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BW adds four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing major

Building on its leadership role in addressing critical health care needs across Northeast Ohio and the state, Baldwin Wallace University is introducing a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for undergraduate students that will begin August 2021.

The new nursing program builds on the success of BW's accredited* post-baccalaureate, 15-month accelerated BSN program (ABSN), which boasts near-perfect first-time passage rates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and alumni job placement since its inception in 2012.

Rigorous Coursework, Mentoring Faculty

Baldwin Wallace Nursing Student at ClinicalsAccording to Dr. Betty Napoleon, chair of BW's Department of Nursing, the new program will include the same courses, labs and clinical experiences as the ABSN, but with the added enrichment of BW's core curriculum.

"The ABSN program is highly successful for students who have already earned a bachelor's degree and want to make a career change into nursing," noted Napoleon. "We are confident that our new nursing program will equally address the career interests of a different group of participants - that is, students who are interested in becoming a registered nurse with a BSN credential and no prior bachelor's degree.

"Professors in both programs are registered nurses with diverse certifications and experiences in specialty areas, management roles and health care settings. They bring decades of real-world knowledge and experience to the classroom. They work closely with students to help them understand and synthesize coursework and clinicals. The material is rigorous, but they're with students every step of the way as educators and mentors," she explained.

Similar to the ABSN, the nursing curriculum of the new program follows an approach called concept-based learning. Napoleon believes this method offers students a deep and integrated understanding of nursing concepts that benefits them both in the classroom as well as when they take the required NCLEX-RN exam.

Connecting to Cleveland's Health Care Hub

Baldwin Wallace nursing photo with Dr. Betty Napoleon

Napoleon went on to say that BW's four-year nursing students begin the program with prerequisite coursework before starting nursing courses and clinical rotations in their second year.

"In Northeast Ohio, we are fortunate to have nationally recognized research hospitals and medical centers, clinics, sports medicine facilities, and government and community organizations," she emphasized. "For BW nursing students, this means their clinical experiences and employment opportunities are stellar."

BW's outstanding reputation and network of health care affiliates include Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth System, Southwest General Health Center, St. John Medical Center, Akron General Medical Center and Akron Children's Hospital.

COVID-19 Brings Nursing to the Forefront

"BW nursing programs meet a critical need in the community. There is a shortage of nurses across the U.S.," stated Napoleon. "COVID-19 brought to the public eye the essential role of nurses. Their expertise extends beyond being knowledgeable caregivers whose compassion can ease patient anxiety. They are truly a lifeline to their patients, to professional medical staff and to the organizations for which they work because of the leadership, critical thinking and communication skills they use that unite all three areas.

exterior photo of Baldwin Wallace's new health sciences building"BW BSN graduates are in high demand by employers," explained Napoleon. "They know we prepare our students for their first job as well as for career advancement. But equally important, we prepare them for a rewarding, fulfilling career in a profession that is constantly evolving, complex and people-centered."

BW's flourishing role in health sciences has led to the need for expanded space. BW will be unveiling a newly renovated 25,000 square-foot building dedicated to its nursing and physician assistant programs. It will include classrooms, labs and offices with state-of-the-art equipment and open spaces where students can learn, study and socialize.

People's Pick as a Top-Ranked Profession

According to a Gallop poll, Americans have ranked nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics for 18 straight years. In honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth, the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the "International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife." Locally, BW is participating in the Northeast Ohio Year of the Nurse celebration and recognition.

"Nursing has been my life's work. I've changed roles, settings and responsibilities. But what never changed is my commitment to the nursing oath I took. I try to honor it every day and to share its important message to the next generation of nurses," she said with genuine affirmation and reflection.

*Baldwin Wallace's bachelor of science in nursing program is fully approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at Baldwin Wallace University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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