Sentara To Offer a Baccalaureate Nursing Degree
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Sentara To Offer a Baccalaureate Nursing Degree 

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Introducing the Sentara College of Health Sciences

Chesapeake, Va. — July 21, 2009 — The Sentara School of Health Professions has received approval from its accrediting agency and the Virginia Board of Nursing to begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN). To better reflect the academic level, the school has also changed its name to the Sentara College of Health Sciences.

Even in this tough economic climate, nursing remains one of the fastest growing professions and this change is designed to keep pace with the professional needs of the healthcare industry. Offering a BSN degree reflects the direction of the nursing profession and the workplace demands for baccalaureate prepared nurses. Graduates will to be eligible to enter any graduate nursing program if they choose to further their career.

“Our goal as an organization has always been to meet the needs of the healthcare industry,” says Shelly Cohen, Director of the Sentara College of Health Sciences. “This addition of a BSN degree and our transition to a College are just some of the many ways we are meeting those needs.”

Sentara College of Health Sciences will be one of five programs in the area offering a baccalaureate degree program for nursing students. It will be the only program in the region directly affiliated with a health care system and the new curriculum, just like the current one, has been designed to offer the greatest amount of hands-on clinical experience, compared to any other program in the region.

Students wishing to apply for enrollment in the Sentara College of Health Sciences first BSN class can submit applications now. Sentara expects to graduate its first BSN class in May of 2012.

In addition to its BSN program, the Sentara College of Health Sciences will continue to offer diploma and certificate programs for a host of disciplines, including cardiovascular technology and surgical technology. As part of the Sentara integrated health care system, all students attending the College of Health Sciences gain clinical experience through the various acute care settings within the Sentara system. Many student experiences are provided at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the region’s only level I trauma center and major referral center for patient care.

“Our program began as a nursing school in 1892 to meet the staffing needs of our original hospital, Norfolk General Hospital,” explains Cohen. “But in the years since our founding and with the expansion of our system, we have evolved into an educational institution providing highly sought after nursing and allied health graduates.”

Sentara’s nursing program has always enjoyed an outstanding reputation for quality. In 2008, 90% of the graduates from the School of Nursing passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, commonly referred to as NCLEX. Among other similar programs, this places Sentara among the top two in the Commonwealth.

With an ever increasing role for technology in the health care setting, most nursing and allied health professionals entering the field today will need to have proficient technology skills to aid in the delivery of care. Sentara is in the midst of implementing the area’s most comprehensive electronic medical record system, Sentara eCare®. Clinical exposure for students of the Sentara College of Health Sciences will include working on this robust system as part of the care delivery process.

“It is not only important to teach the fundamental skills in the classroom, but we must ensure that we are preparing students to transition into the workplace of today,” adds Cohen. “Our clinical settings provide that opportunity and students graduate with hands on experience in some of the most state of the art facilities in the region today.”


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