NewsChanges to Nursing program promise to help students save...

Changes to Nursing program promise to help students save time, money


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Photo by: James McClure

The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Professional Nursing Practice recently made substantial changes to their Nursing RN-BSN program, which they believe will help students graduate with better qualifications in less time.

The RN-BSN program, which helps students and practicing nurses get their bachelor’s degree in four years, is changing multiple requirements for graduation for Fall 2022. The program heads believe these changes will help make their students more marketable in the workplace, as well as allowing many to graduate ahead of schedule.

“The changes in the program will decrease the cost to the student as well as make the student more marketable in leadership positions,” said Dr. Elizabeth Holman, the RN-BSN Coordinator and an Assistant Teaching Professor.

The first major change comes with the number of credit hours required to graduate, which has been almost halved. Students will only need 30 credit hours before being able to apply for graduation, as opposed to the currently required 66 credit hours.

With students now able to graduate within three semesters, many are able to better balance work and social commitments.

These changes tie into recent efforts by the College of Nursing and Health Professions to make the program more affordable. In addition to the credit hour changes, which significantly reduces the amount of tuition needed to attend Southern Miss, they are also working to secure more scholarship funds specifically for the RN-BSN program.

Recently, the college was awarded $100,000 in scholarship funding from the Jimmy A. Payne Foundation, with $50,000 being dispersed this year and $50,000 next year.

Stace Mercier, the Executive Director of the USM Foundation, was thrilled about the massive donation, as it will help current and future students achieve their dreams.

“Jim Payne was a true Golden Eagle — his passion for Southern Miss was unfaltering. We admire his vision and outstanding generosity during his lifetime and well beyond,” said Mercier. “His legacy will live on in perpetuity through each student receiving these great gifts of education.”

Beyond the credit hour changes, the RN-BSN program now features a new management certification that does not require any additional fees to obtain.

“The Sigma Nurse Manager Certificate is provided by Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society, after the students complete 16 courses and other learning activities,” said Holman. “The courses and activities have been included in the curriculum for the RN-BSN program, and once all 16 courses have been completed, students earn the Sigma Nurse Manager Certificate. Students will complete all the courses for the certificate during the fall semester of the RN-BSN program. The cost of the certificate is included in the current RN-BSN tuition, so students do not have any additional fees to complete this program.”

The School of Professional Nursing Practice has also added a Quality Matters Certified course, the Health Assessment and Health Promotion certification, to the curriculum.

“This certification ensures that online classes are delivered with the best methods available.” Dr. Tom Hutchinson, the Dean of Online Learning and Enrollment, said. “Having this certification means the class offers an extra layer of confidence behind what the students experience.”

The Nursing RN-BSN program admits students during the fall, spring and summer semesters, and offers additional flexibility for nurses looking to continue their education. For more information, visit the Nursing program’s official website at

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