CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois Healthcare today (SIH) announced steadfast support for efforts to create a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program on the campus of Southern Illinois University -- Carbondale next fall. The SIU-C Faculty Senate passed a unanimous resolution in support of the measure Tuesday. It now moves to Interim SIU President Kevin Dorsey for consideration.
"This is for the greater good of Southern Illinois as a whole. It will give students an important option to continue their education while SIH and SIU work together to develop strategic programs in clinical nursing care," said SIH President and CEO Rex Budde. "It also better aligns relationships with the region's community colleges for nursing students in pursuit of a BSN in a cost-effective manner."
A national nursing shortage has led to significant demand and competition for nurses, especially those with advanced degrees and certifications. At the same time, demand for nurses has grown as more advanced care is offered locally.
"Having a local four-year program fills a vital need and an option to 'grow our own', not just for SIH, but also for hospitals and health care providers across the region," Budde added.
"The new program would provide an opportunity for area high school graduates to earn their BSN without traveling away from home and create a positive impact on the supply of qualified registered nurses in the region. The proposed curriculum is aligned with the needs of our patients and will aid in preparing new registered nurses for future employment opportunities," said SIH Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Julie Firman.
"We understand our futures are linked. The success of Southern Illinois is driven by the success of SIU. We need to work together to make the university as successful as possible," Budde said.
SIU spokeswoman Rae Morrow Goldsmith released a resolution from the Undergraduate Education Policy Committee recommending approval of the new unit of instruction (NUI) to add a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the School of Allied Health.
The resolution states that the School of Allied Health seeks the degree program to meet the nursing needs of health care institutions in the Southern Illinois region, state and Midwest area; that it (the program) will increase enrollment by an estimated 300 students within four years by offering three different tracks; that the employment outlook for nursing grads is high; that the program affects no existing faculty lines; that the program has received strong faculty and Faculty Senate support; and that SIH strongly supports the efforts to establish the program and has committed $750,000 for years 1-3.
• Editor John Homan contributed to this report.