Nursing at BC By Heather Paisley | February 15, 2011 | RSS Beginning in the 2011 fall semester, BC will offer a Degree Completion Program in Nursing. Dr. Robert Shippey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management at BC, will help start up the program. “The curriculum has already been written,” said Shippey. “We’re in the process of searching for a new director for the nursing program. As we get that person in place, we will take the next significant steps to get students ready for the program.” The program is coming to BC and the community to offer an opportunity for nurses to become better educated. “In our geographic area, there is a need for trained professionals,” said Shippey. “We live in an area where there are not adequate doctors, and particularly in some of the more outlining rural areas, there is a need for nurses to provide just the basic care. So the program we are offering is a program designed to help nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing to complete their academic studies and receive a bachelor of science degree in nursing.” The nursing program will have an emphasis on mental health, geriatrics (health care for the elderly), and women’s health. “When you think about it, the cause of poverty and drug abuse is high, so the mental therapy aspect is to help people deal with emotions that may lead to addictions or help people with mental issues that result from addictions,” said Shippey. Bluefield and Southwest Virginia are places of high poverty where sufficient health care and resources are slim. “In a poor area, typically women and children catch the bad end of that poverty, and they will be even more in poverty than the male counter parts, so they have even less adequate resources for health, and we’re trying to equip nurses with the needed skills to help them and the same for the elderly, who typically tend to be the poorest of the four,” said Shippey. The mission of BC‘s completion program is to serve the community by helping others and having a positive impact. “We want professionals who are not just trained to deal with physical symptoms, but help know what the community resources are, so that when a person comes in with an issue, an illness or whatever, they are not just treating that illness, but they’re also putting that individual in touch with other resources that will help provide them with adequate food, shelter, and protections in those places where they may or may not be physical abused,” said Shippey. BC is starting the program in the southern part of Tazewell County at Southwest Virginia Community College and at the Booth Center in Grundy, Va. Two people have already been admitted to the program that will be offered at the Grundy site. “Southwest Virginia Community College is a vital partner with us in this program,” said Shippey. “Many of the people that come out of Southwest Community College have their associate degree, and we are in the process of creating agreements with them that will allow us to use classroom and office space there. We think that will be a natural feeder for the program.” Significant research indicates there will be a need in the community to educate the work force, which this program will do, he said. “In Virginia, there are only 20 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing and only one of those is physically located in Southwest Virginia,” Shippey said. “We think there is a need for additional educational institutes to offer the nursing program.” In 2008, he said there was a survey of 531 students enrolled in R.N. programs in Southwest Virginia with a 74% response rate or 392 responses. 96% of respondents said that they would definitely be interested in a BSN degree.