As the nation’s baby-boom generation continues to age and its needs for health care increase, the demand for qualified nurses also continues to increase.

One local college now has a program to train skilled and educated nurses for the workforce in three years, instead of the typical four years. Beckfield College offers an accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing at its Florence campus at 16 Spiral Drive.

“The bachelor of science in nursing program at Beckfield College is an accelerated three-year program that enables our students to get out of the classroom and into a nursing career a full year earlier,” says Diane Wolfer, Beckfield College CEO, CFO and president.

Highlights of the program, which started in 2017, include no pre-nursing classes requirements and no wait lists for nursing classes or clinicals. And that sets Beckfield apart from many local nursing programs, Wolfer says.

“Students are able to complete this accelerated course of study in a shorter time frame because Beckfield’s classes are focused on teaching students exactly what they need to know to become quality nurses, without excess general education courses,” says Wolfer.

And that makes Beckfield College’s accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing program even better than most public or private universities because they are career focused, Wolfer says. “Our students can concentrate on the course of study necessary to begin their careers without having to take excess general education classes,” Wolfer says.

School officials plan to seek accreditation for the accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing program later this year by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, an autonomous accrediting agency contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs in nursing.

Although Beckfield College’s accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing program can get a student from the classroom to the workplace in three years, the college offers another program for those students who are already registered nurses.

Beckfield College offers a registered nurse to bachelor of science degree in nursing at a reduced tuition. And registered nurses can complete that program in just 18 months, Wolfer says.

“Beckfield College is committed to making our programs accessible to all students,” says Wolfer. “This online RN to BSN program can be completed in only 18 months for tuition at just $2,000 per term.”

The job outlook for nurses is positive, especially nurses with a bachelor’s degree. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations. That job growth is driven by an increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for health care services from the baby-boom population as they live longer and more active lives, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Not only is the job market for nurses booming, but the pay a nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing can expect is equally impressive. The median annual wage for registered nurses was $68,450 in May 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wolfer says the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for a registered nurse in Kentucky at $57,000, while the median salary for a registered nurse in Ohio is $61,000. By earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree students are able to unlock additional job opportunities.

“Having a [bachelor of science in nursing] degree opens other career opportunities, including nursing management,” says Wolfer. In addition, the nation’s Magnet hospitals, which are recognized for nursing excellence and superior patient outcomes, have moved to require all nurse managers and nurse leaders to hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing, Wolfer says.

Those institutions applying for Magnet designation must show what plans are in place to achieve the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation of having an 80 percent baccalaureate prepared workforce by 2020, says Wolfer.

A bachelor of science degree in nursing is not only important for graduates to achieve greater success in life, it’s also important for the patients under their care. “Nurses with advanced nursing degrees have been shown to help patients have better outcomes,” says Wolfer. “This advanced training helps them become better prepared in an increasingly complex health care system.”

Once a student graduates, Beckfield College helps them find a job. “Beckfield College provides help on the job search with resume development and critiquing, professional development training, interview coaching, personalized career planning sessions and on-campus hiring fairs and career days,” says Wolfer.

Dr. Harry L. Beck started Beckfield College in 1984 under the name Educational Services Center. The school started with two students, two programs and one location, according to the college’s website.

Beckfield College now has more than 1,000 graduates, educational offerings at two on-campus locations, online delivery and several different programs with various levels that meet today’s professional needs, according to the school’s website.

For more information about Beckfield College go to beckfield.edu.



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