Francis Marion University’s (FMU) satellite campus, in the community Mount Pleasant of Charleston, SC, has begun fall classes for the first time ever; specifically for registered nurses (RNs) seeking a Bachelor of science degree (BSN).
The campus is not a large, stand-alone operation but is actually housed within a building at Trident Technical College (TTC). Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price, department chair and professor of nursing, believes the satellite campus has the potential to grow and become a vital component for nursing students in the low-country.
“TTC has be very welcoming and the program is going very well…and we may have possibilities in the future for collaborations with the College of Charleston, and expand within the area,” Wittmann-Price said.
As of right now, there are approximately ten students enrolled at the campus but that number is subject to change due to the initial drop/add period, Wittmann-Price explained.
Courses are held Monday night of each week at the satellite site and students are given the opportunity to have one-on-one time with nursing professionals.
Although the campus is housed within another college, students may transfer pre-requisite courses from traditional colleges and graduates of the program will receive a Bachelor’s degree from FMU itself.
The program itself has undergone several changes and has actually grown significantly over the last few years, Wittmann-Price said. Previously, students were required to take 36 credit hours; however, the department changed the requirement to 30 credit hours. The degree can also be earned through a combination of in-class experience at the Mount Pleasant campus, as well as online course work.
“Students can get their BSN in just 11 months, which is one of the shorter nursing programs in the state,” Wittmann-Price said. “And we’ve packaged it at a really nice, competitive price so it’s less expensive that most programs in that area.”
Wittmann-Price said that the FMU nursing department has held classes in other cities in the region before, such as Marion and Lake City, as well as local hospitals. While those course were successful, they served as introductory and a hybrid of online and live-teaching lectures; for the time being, the campus location in Mount Pleasant is here to stay.
“We feel like the Mount Pleasant location is going to grow,” Wittmann-Price said. “We have some excellent faculty members down there and as the word spreads that it’s a great program I think it will stay for a good while.”
Another notable component of the RN to BSN track is the option for active-duty military and military veterans. The department is screening all applicants for veteran status and applying money from a $492,221 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Resources and Services Administration (HSRA) that the university received this summer. This program allows veterans to more easily transition into the nursing program and actually utilize some of the skills they learned while in the military.
The efforts of the nursing department are aimed at strengthening the profession across the state, and specifically in the Pee Dee and low country regions. For more information about the HSRA veteran’s grant program con tact Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price at email@example.com.