This week President of the Delaware Technical Community College Mark Brainard came before the Joint Financial Committee requesting budget resources to refurbish decrepitated buildings on campus needed to house the school’s first bachelor degree in nursing program.
Although most community colleges like Delaware Tech only offer two-year associate degrees in nursing, Brainard claimed the school’s decision to open a bachelor’s degree option came from a growing demand for BSN-educated nurses. Brainard backed up his claim by citing the following demand factors:
- Delaware hospitals are now reaching “Magnet” status. In order to become a Magnet hospital, the facility must show proof it is taking steps to met the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendation that 80% of the RNs on staff hold bachelor’s degrees by 2020.
- Local employers are showing preferential hiring practices that favor BSN-educated nurses.
- More students are pursing nursing degrees. The number of nursing students in Delaware rose from 354 in 2003 to 833 by 2016.
In response to this growing demand for more nursing degree options at Delaware Tech, the school introduced a 20,000 square-foot nursing wing complete with high-tech healthcare equipment. Yet, Brainard fears that dilapidated conditions in the school’s outdated buildings could threaten the students’ chance of learning in safe, effective environments.
Brainard told the Joint Financial Committee that although Delaware Tech is in need of nearly $100 million in maintenance repairs, progress has been slowed due to inadequate funding. If the Joint Financial Committee allocates budget funding for Delaware Tech’s renovation agenda, the school may better accommodate an emerging population of nursing students seeking bachelor-level education.
Ultimately, Brainard indicated that Delaware Tech’s new bachelor of nursing degree program was not just about helping students, but the greater community at large. During his speech to the Joint Finance Committee he was quoted saying, “This is something we have to develop to make sure we are providing a high-quality workforce for the Delaware health care system.”