Preliminary Request
Comment Period: 
Thu, 03/24/2022 - 5:00pm to Thu, 04/07/2022 - 5:00pm

Comments

Comment: 
As evidenced by a large number of nursing vacancies at our two largest hospital systems, recruiting enough registered nurses to rural Marietta, OH has proven difficult. As such, nursing positions requiring a BSN remain unfilled. Local employers have reported that only 18% of their nursing staff have BSNs or higher as compared to Ohio's 57%. Over the past 5 years, only 26% of WSCC Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) graduates have gone on to pursue a BSN. However, when recent WSCC ADN graduates were asked if they would enroll in a BSN program if it was offered at WSCC, 50% responded "yes." WSCC has one of the highest NCLEX-RN pass rates in the state often surpassing many of the four-year BSN programs. They are well poised to offer nursing training from the LPN to the RN to the BSN with the goal of meeting community workforce needs and providing competent, compassionate nursing care for area residents. Thank you.

Comment: 
I want to voice my unqualified endorsement for the creation of the RN to BSN program at Washington State Community College. As CEO of the Memorial Health System's three hospitals employing approximately 600 RNs we absolutely NEED this in order to meet the needs of our community. Nurses deserve our support to continue to advance professionally. Like all other healthcare professions, a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development is essential to creating a workforce that can deliver the world class care we are expected to deliver here in Marietta and the surrounding areas. Today's dynamic healthcare environment requires great physicians, nurses and ancillary healthcare professionals. If the pandemic taught us nothing else, it spoke to the need for rural, urban, academic and community health systems to be prepared to deliver the same, life saving gold standard patient care in every location. This requires our systems to prepare workforces that are able to adapt to complex challenges and shift resources quickly and efficiently based on the conditions presenting each day. Allowing nurses with roots deep in our rural areas to remain home and continue their education permits hospitals in these areas to operate effectively as well. Rural markets like southeastern Ohio need strong partners like WSCC to help us prepare that workforce. Memorial Health has, at the peak of the pandemic, nearly 20% of our RN workforce traveling from other communities (over 120 RNs). Prior to Covid-19, we already had a vacancy rate of nearly 10% or 60 RNs traveling from outside the area. WSCC has already demonstrated real strength as a partner for MHS in developing the nurses needed in our community. We have a long tradition of collaborating to ensure high quality classroom and clinical experiences for our future nurses. We have been innovative partners, willing to help traditional and non-traditional students find career success. At the Memorial Health System, we stand ready to partner with WSCC to continue these traditions and advance a new phase of preparation for nurses extending from RN to BSN. I want to thank our partners in planning. Specifically thanks to Chancellor Gardner for his vision that includes rural Ohio. Another thank you to Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted for investing in these communities in a way that can sustain our workforces and create quality patient care for the entire state and not just the primary metropolitan centers.

Comment: 
This program would be an excellent opportunity for many working nurses in the area. I myself have been waiting for WSCC to offer this program. I had an excellent experience while obtaining my ADN and would love the opportunity to pursue my BSN at WSCC.

Comment: 
To Whom It May Concern, I am a proud 2015 graduate of the Associate degree program at Washington State Community College. My graduating class had the distinction to have a 100% NCLEX pass rate. I write on behalf of the school and the instructors who have appealed for the ability to offer further progression and benefits to my community through the benefit of offering a Baccalaureate program at WSCC. When I came to this school, I had no medical training. I had never even taken an anatomy class. Washington State and on the job training at nearby Camden Clark Medical Center have molded me into an oncology nurse who, together with my team, effectively provide chemotherapy and extend life to people with cancer who live in the Mid Ohio Valley. The voices in my head who tell me how to document my work and how to use caution with these medications are the voices of the nursing instructors at WSCC. I am proud of the services I provide to my patients, and everything I do is a reflection of the education I have received. It is my fervent hope that WSCC soon is able to offer local nurses like me the opportunity to further their education with a Baccalaureate degree. Thank you, Nichole Hutchinson ADN-RN

Comment: 
Memorial Health System has long standing partnership with Washington State Community College. They are an essential partner to our Human Resources Department and our on-going endeavor in fulfilling our workforce needs, especially Registered Nurses. Working together, we are providing excellent opportunities for their students to get hands-on clinical experience within our Health System (as a student) that leads to full time employment. Their ADN registered nurse program has supplied our organization with many quality RNs who provide our community outstanding care. Nurses deserve our support to continue to advance professionally here locally. We are excited and fully endorse on the investment of a BSN program that will provide our future RNs with greater expertise and a broader knowledge base resulting in excellent patient care and positive patient outcomes for our MOV community. We fully support WSCC's BSN program.

Comment: 
I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for the Ohio Department of Education's proposed plan to approve a BSN program at Washington State Community College (WSCC). WSCC serves as an essential base of opportunity for a wide variety of higher education initiatives in a long-underserved area. The College has shown a commitment to academic excellence, accessibility for students of all ages and backgrounds, and particular excellence in the medical field. Allowing WSCC to expand its existing medical/nursing expertise into an expanded BSN program will provide immediate impact to multiple counties in Southeast Ohio. These counties have strong local health systems that cannot meet the demand for local skilled labor. The BSN at WSCC will benefit: 1. Residents who seek to better their educational and occupational opportunities. 2. Local residents and communities who will be served by the graduates of this program. 3. Local medical systems that struggle to recruit and retain and attract talent into these communities. The Ohio Department of Higher education has an opportunity to be an innovator in this field, by selecting excellent institutions in the right communities to pilot this important program. I commend the Department and WSCC for their vision and foresight in expanding the opportunities for individuals and communities in this way.

