North Florida Community College Receives State Board of Education Approval for New Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

NFCC Receives State Board of Education Approval for BSN at September 2016 MeetingMADISON, FL – North Florida Community College is a step closer to offering its first baccalaureate degree. In September, the State Board of Education unanimously approved NFCC’s plans to begin a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“We are delighted about the Board of Education’s decision,” said NFCC President John Grosskopf. “It is a great accomplishment for the NFCC family and we look forward to taking the next steps that will allow us to offer this program, and its related benefits, to our students and community.”

The program, expected to begin in August 2017, will be open to 30 students who have already completed an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and hold a current RN license. The ADN-RN to BSN program will add another level to the seamless academic progression already offered by the NFCC Allied Health Department. Students can build their education or enter at various professional levels ranging from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to RN. With a bachelor's degree, NFCC graduates will be better prepared to take on positions of leadership and supervision. The higher level degree will also open doors to other career and educational pathways within the healthcare community and in NFCC’s service district. The College and its area healthcare partners see it as a great stride forward on many levels. 

“The partnership between NFCC’s nursing programs and community healthcare facilities is strong and has been very beneficial to area health care consumers and providers,” said Tammy Stevens, CEO of Madison County Memorial Hospital, who spoke in support of NFCC’s BSN program at the State Board of Education meeting in Tallahassee. “We need the baccalaureate prepared nurses; NFCC’s new BSN program will enhance the ability to address and expand training opportunities for our community residents while improving healthcare access. An NFCC ADN-RN to BSN program will provide district workers with a means of transitioning to administrative and leadership roles where the increase in responsibilities is accompanied by higher salaries.”

NFCC began the planning process to initiate an ADN-RN to BSN program in 2013, conducted surveys of NFCC ADN-RN graduates in 2014 to determine interest, and further conducted research and surveyed community leaders and healthcare facilities to determine the need for baccalaureate prepared nurses and a baccalaureate degree program. Surveys conveyed growing local demand for a BSN program. Of 22 district healthcare facilities surveyed, 76% (17 facilities) reported a need for baccalaureate prepared RNs in their facility; 76% (17 facilities) reported anticipating an increased need in the next five years for additional baccalaureate prepared RNs; and 82% (14 facilities) agencies stated they would prefer 50-100% of their RN staff to be baccalaureate prepared. In March 2015, with approval by the NFCC District Board of Trustees and community support, NFCC submitted its intent to pursue approval for bachelor’s degree in nursing to the Florida Department of Education.

Now with the State Board of Education’s approval, NFCC will continue to the next steps of accrediting the degree through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

“The State Board of Education’s approval is a great step toward an evolution and growth that will help us meet the needs of our district and area workforce,” said Grosskopf. “We greatly appreciate their support and applaud Florida College System Chancellor Madeline Pumariega and FCS leaders for championing our efforts to begin a baccalaureate program.”

NFCC has been training area nurses for more than 50 years. NFCC offered its first nursing related classes in 1961 with the start of an LPN program, began a Patient Care Technician program in 1985 and in 2006 held its first Registered Nursing classes. Offering additional education at the baccalaureate level will better prepare NFCC nursing graduates to fill the emerging and evolving roles in our community, meet today’s healthcare demands, and help improve patient care outcomes and services at area healthcare facilities in the NFCC service district.

For more information on NFCC Allied Health programs and the planned ADN-RN to BSN program, contact NFCC Allied Health Advisor Debbie Bass at 850-973-1662 or bassd@nfcc.edu or Julie Townsend, NFCC Director of Nursing and Allied Health-Rural Health Institute, at 850-973-9428 or townsendj@nfcc.edu.

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ABOVE PHOTO (l-r): NFCC President John Grosskopf, NFCC Dean of Academic Affairs Frances Adleburg, State Board of Education Committee Member Gary Chartrand, Madison County Memorial Hospital CEO Tammy Stevens, NFCC Director of Nursing and Allied Health Julie Townsend and Florida College System Chancellor Madeline Pumariega at the September 23, 2016 State Board of Education meeting in Tallahassee.