Concordia submits nursing proposal

Published 9:05 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nurses in West-Central Alabama don’t have many options if they want to earn a bachelors degree in nursing, but Concordia College Alabama is hoping to change that.

The school has submitted a proposal to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

If approved, the program would mark the fifth baccalaureate program at the college.

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“In Alabama there is a workforce task force that looked at the nursing programs in the state of Alabama, and they have used geo-mapping to pinpoint where the programs in the state are,” said Constance Smith-Hendricks, chair of the Division of Health Sciences.

“Just using visualization, when you look at it in west Alabama, there is nothing when it comes to baccalaureate programs. You have to go all the way over to Tuscaloosa. You’ve got Auburn and Troy to our east, but in this part of Alabama there is nothing.”

Smith-Hendricks is hoping Concordia’s program will fill the void in this part of the state and help nurses in this area further their education.

“We have an excellent ADN (Associates Degree in Nursing) program in town, but the national goal for nursing is to increase the number of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the nation,” Smith-Hendricks said.

“Research has shown that the higher the education level of the nurse, the better the patient outcome.”

Smith-Hendricks, who is a nurse herself, was given the task of formulating the program.

“It is a tedious [process] because the application requires that the program be fully developed in order to submit it,” Smith-Hendricks said.

“So we had to start from ground zero I guess you could say and develop all of the coursework, decide the focus of the program and how long it would take a student to graduate.”

Smith-Hendricks said if everything goes according to plan, the program will be up and running by May of 2016, and the first class will graduate in May 2017.

“I am encouraging people who are interested to contact me, bring their transcript over, let me map out their plan of study, and they really need to start this January with the general education piece,” Smith-Hendricks said.

“The professional program will begin in May, and it will be three semesters – summer, fall and spring.”

Smith-Hendricks said seeing this come to fruition is a dream come true.

“I’ve been a nurse for 41 years … and I have said we need a nursing program for the last 20 years, so I am just excited to have the opportunity and be the one selected to come and hopefully make this dream a reality,” Smith-Hendricks said.

Anyone interested in the program can call her at 874-5700, extension 19741.