Dr. Bridgett Sellars
Winston-Salem State University is launching a self-paced program for registered nurses who are ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The competency-based education program, which is completely online, will launch in January with a pilot of five students. The program is the first RN-BSN competency-based education program offered at a North Carolina-based university. Applications were accepted through mid-October for the initial cohort.
“This exciting program allows nurses to study at their own pace,” said Peggy Valentine, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Winston Salem State. “An ambitious student could potentially complete the program in less than a year. It is a win-win for the university, hospital systems and health providers across the state.”
Valentine said the CBE program will help WSSU address the nationwide shortage of baccalaureate-trained nurses. A landmark study by the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation purports that by 2020 at least 80 percent of nurses should be prepared at the baccalaureate level. As hospitals across the nation seek magnet certification and recertification, the BSN degree is becoming the minimum degree requirement for many magnet hospitals in the state.
According to the N.C. Board of Nursing, only about 35 percent of North Carolina’s 106,000 licensed nurses have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. With the addition of the CBE program, WSSU now provides the most comprehensive RN-BSN program in North Carolina, said Dr. Bridgett Sellars, director of WSSU’s RN to BSN Program. WSSU ranks as the largest producer of BSNs for African Americans in North Carolina, and the third-largest in North Carolina overall. In 2016, WSSU nursing graduates also well exceed state and national first-time pass rate averages on the licensure exam, at 94 percent.
Sellars said WSSU plans to grow the program to up to 100 students this summer.
“WSSU is bringing this unique offering as the first nursing program based in North Carolina,” Sellars said. “No other nursing program based in North Carolina offers an individualized program that progresses as the student is able to complete clinical competencies. WSSU will continue to deliver a quality education experience with faculty members and advisors available here on campus and at our partner sites across North Carolina. We are well positioned to partner with healthcare providers in supporting their goals of increasing the number of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level.”