Upcoming changes to a nearby college nursing program are expected to have a minimal impact on the program currently offered by Jamestown Community College.
In an April 5 press release from Penn State Behrend, it was announced that the nursing program at the Erie campus will begin offering a four-year Bachelor of Science degree, which will be replacing the current two-year associate degree.
"In the fall of 2014, we will be admitting students for the four-year baccalaureate degree and, at the same time, we'll be admitting our last class for the associate degree," said Dr. Jo Anne Carrick, coordinator of the nursing program at Penn State Behrend. "So, the only thing that's going away is the two-year basic associate degree."
Carrick said that Penn State Behrend is currently working on an articulation agreement with JCC, which should be in place shortly.
According to Dr. Dawn Columbare, JCC professor and director of nursing education, JCC's proximity to a four-year nursing program is not expected to impact its own program.
"We have articulation agreements with all kinds of programs, and Penn State Behrend is one of them," said Columbare. "And virtually 100 percent of credits taken for the JCC nursing program are transferable to a baccalaureate program. (Students) can complete three quarters of a bachelor's degree at JCC, depending on the articulation agreement we have with other programs."
Columbare said, between its Jamestown and Cattaraugus County campuses, JCC has received more than 800 applications for its 2013-14 nursing program. At both national and state levels, the esteemed and rigorous program also boasts above average pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse, according to Columbare.
"Graduate and employer surveys indicate that everyone is highly satisfied," she said.
As for a four-year nursing program at JCC, Columbare said that would be highly unlikely.
"Right now, I believe that SUNY doesn't allow bachelor's degrees to be offered by community colleges in New York state. The majority of nurses in the U.S. are educated at the associate level, initially. And Penn State Behrend having a bachelor's degree program close by is a good option for students."
Columbare said that a state proposal has recently been made, though not yet passed, which would require graduates of associate level nursing programs to earn their bachelor's degrees within the next 10 years.