Cresson, Pa.—Beginning this fall, the School of Nursing at Mount Aloysius College will begin enrolling students into a new 3.5 year traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“We are very excited to be adding a unique accelerated pre-licensure BSN program to our cadre of nursing programs (2+2 ASN and RN-BSN).  This innovative 3.5 year program expedites the entrance of new nurses into the profession with a bachelor’s degree. The unique component to this program is that nursing course work is completed in 17 months,” said Julie Luetschwager, Ph.D., MSN, RN, dean of the School of Nursing.

Part of the underlying premise to the new program is to meet the goal to increase the number of nurses entering the workforce with a baccalaureate degree.  “With the accelerated nature of the nursing course work, this program is a great choice for students straight out of high school to individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. As a result, this program is intense, and you have to be ready to hit the ground running,” according to Dr. Luetschwager.

“Overall, we want our nurses to be evidence-based clinical decision makers, and we want to also ensure they are making strides in their professional behaviors, interactions within the profession of nursing, and within interdisciplinary teams so they continue to contribute to the community and the nursing profession.”

The Mount Aloysius campus features a high-tech simulation center as a part of the new Nursing Resource & Simulation Center (NRSC). The four-bed simulation nursing unit is located in the new addition to Pierce Hall. In the simulation center, students participate in experiential learning in a safe, structured environment. Using life-like CAE computerized mannequins and other simulation equipment, students learn nursing interventions to provide high quality, safe care for patients.

“The Mount Aloysius Nursing program – one of the best performing and largest in the Commonwealth – is recognized as a Nursing College of Distinction,” Dr. John Mills, Mount Aloysius College president, said. “Mount Aloysius has a proud tradition educating clinically excellent nurses for more than 50 years. Students excel due to a cadre of academically and clinically qualified faculty who are committed to helping you succeed, a strong resource support network, and a multi-million dollar Nursing Simulation Center where practice in a vast variety of clinical scenarios prepares students for clinical experiences.”

The population of the United States is rapidly aging and this group will use a higher percentage of healthcare moving forward. In addition, the opioid epidemic continues to be a major public health issue across the nation and particularly in our region. The landscape of nursing practice warranted an increase in the amount of content allocated to mental health, the drug abuse crisis, and care of the older adult population in the BSN program to strengthen graduates preparation for the practice environments they will face, while still educating them for generalist practice.

In line with an increased program focus on mental health/addictions and gerontology, new partnerships with area community and healthcare agencies will expand BSN students’ opportunity to work and promote health and wellness with vulnerable populations. One of those partnerships is with Pyramid Healthcare.  “We are very excited about the partnership between Pyramid Healthcare and Mount Aloysius, as well as the new pre-licensure BSN program.  We are confident that these developments will help Pyramid Healthcare improve the lives of those dealing with addiction,” said Kurt Geiger, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Pyramid Healthcare.

The new pre-licensure BSN program has been granted Initial Approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.