Featured Photo: Blue Ridge Community College nursing students Carlei Stepp (left) and Elizabeth Daves (right) take part in an in-class activity on Sept. 22, 2023, at the Health Sciences Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. (Photo by: Benjamin Rickert)
Marketing & Communications Dept.
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. – As part of its strategy to meet critical workforce needs and educate the next generation of healthcare professionals, Blue Ridge Community College will begin accepting applications for its popular Associate Degree Nursing program and the new Practical Nursing program starting October 1.
The early application period for the Fall 2024 (August) nursing cohort runs Oct. 1 through Feb. 1, and application information can be found at www.blueridge.edu/nursing. Students can apply for the Spring 2024 (January) Practical Nursing cohort from Oct. 1 through Nov. 17 at www.blueridge.edu/practical-nursing. Scholarships and tuition assistance are available.
“The need for qualified healthcare professionals today is extraordinary, and the need continues to increase,” explained Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood. “This is why we’re preparing now, serving on the front line alongside our healthcare partners to build a workforce pipeline of nurses who will help to meet the demands of our local and regional facilities. These are also the men and women who will inevitably care for our loved ones in their greatest times of need.”
By 2033, North Carolina faces an estimated shortage of nearly 12,500 registered nurses and more than 5,000 licensed practical nurses, reports the Program on Health Workforce Research and Policy at the Cecil G Sheps Center. Furthermore, North Carolina hospital demand is forecasted to exceed supply by 10,000 registered nurses by 2033; and care facilities will experience a 50% shortage of licensed practical nurses.
“For an aspiring healthcare worker, there has perhaps never been a better time than now to pursue an education,” Leatherwood added.
Associate Degree Nursing (ADN)
Blue Ridge’s five-semester Associate Degree Nursing program serves 74 students each year, equipping them with the essential knowledge, skills and strategies of the nursing profession. Graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), which is required for practice as a registered nurse in numerous health care settings, such as hospitals, medical clinics, home care environments and long-term care facilities. At Blue Ridge, nursing students learn from highly qualified faculty in state-of-the-art simulation labs at the College’s Health Science Center in Hendersonville or the Transylvania County Campus in Brevard.
In July, Blue Ridge Community College announced an impressive 100% pass rate of the NCLEX-RN exam by the most recent nursing cohort. The achievement underscored the excellent preparation students received through the program. Furthermore, Blue Ridge’s nursing program is in the final stages of earning national accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing with results expected in May.
Practical Nursing (PN)
Blue Ridge announces the new one-year, Practical Nursing program following unanimous approval by the North Carolina Board of Nursing on Sept. 21. Starting in January 2024, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the three semester program will provide a faster point of entry into the nursing profession for up to 30 students.
Blue Ridge’s Practical Nursing curriculum provides students with the knowledge and skills to integrate safety and quality into nursing care to meet the needs of the holistic individual, impacting health, quality of life, and achievement of potential. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in hospitals; rehabilitation, long-term care and home health facilities; clinics and provider offices.
“Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses play a crucial role in healthcare, making a profoundly positive impact on patient care, health outcomes and the overall well-being of individuals and communities,” said Blue Ridge Community College Dean of Health Sciences Leigh Angel, MSN, RN. “Their dedication, expertise and compassionate care contribute significantly to improving the quality of healthcare services and ensuring that patients receive the attention and support they need to achieve better health.”
Space will be limited in both the ADN and PN programs, and qualified applicants will be considered on a first-come first-served basis. Program information and admission criteria are available at www.blueridge.edu/nursing and www.blueridge.edu/practical-nursing, or by calling the College’s admissions office at 828-694-1800. Information about all of Blue Ridge’s healthcare programs is available at www.blueridge.edu/healthcare.