Trustees authorize four-year nursing program at TCC

Tallahassee Community College’s district board of trustees authorized a proposal for adding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree as a new program Tuesday.

This would be the first four-year degree offered at TCC.

TCC’s trustees authorized a proposal for the measure after a 5-1 vote. Registered nurses with an associate’s degree would have the opportunity to earn a B.S. in nursing

Local, state and national trends show a demand for more nurses with baccalaureate degrees. Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare indicated its need for 80 percent of its nursing staff to be baccalaureate.

Brittany Crumbly, a senior nursing student at Florida State University and extern at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital from Jacksonville, said the program would provide a new opportunity to train future medical professionals and help save more lives of citizens.

“It would be a great opportunity for community college nursing students to get ahead in the nursing field,” Crumbly said. “Hospitals usually prefer nurses with a B.S.N. or will only hire nurses with a B.S.N.”

Crumbly also said more two-year colleges need to offer four-year degrees because not everyone is fortunate to be able to go off to a different school and receive a higher degree because of financial issues.

TCC communicated with health care providers, local universities, community members, nursing students at other universities and its students to gain feedback on what adding the new degree would mean.

If the proposal is approved, the nursing program would be offered primarily at night Monday through Friday and on weekends. It would also offer some online components to accommodate the schedules of working nurses looking to earn a higher degree.

Joseph Etienne, a graduating Florida A&M senior nursing student from Miami, said the new degree would help people get jobs in our country, which is recovering from a recession. He added that it might increase enrollment at the community college.

“Jobs are requiring people to have more credentials than just a high school diploma,” Etienne said. “TCC is giving people an opportunity to make more money in a growing field. The health field will always need health care officials.”

Etienne said nursing is a career that will always be in demand for many years because people are constantly getting injured and need medical attention quickly.

TCC Provost Barbara Sloan said because of a long, multistep process, the program will not be offered until at least 2015.

“This is going to take time and careful planning to get the program off the ground,” Sloan said.
Approval must be granted from the Florida College System and its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. If approved, TCC will become the 25th of 28 schools in Florida to add a bachelor’s program of nursing to its list of programs along with FAMU and FSU.