Bluefield College will launch the first classes in its Rural Healthcare Education Program (RHEP) in Grundy, Virginia, this spring, and the school will celebrate the new program start with a reception and information session, Tuesday, January 25 inside Grundy╒s Booth Center.
Originally scheduled in December, but postponed due to inclement weather, the RHEP reception and information session will take place in the Booth Center╒s Art Gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on January 25, during which time the college will celebrate the new program launch and share more about the bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) program.
Made possible through the generosity of Southwest Virginia Community College, who opened the doors to the Booth Center to Bluefield College, the reception and information session are open and free to prospective students, alumni, and community at-large.
With significant funding from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and regional foundations, Bluefield College created its Rural Healthcare Education Program a year ago with the purpose of creating additional higher education opportunities in healthcare for residents of southwest Virginia.
Designed to lead students to a bachelor’s degree in nursing, the Rural Healthcare initiative will be offered first in Grundy, Virginia, through the college’s inSPIRE Degree Completion Program, an accelerated higher education curriculum designed primarily for working adults.
“Local residents interested in enrolling or learning more about the BSN program are invited to attend the information session at the Booth Center,” said Ruth Wilson-Blankenship, a Grundy native and vice president for advancement at Bluefield College. “Area alumni and friends are also encouraged to attend to receive an update on the college and to learn how to get more involved with an area alumni chapter.”
The college currently offers baccalaureate degree opportunities in management, criminal justice, and behavioral science through its Degree Completion Program, but now, with the start of the Rural Healthcare agenda, BC will add the fourth degree program to its accelerated offerings — nursing. All four of the degree programs will be available to students in Grundy.
“This initiative is an opportunity to create a whole new accelerated degree completion program in nursing,” said Wilson-Blankenship, “and the bachelor’s degree in nursing is just part of our overall initiative to expand healthcare related programs in southwest Virginia — programs that are unique for the fact that they focus on rural and Appalachian culture.”
BC’s BSN program, Wilson-Blankenship noted, will address the shortage of registered nurses with four-year college degrees in southwest Virginia and create “a pathway for nursing for those who are place-bound by family and work commitments.” The program, she added, will offer current hospital employees in rural southwest Virginia the opportunity to advance their education and skills while continuing to maintain employment.
“Degree programs like this are critical to the nurses and healthcare workers in southwest Virginia to be able to expand and acquire new capabilities required for success,” Wilson-Blankenship said. “Our nursing program will be a flexible, accessible program, taught in an accelerated learning format in various communities across southwest Virginia, and I, personally, am excited about Grundy being chosen to serve as the inaugural location.”
For more information about Bluefield College’s Rural Healthcare Education Program and its degree completion major in nursing, visit the inSPIRE portion of BC’s web site, or contact Cathy Payne by email or by phone at 276-326-4233.