Florida’s State Board of Education unanimously approved Florida Keys Community College’s proposal to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at their monthly meeting in Miami today.  The new BSN degree is scheduled to launch in August 2018, pending approval from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  The BSN will be the second baccalaureate degree program offered at FKCC following its Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision in Management that began in January.

“This is a momentous occasion for the College and a triumph for the entire community,” said FKCC President Dr. Jonathan Gueverra.  “In addition to expanding career training opportunities for our alumni and other nurses, our BSN will help fill critical gaps in the healthcare industry and thus improve the overall quality of healthcare throughout the Keys.”

The College’s addition of the BSN responds to growing job opportunities and need for highly-trained nurses—a trend expected to continue nationally, regionally, and locally well into the future.  According to the Florida Center for Nursing, the state is expecting a shortage of more than 50,000 nurses by 2025.  It is expected that such a shortage will more adversely impact rural communities like Monroe County.  Compounding the need for nurses, the Institute of Medicine has issued a national challenge for 80 percent of RNs to hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020.  In support of this goal to improve patient care, many hospitals and healthcare organizations are now requiring their nursing staff to earn a BSN within a certain time frame.

FKCC’s BSN program builds upon its highly-regarded Associate in Science (A.S.) in Nursing.  The two-year A.S. degree trains graduates to become Registered Nurses (RNs), upon passing the national licensure exam; FKCC maintains an exceptionally high passage rate of its graduates achieving RN licensure.  The BSN program provides the next step for RNs to continue to acquire specialized knowledge and skills to meet the growing demands in a variety of healthcare settings.  Entrance into the baccalaureate program requires students to first earn an associate degree in Nursing and hold an active RN license.

FKCC’s BSN coursework emphasizes leadership development and covers nursing research and theory, pharmacology, health assessment, management, and quality improvement.  The College will use a combination of clinical experiences, face-to-face classes, weekend seminars, and online learning.

FKCC is also pursuing a national designation for its nursing program, which would include the BSN.  As of May 2016, the program achieved candidacy status with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).  ACEN accreditation is a broadly recognized seal of approval that reflects an institution’s adherence to the highest quality standards of nursing education and training.

In addition to the BSN, FKCC is in the process of developing two more bachelor’s degree programs: a Bachelor of Applied Science in Marine Resource Management and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality and Ecotourism.

For more information about FKCC’s nursing program and other academic and workforce training opportunities, visit www.fkcc.edu.