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New associate degree nursing program offered at University of Charleston-Beckley

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University of Charleston Regional President Jerry Forster announced Feb. 11 plans to create an associate degree in nursing program at UC-Beckley.

UC has notified the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses and will begin the accreditation process.

"We have spoken to dozens of community leaders, including administrators at both Raleigh General Hospital and Beckley Appalachian Regional Healthcare since founding UC-Beckley last year and the message is clear that more nurses are needed to fill shortages," said Forster. "The University of Charleston has a storied 50-year history when it comes to allied health programs and this nursing at UC-Beckley will become the newest chapter.

"We are proud to help address this significant community need."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for nurses are expected to grow nationally by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. Right now, there are 106 Beckley-area residents per registered nurse, compared to 102 per registered nurse for the rest of the state.

The ADN program at UC-Beckley will allow students to graduate as a registered nurse (RN) in just one and a half years. UC started an online RN-BSN program this past January, which allows licensed RNs to continue their education at UC to earn a bachelor of nursing. RN-BSN students at UC have the opportunity to choose one of two tracks for their degree: Leadership or Case Management. The Case Management track is especially unique, as it will allow UC graduates to work in their organization, while learning to navigate the new Affordable Care Act.

Larry Rosenquist has been hired as associate professor of nursing at UC and, upon approval of the State Board of Examiners, will lead the new ADN program. Rosenquist holds an associate's degree in applied science from Dutchess Community College (N.Y.), a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Millersville University (Pa.), a master of science with a specialty in gerontological nursing from the University of Arizona and a doctorate of nursing practice from Case Western Reserve University. He has many years of experience in the profession of nursing, most recently serving as assistant professor at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.