Comment: 
Supporting the BSN program in our region of Ohio is a must. The two largest health employers in our region report a lower percentage of nursing staff with BSNs than the rest of Ohio, and many positions requiring a BSN are unable to be filled. Research supports a correlation between higher levels of nursing education and increased quality of patient care. In providing this opportunity we are directly caring for our community by improving patient outcomes. The nursing community in our area deserves the opportunity for career advancement and job stability. The community deserves better patient outcomes, fewer medical errors, and decreased mortality rates that research show RNs with a baccalaureate degree or higher provide. WSCC's nursing program is a top-ranking program with a proven track record of success. They are perfectly situated to meet the needs of local healthcare employers, patients, nurses, and the community by offering this degree.

Comment: 
State data demonstrates existing institutions that offer BSN degrees (BSN relicense and BSN completion programs) have available capacity for more students. ODHE should weigh existing availability of capacity in the relevant area before each and any new program is created at a community college. The goal to increase the number of BSNs in Ohio should addressed by supporting existing higher-education institutions. Community colleges offering BSNC programs will not add more nurses to the workforce, this will upskill current nurses.

Comment: 
I fully support the approval of the RN to BSN Completion Program being requested by Washington State Community College. I commend WSCC and the great State of Ohio for this creative concept of expanding the career opportunities for RNs. We have a nursing workforce of over 400 RNs. We currently have the need for over 140 new RNs to help us in meeting the needs of our patients and community. WSCC has demonstrated a high level of competency in training nurses. The institution was recently named one of the top 50 community colleges in the United States. Their leadership has demonstrated a consistent ability to meet a high level of performance in education. Please provide WSCC with full approval of this program. This will be a great investment for our community!

Comment: 
This is an exciting opportunity to express my full support from both the perspective of an economic development professional and as the husband of a BSN-RN. As an economic developer, I am all too aware of the workforce shortage that is currently crippling businesses in all sectors, and healthcare is not immune from this challenging issue. The healthcare sector is the largest employer in our county, which is a true statement for a majority of communities in Ohio. Without innovative, progressive partnerships that streamline our talent pipelines, not only will our economy suffer, but so too will our quality of life. Washington State has a demonstrated history of educating and training a qualified workforce, especially in their nursing pathways. This is a life-changing opportunity for aspiring/current nurses to have access to affordable, quality education with a direct pathway to meaningful, sustainable employment. The overall economic impact of a BSN program being anchored in the heart of SE Ohio will be undeniable and I wholeheartedly support WSCC in its quest to implement this program.

Comment: 
Washington State offered a exceptional ADN program and I look forward to seeing what kind of RN to BSN program they can provide. Being a full time nurse at a local hospital and seeing the necessity of having a BSN, I am excited to hopefully be able to return to WSCC to achieve yet another goal.

Comment: 
I am an alumni of the ADN program at WSCC. It was a tough program that provides competent nurses to our community. My original plan was to start a BSN program 2 or 3 years into my nursing career. I would have started this year, but I heard WSCC was working on getting a BSN program & I want to obtain my BSN through their program. I know it will be a success because they have already proven their success through both the practical nursing & associate nursing programs. They are excellent programs producing top quality nurses & I am sure their BSN program will excel just as their other nursing programs have while providing an affordable local option to local nurses. Granting approval of this program is a no brainer. It would be an incredible asset to the community.

Comment: 
I have completed my LPN and RN schooling though Washington State. I am excited to hear the opportunity for a BSN program. I would love to continue my education with Washington State Community College. I have done clinicals with both Camden Clark and Marietta Memorial through Washington state. I had a job with Marietta Memorial in line before I even graduated. Washington State prepared me to join the workforce immediately after graduation and pass state boards on the first try.

Comment: 
As a board of director for the Memorial Health System and a member of the community it serves, I am excited about this opportunity and fully support a BSN program at Washington State. I feel that this change would increase the quality of care in our local hospitals by providing resource relief to the nursing profession that is greatly needed. It also provides an opportunity for individuals interested in advancing their career in nursing and being able to do that in the local area. This is a much needed program and I hope that the Ohio Department of Education gives it serious consideration.

Comment: 
I graduated from the PN program in 2019 and I'm a current ADN student as of today, and I can't even begin to say how amazing both programs have been. Washington State Community College is outstanding when it comes to how great their nursing programs are; may it be the instructors, to the clinical rotations, to the lab time, They are set apart from other nursing education programs, the instruction is thorough and patient centered. The N-CLEX and ATI review is preparing us for the licensure exam, and the skills we're learning now are indispensable because we use them every day as nurses. To see such extensive learning opportunities at such an affordable price are the 2 main factors that pulled me in at first, and I see now why everyone always talks about Washington State students in such high regard. I'm learning so much going forward with my education at this facility. By offering the BSN program, I'm certain the standards of excellence and quality of instruction will be held just as high as the PN and ADN. By offering this, I'm certain the nurses that graduate from WSCC through the BSN program will be the top of the line as are all the rest of our nursing students.

Comment: 
The proposal for the RN to BSN completion program is intended to meet the need of our community while building the nursing profession to provide better patient outcomes. The low percentage of BSN prepared nurses in the local region who are eligible to promote within our area hospitals as well the desire of our nursing graduates to attend an on-campus RN-BSN program, supports the need for this BSN option. The survey from our 2020-2021 graduates revealed that 46% of our graduates have a desire to obtain a BSN if the option was available at WSCC. The RN to BSN proposal was written according the BSN Essentials that were established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and is clearly supported by data that was collected from our area stakeholders. I support providing the RN to BSN completion program at WSCC to meet the goals of our community.

