WKU School of Nursing to Transition Away From Traditional Associate Degree in Nursing Program
Bowling Green, Kentucky – March 14, 2016 – Over the next three years, the School of Nursing, in The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) at Western Kentucky University (WKU), will transition away from the traditional Associate of Science in Nursing Program (ASN) and increase students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to meet the workforce need for more BSN nurses. Admissions into the online Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to ASN program, currently one of only two in the state, will continue.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine published a comprehensive plan for Nursing and Nursing Education in the U.S., commonly known as the Future of Nursing report. One of the key goals was to increase the proportion of registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees to 80 percent by the year 2020. Because of this change, BSN nurses are currently in high demand by local employers and across the U.S. WKU wants to meet this workforce need by accommodating as many people as possible in its BSN program.
“We have continued strong student demand for the BSN program, with 80 students being admitted to the program every semester, and with steadily increasing size and strength of our applicant pool,” Dr. Mary Bennett, Director of the WKU School of Nursing, said. “We expect continued strong demand for this program, with 496 students currently enrolled in the pre-BSN program, seeking to obtain a seat. We would like to be able to admit every qualified student to the BSN program, so we will transfer resources from the ASN program to enlarge the BSN program.”
The last class of traditional ASN students will be admitted into the program in January 2017. These students will progress through the program and complete their degrees in May 2019. Students still seeking entry into the WKU ASN program after the last admission cycle will be able to transition to either the WKU BSN program, or seek entry into one of the remaining ASN programs in Kentucky. As the traditional ASN program changes, the BSN program will increase enrollment by accepting up to 60 additional qualified students per semester to meet employer and student demands for the BSN degree. The WKU LPN to ASN online program, a novel program that is funded by the WKU Division of Learning and Outreach (DELO), will remain open while the College of Health and Human Services assesses the enrollment potential of this online program.
“CHHS and The School of Nursing continue to prepare our students to be human change agents by promoting a higher quality of life and providing cutting-edge, financially valuable programs to serve our constituents,” Dr. Bennett said. “Transitioning away from the traditional ASN program will allow for growth in our competitive and prestigious BSN program and will fulfill the needs of both the community and our students, while contributing to the Institute of Medicine target goal of increasing the proportion of registered nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.”
Stacey Forsythe, Assistant to the Dean, CHHS