The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s efforts to respond to our region’s healthcare needs received a major boost with the approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing to begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The campus will enroll its first cohort of nursing students this fall, with admission beginning immediately.
In announcing the new program, Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar offered, “This monumental accomplishment positions Pitt-Johnstown to deliver a high-quality nursing program that responds to pressing healthcare needs in our community, and beyond. This great new chapter in our campus history would not have been possible without the support of our friends in the community, for which we are profoundly grateful.”
It is widely recognized that the Commonwealth is experiencing a shortage of workers in the healthcare area and that such a shortage is expected to intensify. The new BSN degree will enable Pitt-Johnstown to meet that need while strengthening the healthcare workforce in our region.
The BSN degree will be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, ranked seventh overall in the 2008 US News & World Report’s rankings of America’s Best Graduate Schools. Additionally, the School of Nursing ranks fifth, nationally, in receiving National Institute of Health research dollars. The program will build upon the School of Nursing’s solid quality while offering the benefits of a smaller campus, and will include a unique capstone that focuses on rural health issues. The strong quality of the program is reflected in a 95% BSN Licensure (National Council Licensure Examination) pass rate.
The Pitt-Johnstown program will combine clinical practice with traditional nursing theory and values that emphasize holistic patient care. Students in the program will develop a strong theoretical base of biological and behavioral sciences with a foundation in the liberal arts, providing them with the skills and experience necessary for careers in today’s nursing profession. The new BSN will be administered through the Division of Nursing and Health Sciences, which is led by Chairperson Dr. Janet Grady.
President Spectar added, “This program leverages the University of Pittsburgh’s outstanding national reputation for excellence in health education and makes this distinctive Pitt quality education available for our people locally. We are especially grateful to our colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, particularly in the School of Nursing, for their unwavering support of this initiative.”
Plans are underway to begin construction of 20,000 sq. ft. Nursing and Health Sciences Building to feature classrooms, state-of-the-art laboratories, and offices. The project received $4 million from Governor Edward G. Rendell as part of the Commonwealth’s “Put Pennsylvania to Work” initiative.
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by U.S.News & World Report as a “Best Baccalaureate College” (2010), by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College” (2010), and by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School.” Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Additional Background Information:
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and American Nurses Association (ANA) recognize the four-year Bachelor of Science degree in nursing as the critical first step for a career in professional nursing. The AACN also reports that “the BSN nurse is the only basic nursing graduate preferred to practice in all health care settings, and thus has the greatest employment flexibility of any entry-level RN.” In addition to critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills, the BSN curriculum includes components such as community health nursing, research, informatics, and genetics, which are not typically included in diploma or associate-degree programs.
A report by the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice recognized the advantages of baccalaureate nursing programs by reporting that bachelor’s-level nurses are well prepared for practice not only as bedside nurses, but also in areas including home health agencies, outpatient centers, and neighborhood clinics. This is especially critical as hospitals focus more on acute-care, and health services organizations expand to more primary and preventive care roles in the community.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for nurses will grow faster than most other occupations through 2014. The AACN reports that employers will be seeking nurses prepared at the bachelor’s and graduate degree levels because of their ability to deliver higher level care and to provide other needed services including case management, health promotion, and disease prevention.
Additional information on Nursing at Pitt-Johnstown.