Preparing future nurses
If you've ever imagined yourself in the fast-paced world of emergency room care, pictured yourself as a pediatric nurse, or have dreams of becoming a nurse anesthetist, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at LaGrange College might be the perfect fit for you.
As the need for nurses in the health-care profession remains strong, Dr. Maranah Sauter and fellow nursing faculty are intensely preparing students for the inherent demands of the high-stakes career through the BSN program.
"It's a challenging curriculum, and it has to be, when you think about what we're preparing folks to do," says Dr. Sauter, Professor and Chair of the Division of Professional Programs. "They're going to go out there and be responsible for people's lives."
While some might choose a two-year associate's degree program at other institutions to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN), Dr. Sauter said earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing has clear advantages.
"The BSN is very distinctive when you compare it to the associate degree in nursing," she says. "Rather than being only technically focused, it is based on a liberal arts core curriculum and prepares nurses to function in leadership and management roles. If you are looking for a lifelong career in nursing, one where you would move on and advance perhaps into a role of leadership or management or be involved in research, definitely the BSN would prepare you for that."
Earning a BSN also allows students to go on to earn a master's degree in nursing or to become a nurse anesthetist, options that many LaGrange College BSN graduates take. Others go on to work in intensive care units, emergency rooms, coronary care, dialysis, flight nursing and community health.
Students enter the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program their junior year after they have completed their two-year core curriculum requirements. LaGrange College partners with West Georgia Health and Fuller E. Callaway Foundation in a unique scholarship program that makes earning the nursing degree very affordable.
Through the George E. Sims Nursing Scholarship, select students receive free tuition, books and nursing uniforms when they enroll in LaGrange College's BSN program. In return, scholarship recipients agree to work at West Georgia Health for one to two years after they graduate, depending upon the duration of the scholarship.
The BSN program is known as one of the hardest academic programs on campus, but students say professors and fellow students give them a support system that is unsurpassed. Though it is rigorous, the BSN program is very "do-able," evident by the 100 percent pass rate students have earned the past three years on the National Council for Nursing Licensure Exam.
"Right now we have a senior class of 30 and a junior class of a little over 40 students, and six faculty," Dr. Sauter says. "We get to know our students very well, and it is truly like a family. Students support each other, and faculty support students. That's just one advantage of a program of our small size. We really get to know our students. Faculty have an open-door policy so students are in our offices whenever they need to be. They leave here feeling like this is their second home, their second family."