Comment: 
As a long-term nursing faculty member and program director, I fully support the approval of the RN to BSN Completion Program submitted by Washington State Community College. We have a long history of educating competent and caring nursing professionals that are dedicated to the health care needs of our community. As a small region, the academic credentials of our nursing staff lag significantly behind the state average with only 18% of our local nurses credentialed at the baccalaureate level or higher. Our local employers face substantial challenges in recruiting and hiring nurses to positions that require a BSN. Such positions, including Clinical Nurse Managers, Quality Improvement Nurses, and Nurse Staff Educators, are absolutely essential to the operations of health care organizations. This expansion of the curriculum at WSCC provides our graduates with the opportunity to meet the health care needs of our local hospitals and the patient population that they serve. Our graduates have voiced that they are "waiting" for Washington State to provide this educational program, and I fully support its approval. The approval of this proposal has the potential to upskill the nurses that are already dedicated to the health care needs of Southeast Ohio. Thank you for this opportunity.

Comment: 
As a student approaching graduation in May from Washington State Community College's Associate Degree Nursing Program, I feel very excited about the possibility of the opportunity to complete my RN to BSN in a college that I am already familiar with. WSCC has prepared not only myself, but hundreds of qualified LPNs and RNs over the years, and they continue to graduate nurses who are ready to join the healthcare workforce immediately after graduation. There is a tremendous need in our area for a reliable, uncomplicated RN to BSN program with roots in a facility we know we can trust. I support WSCC in their endeavor to fill this need, and I am hopeful that I will be able to obtain my BSN degree from WSCC in the near future.

Comment: 
I write in support of Washington State Community College’s (WSCC) application to add a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program (BSN) to its curriculum. Adding a BSN at WSCC will provide various benefits to the college and those living in the region. From an economic perspective, adding a BSN to the curriculum at WSCC will result in significant tax savings to the state. Currently, hospitals in the region are being forced to hire traveling and international nurses these nurses command premium pay rates that far surpass what staff BSNs earn. This isn’t only an egregious use of hospital budgets, but it also increases the state of Ohio’s Medicaid spending. Furthermore, it’s detrimental to the local economy because it removes the local workforce from the equation. When it comes to students, WSCC has tremendous learn and earn programs that allow students to get into the workforce after just one semester. Adults that need an income can earn stackable credentials such as patient care technician, STNA, and phlebotomy, even before they earn their LPN and BSN. This allows them to earn a livable wage while paying low tuition. Therefore, I urge you to give Washington State Community College’s application to add a BSN program to its curriculum your fullest consideration. Should you have any questions please contact my District Director, Sarah Keeler, at 330-337-6951. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Comment: 
I would like to document my endorsement for the RN to BSN program at Washington State Community College. As the CNO at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medicine Clark in Parkersburg WV, I see this need first hand and work with my leadership team on solving our nursing workforce shortage/needs at the bedside as well as nursing leadership positions that are needed to educate, lead, mentor and manage our nursing staff. Locally, at CCMC, we have more than 100 direct care RN positions vacant with a goal of hiring more than 140 RNs annually due to the increasing RN turnover rate as many RNs leave to take traveler assignments. In addition, we have another 6 current nursing leadership vacant positions that require a BSN, several with a MSN referred, that are left unfilled. It is important to provide formal education for RNs within our community, provide easy access to the classroom/faculty as well as to offer the continuation of education to nurses for future of nursing leaders. Access and making it simple for students to re-enter the education institution is one of the largest barriers, with this BSN program with our community, we have reduced one more barrier. Many students desiring to go back for their BSN, are working full time and do not want or have time to leave their community to commute for in classroom instruction. We need to look to the future, we need more RNs with BSNs to fill roles at CCMC and within the community, in other settings. In addition, RNs will have the opportunity to apply, gain and qualify for leadership positions which will also yield a higher income/salary to support themselves and their families. Washington State Community College has a solid nursing education reputation of their nursing graduates, many which we hire into our workforce at CCMC. We are a proud partner and welcome the WSCC RN to BSN students to CCMC as a clinical site for additional students which will open more opportunities.

Comment: 
I am writing to support the Washington State Community College’s (WSCC) application to add a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program (BSN) to its curriculum. It is imperative to the future of nursing that communities have readily accessible programs to advance nursing knowledge and skill. Providing programs to promote higher degree attainment are crucial. The majority of programs offered locally only offer the option for an Associate Degree. By offering an enhanced RN to BSN program, you will impact the quality of care offered by nursing facilities throughout the region. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing outlines the necessary curriculum content and expected competencies of graduates from baccalaureate programs. We must advocate for nurses to obtain higher degrees in order to advance nursing practice, provide safer care based on evidence-based practice, and improve patient outcomes.

Comment: 
As a proud graduate of the PN program in 2016 and a current ADN student, I’m excited to share my support for the RN to BSN program at WSCC. Both the PN and ADN programs at WSCC fall nothing short of phenomenal, which include the instructors, clinical adjuncts, and opportunities that are given through these programs. I intend to start my BSN as soon as I complete my ADN, and would honored to complete another program at WSCC.

Comment: 
I want to express my support of the RN to BSN program at WSCC. I have been on the advisory board for their ADN program for a number of years. The graduates from that program are some of the best I have seen. Their pass rates are excellent. I have no doubt that they will take their record of excellence to this RN to BSN program also. For an RN to obtain a BSN benefits the patients, the employer and the nurse. We need more BSN prepared nurses in our area. Our leadership teams are seasoned and need to have qualified nurses to pass the baton to in the future. Having a BSN opens the door to so many opportunities and often leads to an MSN. I fully support the RN to BSN program at WSCC.

Comment: 
I am a lifelong resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley. I serve in the capacity of Assistant Vice President of Clinical Services at WVU Medicine Wetzel County Hospital in New Martinsville, WV and Director of Nursing Program Development at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, WV. Additionally, I am an adjunct professor of nursing in an accelerated BSN program at a university in Ohio. I see the firsthand need for this program in our community through my various avenues of work and fully support the addition of an RN-to-BSN program at Washington State Community College. My own nursing career began in high school, where I attended a local technical school to complete a pre-nursing program and worked at a local hospital as a nursing assistant. Then, I followed the path of obtaining an ADN, followed by completing an RN-to-BSN program. I would have loved to have had a local option available to me for the RN-to-BSN program. I had to do an online program because that was all that was available at the time. I was disappointed with the quality of the fully online program and sought a more connected program when evaluating programs for my MSN and DNP. I have reviewed the thorough proposal presented by Dr. Wood and believe this proposed program will be a valuable addition to the already well-respected nursing program at WSCC. The Mid-Ohio Valley region needs to continue focusing on nursing career pathways and keeping nurses local, where they can serve their own community. Thank you for the consideration! ~Jessica D. Huffman, MSN, RN, CENP

Comment: 
I have worked with our area hospitals over the past few years and have heard their concerns and needs. These hospitals are in desperate need of more nurses. They are also in need of more BSN's. By allowing WSCC to offer a BSN program our area nurses will have a convenient, local and affordable option. WSCC has a tremendous reputation with it's nursing programs. We will continue this tradition with the BSN and also serve a critical need in our community.

Comment: 
I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for the Ohio Department of Education's proposed plan to approve a BSN program at Washington State Community College. As a BSN currently working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with a certification in Nursing Professional Development, I acknowledge the need for this program which can service RNs who are working full time while obtaining their degree. The flexible hours and program delivery options will allow many RNs to enhance their careers while maintaining work-life balance resulting in improved patient satisfaction and outcomes. Thank you for your consideration for this much needed proposal.

Comment: 
Living and growing up in Appalachia my whole life, I have come to realize that we are not always afforded the same resources that may be available in other portions of the country. Washington State Community College opens a significant door to this issue with their new RN to BSN program. Through this new initiative, WSCC is building a foundation that will assist in recognizing, and creating, future leaders in nursing from our own community and region. Congratulations on your new endeavor, and wishing you much success moving forward.

Comment: 
At WSCC, we take great pride in the success and rigor of our Nursing programs. After listening to the needs of our community and analyzing the data we are very excited about the possibility of offering the BSN. Research shows that the average age of students in community college baccalaureate programs in other states is over 30. Offering the BSN at WSCC would increase access to working adults who care about the proximity and connection to their school (and are balancing a career, children, and other responsibilities) as well as traditional aged students who wish to stay local. WSCC sees this opportunity as another way to invest in our students. Thank you for your consideration!

Comment: 
I would like to convey my support of this program proposal as both alumni of the Washington State Community College ADN program, and as a nurse currently working within this community. The standards held by this school’s current nursing program are second to none and I have no doubt their RN to BSN program would preform at the same or better level. Students receive exceptionally supportive and competent educations, and I cannot attribute to my success as a nurse without giving credit where it is due- to WSCC. I offer my full support in favor of this proposal, and know we can further strengthen the healthcare workforce in our area by offering higher nursing education. Thank you.

Comment: 
I will graduate from WSCC in May of 2022 with an Associate Degree in Nursing. The opportunity for WSCC to offer a RN to BSN program makes so much sense for our local community as it will allow nurses both those who graduate from WSCC and those who work in our local hospitals to obtain a BSN that is specifically designed to accommodate the working individual at an affordable price. Offering a BSN at WSCC will increase the number of individuals who seek a higher educational degree in nursing leading to better healthcare in our area. It will also allow individuals to work to meet the prerequisite requirements for a BSN while working on the RN leading to a faster more individualized track.

Comment: 
The Memorial Health System has had a long relationship with WSCC that has consistently provided us with skilled ADN nurses and I have no doubt they would continue that tradition with a BSN program. It would be wonderful for our nurses to continue their education where they live and work. More importantly, we need more BSN prepared nurses to help care for more complex patients which is becoming the norm. I fully endorse WSCC's request to offer a BSN program.

Comment: 
I had the opportunity to pursue both my LPN and ADN degree at WSCC. I would have absolutely gone on to take a BSN program at WSCC if it had been available. The instructors in the current nursing program are excellent and care about the success of their students. This program would allow our future and existing nursing to obtain an education here in Washington county and hopefully stay in this area.

Comment: 
Washington State Community College is situated within the heart of Ohio's Appalachian counties along the Ohio River. This rural part of Ohio is very scenic and beautiful yet it has its setbacks, such as: poorer economics, geographical isolation and fewer options when compared to the more populated areas. Poverty and low income are also predominant and affordability to improve one's lifestyle through education is not a given. The consistent data from the U.S. Bureau of Census fully supports the fact that nearly half of all families are headed by single mothers. This fact remains true in southeastern Ohio as well. Often the only way to break this cycle is through education. Becoming a nurse is not an easy task, especially for a single mother who has many responsibilities. As a Nursing faculty member, I see that many of our adult students are trying desperately to balance child care, home life, work life and in their spare time, studying as an adult student. There are not enough hours in the day. Not only do I see this on a daily basis but I was also a part of these same statistics. Fortunately, I was able to gain my BSN several years ago but over the course of several years. I had to take one class at a time through a larger university due to the costs. Slowly, I gained my degree as I could afford classes yet never had a connection to the large/distant academic setting. How wonderful it would be to offer a quality RN-to-BSN program within one's home community! This would be a true "life changer" for the many single mothers and their family members to learn, live and grow at home in Appalachia.

