Photo Credit: University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg received approval to add a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing to the 28 majors that it offers undergraduate students. The new four-year degree program is affiliated with the nationally and internationally recognized University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing and is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Pitt’s School of Nursing is consistently ranked among the top 10 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. This past year, the program received more than 1,800 applications for approximately 145 places. Pitt-Greensburg’s BSN will follow the same curriculum as the program in Oakland.
“Prospective students can apply now for admission to Pitt-Greensburg for fall 2017,” said J. Wesley Jamison, PhD, past vice president of Academic Affairs, who has worked with the Pitt School of Nursing to bring the program to fruition. “Twenty-five students will be selected for the first cohort, with the goal of 40 students per year in later cohorts.”
Pitt-Greensburg’s nursing program is designed to provide a strong foundation for professional practice in today’s health care environment. The BSN program will prepare students as generalists in nursing who are ready for clinical practice, as well as for continued professional development and graduate education. Graduates will qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for professional licensure as a registered nurse.
“We’re proud to bring the expertise of the School of Nursing to Pitt-Greensburg,” said Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. “We prepare our nurses with research, intellect, and passion, and our Greensburg nurses will continue in that tradition.”
The program will include clinical rotations over three years directed by nursing faculty and supervised on-site clinical preceptors. Settings for clinical experiences include three local acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a long-term care facility, and a hospice facility. Students will also gain experience in home health and other community organizations and services. The variety of settings helps prepare students to interact effectively with patients and other health care providers in a wide range of circumstances.
Three issues have propelled Pitt-Greensburg’s development of the BSN. First, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis is projecting an 18.4 percent increase in the number of jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania in the areas of health care and social assistance. Second, it is predicted that, by 2020, an additional 250,000 public health workers will be needed to address a national workforce shortage (“Medscape” 2/7/17). Third, by 2030, Pennsylvania is expected to place fourth in the nation in the percentage of its population that is 65 years of age or older, which will influence the supply and demand for health care workers (PA Health Care Association Long-Term Care Trends and Statistics).
“This growing nursing shortage is already hitting Westmoreland County with a vengeance,” said Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of Pitt-Greensburg. “We made a commitment to building the program nearly two years ago and have worked closely with the Pitt School of Nursing to put it in place.”
Smith, who also serves as chair of the Excela Health Board, understands first-hand the challenges facing the health care industry today. She also is aware of the increasing number of students who desire to pursue careers in health care, as evidenced by 48 percent of Pitt-Greensburg students who are majoring in the Natural Sciences.
“This new BSN program is the first of several health care majors that we are developing for our campus,” said Smith. “Two other majors, Health Sciences and Health Care Management, are being finalized that will provide additional options for careers in health care. We are also moving forward with plans to build a new science building and renovate our existing science facility.”