By Marko Salopek
Colorado’s State legislature passed House Bill 18-1086 into law on March 24, allowing Colorado’s Community Colleges to offer a new Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing.
PPCC first announced it would offer its first Bachelor’s degree in EMT Management, roughly two months prior to the nursing bill passing. Now, the wizards at the Colorado Community College System have once again expanded the reach of what a community college can offer, by creating a second Bachelor degree offering.
The new BSN program should help to alleviate the statewide nursing shortage and keep up with future demand for nurses. A 2010 Institute of Medicine report called for 80 percent of US nurses to have a Bachelor’s degree by 2020.
According to PPCC’s Nursing Department Chair, Marilu Altop, the Institute of Medicine is looking at making the BSN the standard for entry into the nursing field.
“Based on a survey of students in the program and graduates, our students would love to stay with us and complete their BSN,” Vice President of Instruction Josh Baker said. “With the path to completing the BSN all laid out, there is no point where you have to decide where to go,” he added.
Nursing student Harley Francis confirmed Baker’s statement.
“As somebody who is already enrolled at UCCS for their BSN program, I would have preferred to have done it at Pikes Peak if that had been an option,” Francis said.
The BSN completion program offered by PPCC will differ from that offered by a four-year institution. Rather than a complete start-to-finish pipeline program, it will be a bridge program for Registered Nurses.
“Students cannot enroll directly into the BSN program,” Baker said. “They must have their Associate’s degree in Nursing and pass their Registered Nursing exam.”
To best serve students and make the program as accessible as possible, Baker said the program will primarily be online.
“The students who will be in this program will already be working in the nursing field,” Baker said.
The BSN program is expected to launch in just over a year.
“It is still very early in the planning phase,” Baker said, “The earliest we can do it would be fall of 2019.”
The prospect of receiving a BSN degree is only icing on the cake of PPCC’s already exceptional and robust nursing program. Registerednursing.org recently ranked PPCC as the best nursing program in Colorado for 2018.
Registerednursing.org compared the pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), the exam students must pass to receive their nursing licenses, for schools across the state over the last five years that offer Associate degree in Nursing, Bachelor’s of Science Nursing, and Masters of Science Nursing programs.
PPCC topped the charts with a score of 99.06.
“It reflects on our students and their success,” Altop said. “We are just a small part of it.”
PPCC’s nursing program is set apart from programs offered by competing institutions.
“The program at PPCC is more rigorous compared to other programs that my friends are in,” Francis said. “We require more clinical hours, more class time, and more assignments. They require more from us, which in the moment doesn’t feel like they are making us more successful, but long term and in our nursing career it does benefit us.”
The nursing program has a retention coordinator who identifies students who are struggling and helps them stay in school by assisting them with financial issues, coordinating transportation with fellow students, and connecting students with dedicated tutors.
Students with questions about the new BSN program should contact an advisor at email@example.com