Comment: 
Washington State Community College (WSCC) is situated in the heart of Ohio’s Appalachian counties along the Ohio River. Not only is it scenic and beautiful but there are a variety of setbacks as well. This region of Ohio, like most Appalachian counties, has lower economic advantages, more geographical isolation and fewer opportunities when compared to more densely populated areas. Another fact that is commonly seen within this lower economic region is the family unit being led by single mothers. Many of these moms know that advancing their education is the answer to breaking the economic struggle. However, to make this a reality is not a small feat. Many of these single moms are current students desperately trying to make a difference in the livelihood of their family. As a WSCC faculty member, I see many of these moms juggle and manage many tasks, such as: arranging childcare needs, adapting work schedules, trying to balance home life, and studying in their spare time. There simply are not enough hours in the day! How wonderful it would be to have an affordable and flexible RN-to-BSN program within the close-knit community. Not only will this education opportunity help meet the need of the local medical facilities; it will also help boost these single moms and their families into a life of hope. Offering this BSN program in southeastern Ohio is a “Win-Win” as it will help the future patients, the community, the single moms and their children for generations to come.

Comment: 
As a Board of Trustees member for the past seven years, I would like to express my support for adding the BSN program at Washington State Community College. The need for BSNs is well documented not just here but nationwide. Some four year institutions have expressed concerns that we would be stealing their prospective students. The closest current programs are 50+ miles away and the vast majority of our RN graduates will not continue to obtain their BSN elsewhere due to time constraints, family responsibilities and work schedules. WSCC has worked closely with local Health Care Institutions to coordinate class and work schedules for our students. The quality of WSCC's RN program is well documented. Educational Institutions need to able to quickly respond to societal and work force needs and changes.

Comment: 
Currently there are 5000 open seats for BSN students in the state of Ohio. There is already an oversaturation and lack of availability of clinical site placements. There is also a shortage of faculty. The answer to these issues is not increasing the number of BSN programs, it is rather to support the BSN programs that already exist. Increasing the number of programs will only serve to decrease the quality and integrity of the programs that already exist by exacerbating the current challenges. We need to put energy into supporting the field of nursing, encouraging more students to pursue their BSN and help our prestigious 4-year institutions meet the challenge

Comment: 
The target audience in the proposal is registered nurses who hold an associate degree and wish to pursue a BSN. These nurses are already in the workforce, so enrolling them in a BSN program does not increase the number of available registered nurses. It is true that nursing is an “in-demand field” and will be for the projected long-term. The proposal does not, however, answer the need for increased workforce by adding RN-to-BSN programs. Due to the current nursing shortage, health care institutions in Ohio are not requiring a BSN to become employed, and most are not requiring AD nurses to achieve a BSN within a certain time frame after hire. This likely accounts for the low enrollment in some of our existing RN to BSN programs. Once the demand for RN to BSN increases again in the future, we have the existing capacity in the state to meet this workforce need. There is NOT an absence of bachelor’s degree programs offered by state or private universities or colleges in Ohio. In a February 2022 survey, 21 of 25 existing OHIO nursing programs reported that they have existing capacity to take additional BSN students - ranging from 10 to 250 more students with a projected capacity of approximately 1360 places for additional BSN students at the present time. In the same survey, only 3 of the 25 do not have RN-to-BSN programs; 3 reported they were full in this program; 19 reported high capacity with about half noting that they have unlimited capacity for growth in their RN-to-BSN programs. This proposal will require additional nursing faculty and resources. Nursing faculty are difficult to recruit and retain. Helping students gain access to existing BSN programs that have capacity (which are located all across Ohio) makes good use of existing resources and does not further exacerbate the shortage of faculty and clinical sites. Online learning allows flexible scheduling and individualization. AD RN graduates work varying shifts, 7 days/week; most working nurses struggle with a structured schedule. Reports and anecdotal evidence show that students prefer online learning to in-person learning, becoming more familiar and popular since the pandemic. The resources to run a nursing program are significant compared to many other academic programs. By building on existing resources, it is possible to keep the cost of program delivery down. Given that we have existing scalable online programs with significant capacity, adding additional programs simply creates duplication, utilization of scarce resources (faculty, clinical sites), but would increase the workforce by very few nurses. An approach to develop partnerships and dual-admission arrangements with existing BSN programs, as many community colleges have already done, would meet the needs of their graduates with a seamless progression to RN-to-BSN programs. And, would be a better use of state resources. The need for registered nurses is not in question We believe consideration should be given to putting resources into existing programs that have capacity and are already well established. By partnering with established programs, the need to increase the number of baccalaureate prepared nurses can be accomplished. We also have some concerns about the preparation of the community college faculty in the ADN programs to “upgrade” their teaching to the baccalaureate level. It is not clear where they would get the additional curriculum and teaching knowledge and skills to keep our state’s baccalaureate teaching at quality levels. This would have to be a consideration, but plans for this not well articulated.

Comment: 
Many of IUC's objections to this proposal appear to be the same unsubstantiated claims that were used to oppose the legislation authorizing community colleges to offer BSNs. While disappointing, it is important to point out that many of the claims direct conflict with what the actual employers in our region are asking for. Additionally, our proposal includes extensive labor market analysis that shows evidence of the need. We are proud to have the support of so many of our hospital and health care partners throughout the region. IUC's claim that existing programs at 4-year universities are failing to reach capacity enrollments as justification for denying our program as being duplicative and unnecessary simply defies a logical concern. As a low-cost and flexible option, this program will improve access for lower income students within our own communities, which will improve BSN capacity and actual completions in Ohio, where current programs appear to be falling short. Many of the students who will enroll in the BSN complete program will be NCSC graduates who will turn to us because they know they will receive an affordable, high-quality instruction with demonstrated focused student supports that they experienced in their ADN programs. Students know they will be successful in the BSN programs because of this. IUC's statement continues the same unsubstantiated claims that this will require more state resources at the expense of existing BSN programs. Once again, just like with previous bachelor's degree programs, it is important to emphasize that these proposals do not seek additional resources. These arguments are hollow at best. We are proud of being able to deliver these important opportunities to many nontraditional or underrepresented students without more resources. Community colleges do not start new academic programs in a vacuum – each institution performs its own cost-benefit analysis and other fiscal tests to ensure the program can fit within their proposed budget; furthermore, the Higher Learning Commission reviews the fiscal analysis as part of their accreditation approval process. Finally, at perhaps most disappointing, IUC's comments further the ongoing stigma that calls into question the quality of community college programs and faculty. Data simply shows a completely different reality to this implication. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the 2019 passage rate for the NCLEX Nursing Licensure Exam for graduates of Ohio community colleges was 87.5%. Most notably, community college graduates outperformed the ADN statewide average passage rate of 84.4. These programs will continue to meet the exact same accreditation requirements, qualified and credentialed nursing faculty (many of whom are current ADN faculty), student outcomes and quality metrics as any other BSN program offered through a 4-year institution. The Ohio Board of Nursing qualifications for nursing faculty (Law and Rule) specifically identify qualifications for a registered nursing program to be a masters degree. There is no specification or distinction between faculty teaching at the ADN or BSN level. Faculty currently teaching in Associate Degree Programs are fully qualified to teach at the baccalaureate level. Accreditation review will determine if faculty meet preparation and have received adequate professional development for their assigned roles. Proposal clearly identify intent to seek accreditation for the BSN program.

