LIMA — Putting pen to paper, the presidents of Rhodes State College and Bluffton University signed an agreement Wednesday morning at Rhodes State to help meet the needs of nurses in Northwest Ohio.
The agreement facilitates the transfer of students between the two institutions.
Bluffton University nursing students may earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Bluffton University by first earning an Associate of Applied Science degree from Rhodes State College and Registered Nurse Licensure in the State of Ohio through successful completion of the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.
“We will be looking at a dual enrollment partnership where students who actually enter into Bluffton University will enter into Rhodes State at the same time,” said Dr. Cynthia Spiers, president of Rhodes State College. “These nursing students will take their two-year RN degree at Rhodes State and finish with a bachelor’s degree at Bluffton University. The beginning of their coursework will start at Bluffton, and they will take their general education courses and then move over to us to do the nursing coursework. This is slightly different than a typical articulation agreement because they will be enrolled at both institutions. They will be living on the campus of Bluffton University.”
Both presidents were excited to bring about these changes, which have been in the works for several months.
“Oh my goodness, this is an exciting day to have a partnership with Rhodes State, especially in the healthcare world,” said Dr. Jane Wood, president of Bluffton University. “I think we are going to positively impact the greater Lima region, and I look forward to what our combined students will be able to do for the region.”
Spiers added, “We are excited about being able to have this collaboration in order to have more bachelor degree students coming out into the region, and we recognize the need for both the RN’s and the BSN’s.”
The goal of the cooperative effort is to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the region.
“Initially, there was an Institute of Medicine report that asks that by 2020, 80% of nurses would be BSN qualified,” Wood said. “I’m not sure we quite met that, so we still have room to go, and we’re happy to be a part of that solution.”
Spiers said, “There is an expectation to add more BSN’s to the workforce. They both have a separate role, RN and BSN’s, but the state of Ohio is looking to push more BSN’s because we just don’t have enough to fill the needs.”
The new partnership could have a positive impact on enrollment.
“I think this will really provide more students with an option who are local who may want to live at home but also retain their BSN. So I think it will be positive for enrollment,” Wood said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.