USD readies proposal to add bachelor's degree in nursing

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s School of Health Sciences is developing a plan to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program is aimed at addressing a projected shortage of nurses in the state by maximizing access to the baccalaureate for USD students.

“Workforce studies show a need for thousands of additional nurses in the years ahead to provide health care in South Dakota,” Brian Kaatz, PharmD, dean of the School of Health Sciences, said.

At its December meeting, the South Dakota Board of Regents granted permission for USD to develop the bachelor degree program. USD currently offers an associate degree in nursing and no changes are planned for that program.

“We’re excited to have an opportunity to add a bachelor’s degree,” Debra Leners, RN, PhD, chair of the nursing program, said. “This will give people who want to pursue a baccalaureate degree the flexibility and access they need.”

The regents’ executive director and CEO, Jack R. Warner, said the bachelor’s degree is a necessary addition. “We see strong evidence that an additional bachelor’s program in nursing is justified due to the changing direction of the nursing profession and our state’s workforce needs,” Warner said.

USD will seek official approval from the regents of the new degree when its plan is completed. No new state funding or additional student fees will be requested to implement the B.S.N.