Comment: 
We are not supportive of these changes and urge the Ohio Department of Higher Education to carefully consider the potentially negative consequences that may result if approval is granted. RN Shortage - Germane to this proposal is the claim that existing BSN programs are not satisfying workplace demands. Workplace demands and the BSN credential are two separate issues. The ADN, ASN, and AAS in Nursing all prepare students to sit for the NCLEX RN licensure exam. The workplace shortage is directly linked to a shortage of RNs to fill vacancies and provide adequate staffing. The BSN is a desired degree and goals have been set to significantly increase the percentage of RNs who have completed the BSN degree; however, that does not remedy the underlying shortage of RNs. Nursing School Seats - This proposal alludes to a shortage of seats in existing programs in their regions. However, in the most recent data collected by the Ohio Board of Nursing 2020-2021, it is reported that existing programs had 4847 RN seats, 1754 BSN seats, and 2789 ADN seats unfilled. This strongly suggests that the existing capacity in schools of nursing is not the issue. Threat to Existing Programs - The creation of new BSN programs will likely drive down enrollment in existing programs and create a growing surplus of unfilled seats around the state. Nursing Faculty Shortage - There is a growing shortage of qualified nurse educators to fill the needs of existing programs as evidenced by this statement on the AACN website: “According to a Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions released by AACN in October 2019, a total of 1,637 faculty vacancies were identified in a survey of 892 nursing schools with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs across the country (87.5% response rate). Besides the vacancies, schools cited the need to create an additional 134 faculty positions to accommodate student demand. The data show a national nurse faculty vacancy rate of 7.2%. Most of the vacancies (89.7%) were faculty positions requiring or preferring a doctoral degree.” Clinical Site Competition - A proliferation of new BSN programs will increase the severe competition for the limited clinical sites and clinical preceptors. Nursing Profession Turnover - There is a significant possibility that the nearly 3-year long COVID-19 pandemic which has increased the retirement and turnover rate among nurses regardless of credentials or degrees is turning young adults away from nursing as a career. The increased workload among the existing RNs has had a significant negative impact on their ability to pursue an RN-BSN program. Access and Online Programs - The proposal points to limited access in their respective area. However, there are ~30 online RN-BSN programs in the state of Ohio alone not including those online programs that cross state borders. These online programs offer a mix of synchronous and asynchronous opportunities which are convenient for nurses already in the workforce. Technology and Accessibility - Limited faculty access is also addressed in this proposal. Again, the pandemic has strengthened our ability to be accessible via technology like Zoom, Google Meet, etc. Also, email and telephone communication are still viable options for faculty and students to connect.

Comment: 
I am writing in enthusiastic support of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program at Washington State Community College (WSCC). My paternal ancestors have lived in Marietta since 1818 and I am an independent business man who is involved with several companies that employ several hundred employees in the mid-Ohio Valley. There currently is no educational institution in this area that offers the BSN degree and that circumstance leaves the Marietta area with an unmet need for some 200 BSN positions. WSCC has demonstrated the high quality of its existing nursing programs by being ranked #1 in the State of Ohio. What could be a better institution in Ohio at which to advance to a BSN level program? The City of Marietta remains one of the few small cities in Ohio with an independent, community owned hospital (Memorial Health System). WSCC maintains close relationships with both Memorial Health System and WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and WSCC is a critical source of Associate Degree Nurses for both of these institutions. Approval of a BSN program at WSCC would provide a second important health care level of service to these existing partnerships. Marietta is, of course, a part of Ohio's Appalachian Region and struggles with education and employment issues. This opportunity to provide BSN Degrees to area residents would be a double win - it would provide better employment opportunities while simultaneously enhancing the quality of health care in this region. I urge you to approve a BSN Degree program at Washington State Community College and I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have or to provide any additional information that you may seek. Bob Kirkbride / 740-374-9999 / rekirkbride@yahoo.com

Comment: 
Washington State Community College (WSCC), with one of the top-rated nursing programs in the state, is poised to meet the needs of our local hospitals. Currently, only 18% of the nursing workforce in this region hold a BSN or higher, and two local hospitals have approximately 200 vacant BSN positions. WSCC’s BSN program will help fill the existing nursing workforce gap, and will help two of the largest employers in our region upskill their approximate 800 associate degree nurses currently employed. This will give current and aspiring nurses access to an affordable, quality education with a direct pathway to meaningful, sustainable employment and advancement opportunities. The overall economic impact will be seen through the increased level of patient care with a BSN-prepared nursing staff, and the ability for employers to hire a local workforce rather than a workforce that travels from other communities. Currently, our local hospital spends millions of dollars on traveler and International nurses, which is not a sustainable model. Washington State has collaborative models already in place that can be replicated in innovative ways to move students from LPN to ADN to BSN. We have established models where, after one semester at WSCC, students will be able to transition into the workforce. In January 2023, we will expand our nursing program by adding a second cohort of nursing students each year. WSCC offering a BSN will result in a trifecta: our hospitals will save millions of dollars and have the workforce they need, our students will earn a living wage while advancing their education and earning potential, and our local economy will be strengthened. We are prepared and eager to secure approval to offer a RN to BSN program.

