Eastern to add 4-year nursing program

Corryn Brock, News Editor

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Eastern’s Provost Jay Gatrell announced a new four-year nursing degree program at a Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The program currently offered is an RN to BSN program where students who are registered nurses coming from another school can come to Eastern and earn their Bachelor’s of Science in a Nursing degree.

Ozlem Ersin, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, said the new program would be an opportunity for students who prefer to spend four years at the same institution.

“There are multiple educational pathways to becoming a Registered Nurse, including two plus two programs—traditional programs like the one we are developing, and accelerated ones,” Ersin said. “Each is the right choice for the right student.”

Ersin said the new program would provide the same results as the two plus two program currently in place with Lakeview Nursing.

“Two plus two still equals four, right? The learning outcomes will be similar, but for the student who chooses to go to a four-year institution, the experience will be more seamless,” Ersin said. “(Students in the program) can have an EIU identity from day one, as freshmen all the way through to when they graduate.”

There is hope that adding this new program will increase enrollment on campus.

Gatrell said Eastern expects a total of 175 to 180 students to be in the program each year and to graduate 60 to 70 students each year.

Currently no new facilities will be needed for the program, but there is a possibility of renovations.

“At this time, we are exploring the possibility of renovating as needed existing space on campus to facilitate a new simulation lab,” Gatrell said. “Additionally, Dean Ersin and the CHHS faculty are exploring ways to advance inter-professional education opportunities across the health and human services professions, so any space planning would need to include a dialogue about program growth and new opportunities for students at the undergraduate and graduate level.”

Gatrell and Ersin said there have been many inquiries about a four-year nursing program from potential students, but Eastern has never offered a program like that.

“Nursing has long been a program that prospective students have inquired about, so this new program will meet the needs of our students from across the state and closer to home in east-central Illinois,” Gatrell said. “Additionally, as we expand our programs I am confident more students from around the state will learn about EIU and our many outstanding programs across all four academic colleges.  So this is a win-win for the entire university as it will enhance enrollment across the campus and benefit all programs.”

So far the timeline for the program is unknown.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].