In May 2016, Pasco –Hernando State College (PHSC) in New Port Richey, Florida graduated its first class of nursing students. Twenty students earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree after the school received a five-year accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
PHSC offered an LPN program, a bridge program for paramedics and an Associate Degree in Nursing program prior to its BSN accreditation. Daryl Wane, a professor of nursing at the school and BSN program coordinator, said that before the BSN program rolled out, students didn’t have a lot of choices to obtain that level of degree. “There really was no place for our students here. They had to go to USF or St. Petersburg College,” she said.
To be considered for the program, qualified students must complete an application accompanied by an essay about their personal philosophy of how nursing education affects clinical practice now and in the future. This year there are 122 students enrolled in the BSN program and the entire program is offered online. Wane believes that the ability to complete the program online is a huge draw for the mostly working population currently enrolled.
Samantha Banks of Wesley Chapel, Florida agrees. The 37-year-old mother of two currently works as an RN and said that the classroom setting did not work for her. Now, she and her two children sit and do their homework together in the evenings she said.
Charles Rummens is a 48-year-old father with a full time job who hopes to work at the local VA medical hospital after he graduates from the program. He said that the online program is convenient but the cost of tuition is also a perk for him. “I looked into USF and other online nursing programs, but a lot of them are much more expensive,” he said.