New GSU nursing program gets Regents support

Courtesy: MGN Online
Courtesy: MGN Online
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BATON ROUGE, La. (Press Release) - Grambling State University’s effort to start a new undergraduate nursing program got a boost Wednesday when the Louisiana Board of Regents endorsed a letter of intent in support of a smaller, focused, more demanding academic curriculum, classroom training and support so students will be successful.

“We’re happy that the Board of Regents has supported our efforts today, and this is just the second of three key steps as we work toward getting this program in place,” GSU President Rick Gallot said shortly after the vote in the Claiborne Building. “Now it’s on to the state board of nursing. We’re hopeful because the nursing board sent the Regents a letter encouraging support because they like what they see.”

The Board of Regents vote in favor of the letter of intent was unanimous. If the process continues as planned, the first cohort of 30 students can start with the new GSU nursing program in fall 2018.

GSU started the program in 1984 and built a strong regional and national reputation. But the program fell on hard times as some students were not successfully passing the National Council Licensure

Examination (NCLEX) required state boards of nursing to be licensed to practice after graduation. The

Louisiana board ordered GSU to pursue closing the program in June 2015, the Board of Regents closed the program in August 2015 and the program was officially closed December 31, 2015. Gallot decided to ramp up an effort to develop a new nursing program, making it one of his key first-year priorities.

Board member Robert W. Levy acknowledged that he was one of the chief critics of the university’s previous program, but he said though he has had lots of concerns and criticisms he supports the new program because it is well designed, well thought out and designed to better ensure student success.

In addition, he said, he was not prepared “until he became president,” pointing at Gallot sitting at a table in front of the board.

According to a Regents staff summary provided to inform the board, “Recognizing a longstanding need for more BSN graduates as well as a parallel need for the nursing community to better represent the diversity of the population that it serves, Grambling has been working to reestablish a BSN on campus by reviewing and revising every element from core leadership in the School of Nursing, to faculty orientation and evaluation, course and curriculum design, and lab and support resources.”

Meg Brown, the school’s nursing head, said she was happy with the Board of Regents’ support and she and her team will work with GSU Provost Ellen Smiley and others to best prepare to anticipate and answer all state board of nursing questions. The university plans to appear before the state nursing board in early June.

“While we are pleased with what happened today, we have more work to do and we’re ready to get it done,” said Brown. “It’s important that we pay special attention to everything we’re doing to make sure that we start strong and stay strong.”