New BSN at USD to begin accepting students next summer

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The South Dakota Board of Regents announced recently that The University of South Dakota has received degree authority for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) to complement the University’s long-standing and highly-regarded Associate of Science in Nursing (A.S.N.) program.

This new program will provide registered nurses with access to a B.S.N. by accepting all credits in the A.S.N. degree, and delivering nursing and support courses through several options, including distance education. Post-licensure A.S.N. graduates can join the workforce and practice as an R.N., continue as a full-time student and immediately earn a B.S.N., pursue the online B.S.N. while working or return later to complete the B.S.N.

“The post licensure B.S.N. is a seamless continuation of USD’s A.S.N. program,” said Debra Leners, R.N., Ph.D., PNP, CNE, chair of the Department of Nursing at USD. “USD Nursing is responding to the national call for increased access to the B.S.N. and other advanced nursing degrees in nursing.”

According to Leners, the call for more baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses in professional nursing is based on research demonstrating that hiring more nurses with higher education in acute health care settings significantly decreases morbidity and mortality in patient care outcomes.

Additionally, Leners cited a key recommendation by the Carnegie Foundation that a B.S.N. become a basic requirement for entry to practice in the future of the nursing workforce.

“Shorter lengths of stay, higher patient acuity, and more complex technology and procedures increase the difficulty of planning and coordinating high quality patient care,” added Leners, “which places greater demands for greater evidence-based nursing knowledge and critical problem-solving in practice.”

USD is expected to begin accepting students into the B.S.N. program starting in summer 2011, following approval from the state Board of Nursing. No new state resources or additional student fees have been requested to implement the program. USD’s associate degree in nursing, which produces the majority of the state’s two-year degrees, will also continue with no changes.

For more information about the Department of Nursing, which is part of The U’s School of Health Sciences, please visit the department’s Web site at www.usd.edu/nursing or call (605) 677-5006.