The Passavant Area Hospital Foundation is providing a $25,000 grant to assist Illinois College (IC) in developing an RN (registered nurse) to BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) completion program according to a joint announcement by Pam Martin, Executive Director of the Passavant Foundation, and Catharine O’Connell, Provost of Illinois College.

“This is a beneficial collaboration and will serve to meet the identified educational needs of nurses wishing to complete their bachelor’s degree. The Foundation is excited to support Illinois College in creating a new program,” Martin said.

The RN to BSN program will be designed to give RNs a broad educational foundation while also providing specialized nursing curriculum. The plan is for nursing courses to be offered fully online to accommodate the complicated schedules of working nurses.  The liberal arts coursework comprising the remainder of the curriculum will be available either online or on IC’s campus to provide maximum flexibility. Illinois College is collaborating with Passavant Area Hospital and will begin working on the program this spring. The College will hire a program developer and name a planning team. The accreditation process will then begin, as well as the process of designing curriculum, organizing program logistics and identifying faculty. The goal is to enroll students for an August 2018 start date.

According to O’Connell, “there is a need for well-prepared practitioners in multiple health fields in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, especially for students with a strong affinity for the communities in our region. IC has always attracted a significant number of students who wish to live and work in nearby communities, and this initiative will allow us to better serve such individuals. This program is one example of our growing focus on developing programs that meet identified educational needs and interests in the communities we serve.  Illinois College greatly appreciates the support of the Passavant Area Hospital Foundation.”

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine, in its report on the future of nursing, set a 10-year goal of having 80 percent of RNs baccalaureate prepared. Currently, about 60 percent of Passavant’s registered nurses have achieved the BSN degree. “BSN nurses bring many additional skills to their patient care, such as communication, leadership, and critical thinking. Plus, BSN nurses are important to Passavant as we maintain our status as a Magnet® hospital,” said Leanna Wynn, RN, MBA, MSN, affiliate vice president nursing and quality and chief nursing officer.