Comment: 
I am writing in support of Washington State Community College's RN to BSN program. WSCC's mission is to respond to the workforce needs of its community in southeast Ohio. The institution has worked closely with the two major healthcare systems in its region to identify a solution to fill the critical nursing workforce gap. The solution is an RN to BSN program, located at Washington State Community College, which will support local healthcare partners, provide enhanced patient care, and create more opportunities for local residents to access affordable training that will lead to liveable wage jobs/careers. This program also addresses the equity gap that exists for low-income students in Appalachia who have difficulty gaining access to higher education. This equity gap promotes the cycle of generational poverty and cannot be ignored. Adult learners, in particular, need additional pathway options to enhance their skills and create lifelong opportunities for their families and generations to come. The proposed RN to BSN program at WSCC will provide these additional pathway options for local students and enhance the economic vitality of the entire region.

Comment: 
Muskingum University enjoys very positive relationships with multiple community colleges in Ohio. Our articulation agreements are seen as student-friendly and we have invested heavily in creating dynamic partnerships with Zane State College, Washington State, COTC, and other regional community colleges. However, from the moment that a first proposal was put forward to allow 2-year institutions to offer programs leading to the BSN degree, Muskingum University has been consistent in expressing its deep concern about offering 4-year nursing programs in 2-year institutions. Despite their stated goal of helping to meet a critical shortage of RN nurses, we believe that allowing 2-year institutions to offer 4-year nursing programs is neither necessary to meet the need, nor will it actually do so. Muskingum University, along with many others, has the capacity to meet the need for BSN-prepared nurses in our region through our fully accessible and affordable program that has received accolades from our regional healthcare providers. Muskingum’s efforts to address the need for more nurses have included the following: • Our investment in quality pre- and post-licensure programs • Our establishment of multiple articulation agreements with the 2-year institutions to ease the move from one level of training to the next. • Our generous transfer credit policies recognizing work done through other programs and reducing a student’s time-to-completion. • Our implementation of special pricing opportunities for corporate partners, and for graduates of regional 2-year and diploma programs. • Our participation in competitive grant opportunities, such as Choose Ohio First and the WORC grant, designed to help lower the cost for students enrolled in these programs. Today, however, we would like to speak specifically to the program proposed by Washington State Community College (WSCC). A proposal which could, in fact, have a significant negative impact on our ongoing work at Muskingum. WSCC cites the shortage of and ongoing need for registered nurses (RNs) in Ohio. WSCC’s proposal does not address this shortage. WSCC’s proposed BSN completion program will not put one additional new nurse into the workforce. On the other hand, Muskingum University’s pre-licensure nursing program and our accelerated BSN program do address the nursing shortage by putting additional, BSN-qualified nurses on the floor upon program completion. WSCC points to the low number of RNs employed by Marietta Memorial Health who hold the BSN degree. Muskingum University concurs with WSCC that it is always more desirable to have nurses who have gone to the next level of training by earning the BSN degree. However, we argue that the WSCC proposal is redundant as it replicates a program already in place at Muskingum in easy proximity to Marietta Memorial Health. In fact, Muskingum University is already partnering with Marietta Memorial Health to offer an affordable and accessible RN-BSN opportunity for their staff and has the capacity to meet that need: • We offer healthcare systems, including Marietta Memorial, partnership programs that offer special pricing to their employees. We have reviewed that program again recently with Marietta, which was received positively. • Marietta Healthcare Systems is a partner in our recently awarded WORC grant (see below) and has committed to sending at least 75 employees annually for upskilling their credentials and hiring at least 83 employees who are trained through the grant. We can easily meet the RN-BSN need in the Marietta region and are eager to do so. Muskingum programs meet the regional need Muskingum University has offered an RN-to-BSN program since 2009 to serve the need for advanced training for RNs in the southeast Ohio region which includes Marietta and WSCC. To help meet this need in our region, Muskingum offers a program designed to fit in the busy lives of working nurses and their families. We have also done the following: • Invested significantly in nursing education programs – BSN, ABSN, and RN-to-BSN – to address the need for more nurses in the Marietta region and across southeastern Ohio. • Established an articulation agreement with WSCC • Maintained a generous transfer credit policy for WSCC students which was recognized recently by WSCC’s president • Implemented partnerships programs offering special pricing for employees of Marietta Memorial Health and graduates of WSCC designed to lower the cost to students • Wrote and are now implementing a DOL WORC grant. Last September, Muskingum University was awarded over $970,000 for a Workforce Opportunity for a Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The University was one of 11 Appalachian Regional Commission recipients. Muskingum University put together and lead a regional consortium to collaborater on the Building Healthcare Pathways in Rural Appalachian Ohio project. This project was conceived to provide a solution to two key issues: poor health outcomes and disparities paired with a critical shortage of healthcare professionals. The consortium is comprised of healthcare industry, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations which will collaborate throughout the three-year project. Consortium members include Genesis HealthCare System, Marietta Memorial Health System, Muskingum Behavioral Health, Muskingum Valley Health Center, Southeastern Ohio Med, Central Ohio Technical Center, Mid-East Career & Technical Centers, Muskingum University, Zane State College, Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) – Muskingum County and Ohio Mideastern Governments Association (OMEGA). Note that WSCC never responded to an invitation to partner with us in this opportunity. With a goal of meeting the healthcare staffing needs in our region, the WORC grant will help to fund the creation and implementation of industry-recognized healthcare credentials that are responsive to emerging skill needs in targeted healthcare careers, including nursing. This opportunity will serve dislocated workers, incumbent healthcare workers, and high school students in an eight-county region that includes Coshocton, Guernsey, Holmes, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Tuscarawas and Washington counties. WSCC states that at the conclusion of a meeting they hosted for stakeholders in this matter that “all institutions in attendance were supportive of a WSCC BSN program.” While Muskingum attended this meeting, we did not state our support for this program. We have not been asked for our perspective on this program in spite of our generous articulation agreement with WSCC. Another regional nursing program could limit Muskingum University’s capacity to offer meaningful programs that bring new nurses into our regional healthcare systems. Having another program that competes for resources, including students, faculty, and clinical sites, could limit Muskingum’s capacity to offer creative and affordable programs in our region and could cause harm to our traditional undergraduate and adult learning programs. Muskingum currently offers high quality programming for all of our nursing students, in large part due to our excellent faculty and strong clinical partnerships. In addition, we invest a portion of the revenue gained from our degree completion programs into developing and implementing new programs, such as our 123 Step Program and accelerated nursing program. Robust enrollments are needed to continue this essential work. There are other more effective ways to increase the number of nurses in our region. We would strongly suggest that focusing on recruitment into 2-year programs with articulation agreements with 4-year programs is a much more effective strategy for increasing the nursing workforce. Our WORC grant provides a model of strategies which are much more effective in addressing our regional nursing workforce needs including high school pathways, reskilling of displaced workers, financial support and other incentives to enter the nursing profession. Since this proposal brings no new nurses into the workforce, is redundant, and could potentially harm a regional program that already has invested significant resources in meeting these educational needs, we are asking that this program proposal not be approved. Thank you for your consideration.

