Thanks to a sponsorship from Augusta Health, Mary Baldwin is set to begin development of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree completion program that will allow registered nurses at Augusta Health and throughout the region to meet increasingly rigorous educational requirements. Mary Baldwin plans to have the new RN-to-BSN program up and running in 2015.
Augusta Health’s sponsorship of $60,000 per year for five years will help Augusta Health nurses meet national education mandates while allowing Mary Baldwin to move forward quickly with development of a program that serves compelling regional needs. The opportunity presented by the new RN-to-BSN degree completion program is a timely one for Augusta Health and other Virginia hospitals: The Institute of Medicine’s new standards call for the proportion of hospital-based nurses with a baccalaureate degree to increase to 80 percent by 2020.
“Mary Baldwin has benefitted from the goodwill, professional expertise, and wise advice of our colleagues at Augusta Health as we work to launch Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences. Their sponsorship now allows us to develop another degree program that will serve Virginia’s RN-prepared nurses, and through them their patients and indeed our broader community,” said Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox. “We are so very grateful for their confidence in us and the opportunity to collaborate for the greater good.”
“Augusta Health is proud to work with Mary Baldwin University and the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences to provide educational alternatives for our nurses and for all nurses in the community,” said Mary N. Mannix, FACHE, president and CEO of Augusta Health, who began her own career as a hospital nurse. “We value our partnership with Mary Baldwin’s new college of health sciences, and our joint commitment to education.”
Courses will include post-professional nursing courses as well as general studies coursework to complete the requirements for the BSN. This program will be offered online, with face-to-face support provided as needed for those new to online education. Having the online format will allow working nurses to access their classes when convenient for them.
“Mary Baldwin University has a 40-year track record of providing quality distance-learning coursework and is well prepared to support this initiative,” said Linda Seestedt-Stanford, vice president of health sciences at Mary Baldwin. “Over the next five years, this significant sponsorship from Augusta Health will help us help Virginia nurses to earn advanced degrees and support their commitment to a higher level of quality care. This program is an exciting addition to the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences and links with our interprofessional focus, a significant aspect of the Murphy Deming programs.”
Mary Baldwin University is forward-looking master’s level university offering a variety of coeducational programs at 12 Virginia locations and, at the same time, one of the nation’s oldest women’s colleges. Through Murphy Deming, Mary Baldwin will offer doctoral degrees in physical therapy and occupational therapy beginning this June, and a master’s in physician assistant studies in August 2015. A 53,000-square-foot building on a new branch campus in Fishersville, currently under construction, will house the new college.