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LSUA to Offer BSN Degree

Released: 09/15/2008

LSU at Alexandria will offer a bachelor of science in nursing degree to complement its nursing associate degree program, announced Dr. David Manuel, chancellor. The four-year nursing degree, which starts this fall, was approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents and the LSU Board of Supervisors.

At a news conference Monday, Manuel said the BSN degree supports the university’s mission of serving Central Louisiana’s educational and workforce needs. “There is a significant demand for nurses with baccalaureate degrees in this area, and the academic administration and nursing faculty are commended for meeting the considerable requirements of this new degree,” Manuel said. “This is a major and long-sought addition to LSUA.”

Dr. Tom Armstrong, who spearheaded the BSN effort as vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, said there is keen interest among licensed nurses and students entering the field to pursue the four-year degree. “This is a banner day for LSUA which would not be celebrated without the support of Rapides Regional Medical Center and CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital,” Armstrong said. “Simply put, the partnership that exists between the hospitals and the university is critical to the creation of the BSN degree.”

Armstrong said a BSN degree enhances supervisory and management opportunities, prepares students for graduate school, and positions them to become a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist or teach at a school of nursing.

Stephen Wright, chief executive officer of Cabrini Hospital, and Karen Hathorn, director of Rapides Health and Lifestyle Center, confirmed the need for and desirability of nurses with BSN degrees. Both said their hospitals will continue to work closely with LSUA to develop a larger workforce of nurses.

The degree has been three years in the making, and it required the university to hire additional nursing faculty with doctoral degrees and expand course offerings. The BSN degree for most students will require 50-60 hours of college course work beyond the associate degree requirements, the majority of which will be in advanced nursing classes. Dr. Robbie Dugas, newly appointed assistant professor of nursing, coordinates the RN-to-BSN program.

Dr. Dorothy Lary, chair of the Department of Nursing, said LSUA will continue to offer an associate degree of nursing. “Our history in nursing is a long and excellent one,” she said, “and we will maintain what has been a cornerstone of the university. We’re very proud of our licensing test scores and the demand for LSUA-educated nurses. The new degree strengthens the nursing department at all levels.”

More than half of the graduates in the 48-year history of LSUA have nursing degrees.