Bluefield, VA – Bluefield University has announced a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program to meet the growing demand for skilled nurses. The four-year nursing degree program prepares students for jobs as registered nurses and will begin in the 2021 fall semester. The first 25 accepted students will receive a $4,000 scholarship.
“Nursing is a life-long rewarding career that can be full of exciting and meaningful experiences,” said Dr. Jessica Sharp, professor and dean of the Bluefield University School of Nursing. “A career where you make a difference in the lives of those you encounter and care for. The commitment to a mission of compassionate care and serving those in need creates a family-oriented work environment where we care for one another.”
Created in 2010, BU’s School of Nursing is designed to meet the critical demand for nurses, both in the region and throughout the country. In 2011, the BU School of Nursing developed RN-BSN partnerships with regional community colleges to make the program more accessible to students seeking to serve or those already serving in health-related fields within their communities.
Dr. Sharp joined BU’s faculty in August 2014 as professor and dean of the Bluefield University School of Nursing. Beginning her nursing career in 1973, Dr. Sharp has served as a staff nurse, a nurse manager, and a professor at Bluefield State University and former Mountain State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marshall University, a master’s degree in nursing from Ohio State University, and a doctorate degree from George Mason University. She also holds a family nurse practitioner distinction from Marshall University and a certified nurse anesthetist certificate from former Mountain State University.
Shortly after joining BU, Dr. Sharp developed several master’s degree programs in nursing, which offer students the opportunity to concentrate in either a family nurse practitioner program or an education/leadership program. Under Dr. Sharp’s leadership, the School of Nursing has added a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate and a master’s degree in psychiatric mental health. Dr. Sharp was named the Bluefield University Distinguished Faculty Award winner for 2019-2020.
“Our nursing faculty is outstanding,” expressed Dr. Sharp. “All of our faculty are in practice and keep up with current healthcare trends.”
The School of Nursing is housed in the new $2.7 million third floor addition of the Science Center. The addition, completed in fall 2019, was in response to the university’s growing number of academic offerings in health sciences. The addition features a lyceum, simulation labs, classrooms, and office space.
“The mission of nursing and the University fit perfectly together with the nursing program,” shared Dr. Sharp. “Nurses are servant leaders, and nursing is not just a job for me. It is my passion.”
Industry and U.S. labor statistics show the nursing field remains one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. Registered nursing is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-26 employment projections, which projected the field to grow by more than 438,000 jobs over that 10-year period.
In March 2019, Bluefield University joined the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) family of schools. Through this partnership, Bluefield University will have access to the VCOM network of hospitals and partners. Nursing students will have access to VCOM facilities and medical mission trip opportunities. VCOM was founded by Mr. John Rocovich alongside his wife, Dr. Sue Ellen Rocovich, and others with the intent to bring the finest medical care and medical education to the southwest and southside regions of Virginia upon reviewing reports and statistics on the coming shortages in primary care in the region.
“Our students are able to go further in their student experience through our partnership with VCOM and the Appalachian School of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Sharp. “This family of schools provides exciting opportunities for advancing in their education and career fields.”
Read more about the VCOM family of schools here.
“Our four-year seated nursing program has been a strategic initiative planned for over the past five years,” said Dr. Marshall Flowers, vice president for academic affairs at Bluefield University. “With the completion of the new School of Nursing classrooms and simulation labs, the nursing program is ready to serve cohorts of nursing students and meet the growing need for nurses across the Appalachian region.”
The first 25 accepted students will receive a $4,000 scholarship, $1000 per year for four years in addition to other financial aid and institutional aid. For more information about the Bluefield University School of Nursing, visit http://bit.ly/BluefieldUniversitySchoolofNursing. Apply today at go.bluefield.edu/apply/.