This new program will provide students the opportunity to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. The four-year baccalaureate degree allows student to complete general education requirements and prerequisites the first two years and finish their nursing courses the last two years of the program. Incoming freshman for the fall 2012 semester will be able to declare the four-year Baccalaureate in Nursing as their degree and register as a pre-nursing student. It is anticipated that current freshman who are already in the university system could be ready to start their nursing courses in 2013.

USD will continue to offer their R.N.-B.S.N. programming to registered nurses by accepting credits from the A.S.N. degree and delivering nursing and support courses through several options, including distance education. The R.N.-B.S.N. program offers post-licensure A.S.N. graduates the opportunity to join the workforce and practice as an R.N. while continuing as a part-time student and immediately earn a B.S.N. Students also have the opportunity to return later to complete the B.S.N. USD started their first cohort of RN-BSN students this fall and will be accepting applications for the second cohort starting this month. The R.N.-B.S.N. program is in response to the Institute of Medicine’s call for a seamless transition for nurses to advance their degree.

Carla Dieter, Ed.D, R.N., F.N.P.-B.C., professor and chair of USD Nursing, noted that USD will continue to offer the A.S.N. programming in all sites as they transition to the baccalaureate programming in Vermillion, Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Additionally, the A.S.N. nursing program in Pierre and through distance education will continue their strong tradition of excellence in programming to meet the needs of rural health care providers. She also emphasized that the nursing department is transitioning to a new delivery method for students in the L.P.N. to R.N. program at Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown, S.D. Through USD Nursing’s online/distance programming, more than 50 percent of the curriculum can be delivered online, with clinical, lab, and simulation components delivered on site at LATI and Watertown Prairie Lakes Hospital by USD faculty. “This offers another option for a seamless transition for nurses in their pathway to upward mobility in the nursing profession,” added Dieter.

Students from all programs are eligible to take the NCLEX exam to be licensed as a registered nurse at the end of the programming. The A.S.N. program is accredited through the National League for Nurses Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and has been recognized as a Center of Excellence since 2004.  USD is currently on schedule for accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Education (CCNE) for their baccalaureate programming.

“Our excellence in programming is due to our qualified, dedicated faculty and we will carry this excellence through all of our baccalaureate programming,” Dieter stated. “The Board of Regents and the University Of South Dakota Department Of Nursing are responding to the state and national need for increased access to advanced degrees in nursing as well as providing convenient delivery methods to ensure students are well-educated and prepared for increasingly complex healthcare needs. Offering the four- year baccalaureate in nursing at USD provides another pathway for students to obtain education in nursing.”

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

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