Comment: 
The recent proposals to launch BSN-completion programs that have been submitted by several two-year colleges in Ohio present a significant concern to four-year institutions such as Muskingum University which already offer such programs. While it is admirable that the community colleges are interested in developing nursing programs, in many cases the proposals presented by these colleges are duplicating programs that already exist, often in close proximity to those colleges. This is certainly the case of the proposal submitted by Washington State Community College. If the common goal is to address the critical shortage of registered nurses in Ohio, Muskingum believes that it would be most effective to continue our cross-institutional collaborations through the ongoing development of partnerships and upward mobility pathways between two-year community colleges that offer the associate degree in nursing, career technical center programs that offer the RN diploma certificate, and four-year colleges and universities that offer the BSN entry level and RN to BSN programs. In so doing, we would actually be putting more RNs on the floor while maintaining ample opportunities to advance their careers by earning the BSN through one of the many BSN-completion programs already operating in Ohio. Muskingum University, along with many other nursing programs in Ohio, already has multiple articulation agreements that support such pathways, including an agreement with Washington State Community College. While there is certainly more work to be done to advance pathway development, Muskingum University posits that adding more BSN programs at this time would be redundant and potentially harmful. There are several points to think about while considering Washington State’s proposal: RN Workforce demands – The proposals from the community colleges to start RN-to-BSN programs would do nothing to address our current critical shortage of RNs. Adding the BSN credential and increasing the number of practicing RNs are two separate issues. While it may support upward career mobility, the BSN is not a required degree to become a registered nurse in Ohio. Moreover, earning the BSN after becoming a RN does not remedy the shortage of available nurses providing care to Ohio citizens. In 2019 the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN) collected nursing workforce data during the RN licensure renewal period. Of the 176,025 RNs who reported working in nursing 49% reported working in direct care areas. Creating RN-to-BSN programs will not address the hospitals’ concerns about RN staff shortages. Occupancy in current nursing programs – In a recent report by the Ohio Board of Nursing there is plenty of capacity in entry-level BSN programs and Associate Degree nursing programs. In addition, recently published survey results from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, April 5, 2022) showed a 9.6% decline in the number of students enrolled in RN-to-BSN completion programs. While AACN is investigating the reasons for this decline, it may be attributable to the increased number (3.3% in 2021) of students entering directly into entry-level BSN programs. Faculty shortage concern - There is a growing shortage of qualified nursing faculty to meet the needs of existing programs. In the 2020-2021 OBN education program survey 21 programs reported unfilled faculty positions due to a lack of qualified candidates. Eleven of the 21 programs were baccalaureate nursing programs. In addition, the OBN reported 295 nursing faculty anticipate leaving their teaching position in the next five years. Adding more programs will further exacerbate an already serious faculty shortage that could impact the quality of existing programs. The AACN reported that in 2021 14,743 applications were turned away from graduate nursing programs due to a faculty shortage. In Ohio nursing faculty teaching in RN programs are required to have a Master of Science in Nursing degree. Without available faculty to teach in graduate nursing education programs the faculty available to teach in RN entry level programs will be negatively impacted. Creating flexibility and quality programs for the working RN – Currently there are more than 30 online RN-to-BSN programs in Ohio, with additional programs that cross over the borders with other states. A mix of synchronous and asynchronous program models exist to facilitate the working RN’s busy schedule of family and work- related responsibilities. It has been our experience at Muskingum University that RNs searching for a BSN completion program are more likely to enroll in a high-quality program that offers flexible scheduling through excellent online instruction. This is what we offer at Muskingum. The findings stated above include recent survey data published by the Ohio Board of Nursing and AACN and should support the need for further analysis before approving any additional BSN programs in Ohio. Thank you, Cynthia Wilkins PhD, RN Director and Chair of Nursing Programs Muskingum University 260 Stadium Dr. New Concord, OH 43762