HOUSTON, Texas — The Texas Board of Nursing approved San Jacinto College's new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) program Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, clearing the way for the College to launch its first baccalaureate degree in fall 2020.
The program was previously approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
"We're excited to launch this new program and to be able to provide a vital next step for registered nurses with an associate degree working in the health care industry," said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. "San Jac has been a nursing educator for more than 50 years, and we're excited to expand our credentialing trajectory to help meet the needs of our local hospital partners and our health care graduates now looking to further their education."
Developed with input from a BSN advisory committee comprising area hospitals, San Jac's new program is designed for working registered nurses seeking professional growth, enhanced marketability, and opportunities to specialize in advanced practice.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, an estimated 44% of health care organizations require new nurses to hold a BSN degree, and nearly 80% of health care employers prefer BSN graduates.
"At San Jac, associate degree nursing is our launching pad, not our landing pad," said Dr. Veronica Jammer, San Jac's new RN-to-BSN department chair. "BSN is really the natural next step."
This next step has been nearly 10 years in the making, as San Jacinto College formed advisory committees and began planning the path to offer a baccalaureate program on the heels of a 2010 Institute of Medicine report, which highlighted necessary changes in the evolving health care industry and recommended 80% of RNs should hold BSN degrees by 2020.
The 2017 Texas Legislature also recognized the growing demand for nurses with higher credentials and authorized community colleges to offer workforce-related bachelor's degree programs, including BSN, which accelerated San Jac's efforts to help meet the workforce needs.
Dr. Rhonda Bell, Central Campus dean of health and natural sciences, said San Jacinto College has always listened and responded to area workforce needs, but the BSN team also designed the program to answer the call of busy RNs.
"We're nurses. We know how it is to juggle families, school, and work," Bell said. "From the very beginning, we made sure not to lose that vision. We want the nurses in this community to have the opportunity to return to school, but we also want the school to meet them where they are."
San Jac's BSN classes will cost the same low tuition rate as the College's other credit courses. The hybrid program will build on working RNs' experience through eight-week courses that combine in-person and distance learning. The program will concentrate on community health nursing, nursing research, public and global health policy, informatics, and leadership, and will culminate in a capstone project, requiring students to determine a community health need, collect data, and design a project to meet that need.
The application period for the first cohort will be March 16 to June 30, 2020.
For more information about San Jacinto College's new BSN program, visit sanjac.edu/bsn.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor's and Moody's. San Jacinto College is a 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10 institution, a 2017 Aspen Prize Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers eight areas of study that puts students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College's impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs.