By Devon Martinez, Staff Writer
With the passing of Bill 18-1086 earlier this year, PPCC has been working tirelessly to solidify the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (BSN) by fall of 2019. Current Nursing students know very little about what happens next, but that hasn’t killed their excitement.
Brittni Anderson is currently enrolled in the nursing program at PPCC, and she is excited about the program. Anderson is eager for the BSN at PPCC because she thinks it’s going to benefit students’ long-term.
“Most Places want you to have a four year degree. It’s significantly easier to just do it here so I’ve heard a lot of interest with it. If you are already getting your two-year degree here, you’re going to know your instructors. You’re going to know all of the people, they know you. So, you have a better chance of getting through it,” she said.
Fellow nursing student Michael Brennan only knows that PPCC is moving forward with the BSN, but is looking forward to the upcoming partnership with UC health.
The bill was passed so the state could combat the nursing shortage Colorado currently faces.
PPCC is only one of three community colleges in the state moving forward with this opportunity for its students.
PPCC has been approved by the State of Colorado and the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) to offer the program.
According to PPCC’s Vice President of Instruction, Dr. Josh Baker, the school is waiting for approval on financial aid, and scholarship offers for the students going into the program.
PPCC’s Nursing Department Chair, Marilu Altop, noted that all ten community colleges are working together to create a curriculum that is not only effective and competitive but is also transparent across the state in case a student transfers out to another community college.
“All the directors of the community colleges meet regularly to work on the curriculum for the RN to the BSN because we are going to have it across the system that is offering all of the same classes,” she said.
Altop also mentioned that if they end up going with the fall of 2019 start date that students will be able to enroll during the summer of 2019.
“We want them to have a successful workshop. That’s what we do with our ADN program. We bring in the cohorts, and we have an all-day success workshop to help them you know get accumulated to: we do different testing, it’s not just regurgitating out of the textbook. You take what you learn in class and apply it to different situations. So, we want to offer the same foundation for our RN to BSN, so we make sure they are just as successful,” Altop said.
Some students are excited about the future but won’t be entering the program due to the fall start date.
Cassie Felton is one of these students, and she is currently dually enrolled at UCCS and PPCC.
“We are all a little bummed that it won’t be available till after we graduate, but we are excited for future nursing students! Being able to complete everything all at one school will make life much less stressful for nursing students,” Felton said.
Brennan is in the same situation as Felton. “I am looking to do an RN to BSN bridge through a different institution for monetary reasons,” he said.
Anderson is waiting to enter the PPCC BSN program because it’s easier for her and, “It’s easier for people who are military,” she said.
Anderson commented that using VA funds at two schools is complicated, and she is glad she can attend one school beginning next fall.
PPCC is also negotiating the purchase of the Cypress Building, a large complex a half mile north of the Rampart Range Campus, which will house the Allied Health programs.
The building is going to be the home of all Allied Health programs, since they have outgrown their space at Rampart, and will include a full-scale simulation laboratory where students can practice hands-on skills.
Felton says that for students, “the sim-lab will be amazing.”
According to Altop, more space and the sim-lab means students are going to have more room to work and develop their skills.
Both Altop and Baker agree that without a doubt this program will help solve the nursing shortage in Colorado.
Before the program was even announced by PPCC, College President, Dr. Lance Bolton consulted with the nursing faculty to ensure that this was something they wanted and were comfortable with doing.
“Dr. Bolton came and asked the nursing faculty first if this is something we thought we would want to do, and if we believed in it. And we all did,” Altop says.
There are currently 193 students in the Associate Degree in Nursing Program, and the college is looking to admit twenty students into the inaugural RN-BSN program.