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Southern University System approves SUNO nursing program

29th September 2014   ·   0 Comments

The Southern University System Board of Supervisors has approved Southern University at New Orleans’ Letter of Intent to develop a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN). The new program would contribute to the state’s workforce development in nursing, which is needed to fill the demand created by the construction of the Veterans Affairs Hospital, the University Medical Center and the New Orleans East Hospital, in addition to the national nursing shortage.

If approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents, the new nursing program would combine conventional training methods with hands-on, application-based laboratory experience. Some graduates of the program would join the healthcare workforce while others would pursue advanced degrees in various healthcare fields.

According to a recent article in The Times-Picayune, New Orleans could become a major center for the healthcare industry, but the vision might not materialize if the city does not have a sufficiently trained and available workforce.

SUNO administrators believe the new nursing program would help to address that need in the industry.

“The BSN program would complement SUNO’s successful biology, mathematics and forensic science programs. Our students have been requesting a nursing program for some time,” Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said last week. “In addition, the employment opportunities for BSN graduates would be endless. Even without the city’s three new hospitals, there are ample job opportunities in the state.”

In a letter of support for the program, Charlotte M. Parent, the director of health for the City Of New Orleans, said her department will support all the proposed nursing program activities as well as offer academic and summer research internship opportunities to students. “Southern University at New Orleans is offering excellent opportunities in STEM fields and we are confident they will excel in the proposed nursing program, which is one of the needed programs to the serve the community,” she wrote.

Mario J. Garner, the president and chief executive officer of New Orleans East Hospital, also supports the program. “Preparing bachelor-trained registered nurses is important to enhance the delivery of healthcare for a community,” he wrote. “I look forward to a continuous collaboration with the department’s administrators and faculty.”

This article originally published in the September 29, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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