ORANGEBURG, S.C. (courtesy thetandd.com) — “It’s an opportunity for us to add to the legacy at Claflin,” said Dr. Shannon Smith, chair of the Claflin University Department of Nursing.
“It’s epic,” she said.
Smith’s statements came minutes after Claflin University and the South Carolina Technical College System signed a memorandum of understanding linking their nursing programs.
The MOU allows registered nurses who have earned an associate’s degree from the S.C. Tech System’s institutions to transfer into Claflin’s existing RN to bachelor of science in nursing program.
Claflin’s RN to BSN program is 100 percent online.
“The path is all about making a seamless approach for these students,” Smith said. “When they start their nursing program, some of them already know they want to be a BSN. This is a roadmap that tells them these are the steps you take to attain that BSN degree.”
“These students can graduate their program in May, get a new job, go through orientation and start our program in August and not have to come to campus to do it. They can continue their lives,” Smith noted.
Claflin University President Dr. Henry Tisdale said the MOU aligns with the university’s efforts to increase enrollment, increase opportunities and have a diverse delivery system for academic programs.
“We believe that bringing on the BSN program at Claflin University provides a unique opportunity, and especially if you look at the fact that it’s the only BSN program offered among our historically black colleges and universities. It’s the only BSN program offered between Charleston and Columbia,” Tisdale said.
More than 50 graduates have completed the online RN to BSN program since its inception in 2016. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Dr. Tim Hardee, president of the S.C. Tech System, and Tisdale both stressed the importance of ensuring that the MOU leads to sustained success. Both presidents said the program will be widely marketed.
Hardee stated that the program is a way for students who are entering the health care workforce to quickly advance in their careers.
“Our responsibility will be to get the word out about this great opportunity with Claflin. While we have great working relationships with institutions across the state of South Carolina, this, because of it being an online delivery system with Claflin, provides even greater access for those students,” Hardee said.
“Certainly an event like today is the first start towards the process, but with our 16 technical colleges across the state, we envision an opportunity for us to reach into those nursing programs across the state of South Carolina, make them aware of this opportunity that exists with Claflin,” Hardee stated.
Smith said the MOU is a pivotal piece in the foundation of Claflin’s newest program.
“Claflin University’s RN to BSN program is extremely important to the Orangeburg-Calhoun county area, but also to the state of South Carolina and beyond because we provide access to so many students who desire a BSN degree but may not be able to attain it elsewhere. Also, our faculty are so supportive of our students in a way that helps them make their dream possible,” Smith said.
Tisdale said the MOU expands the university’s existing relationship with the state tech system.
“What we see today is what can happen when partners come together, when institutions and organizations collaborate, continue to collaborate and continue to build on success,” Tisdale said.
“It’s a win-win for students, it’s a win-win for institutions, it’s a win-win for health care organizations throughout the state of South Carolina and it’s a win-win for all of South Carolina.”