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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

Volunteer State Community College has announced a new nursing degree program that will prepare students to apply to sit for licensure as a Registered Nurse.

Approval for the program was given recently by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. This new program will award an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing. It will be held on the Gallatin and Livingston campuses.

“It is the right time for Vol State to launch a nursing program that serves our entire eleven county service area,” said Vol State president Jerry Faulkner. “There is a critical and growing need for nurses in Sumner County and the surrounding area.  At the same time, surveys showed a substantial need for RNs in the Upper Cumberland. We have offered pre-nursing programs successfully for many years and we’re ready to take the next step.  Interest in this full nursing degree program has been tremendous.”

Courtesy of Vol State

Linda Gibson has been hired as the Dean of Nursing at Vol State.

“Not only does this new nursing program prepare students to apply to sit for the RN exam, the courses are designed to fit with university programs, allowing students to continue their studies for a bachelor of science in nursing degree,” Gibson said.

Vol State students will be able to use the tuition-free TN Promise program for new high school graduates or the TN Reconnect program for adults who don’t already have a college degree. Students who don’t qualify for those programs can apply for other financial aid.

Tennessee State University offered a nursing degree program on the Vol State Gallatin campus for many years. The university suspended that program two years ago. Vol State continues to offer a pre-nursing program that includes partnerships with area universities.

Each Nursing program student group will start in the fall semester of each year. The application will become available on the web page starting March 1 and will be due May 1. The new Vol State Nursing program will be limited in the number of students accepted, and that acceptance is likely to be quite competitive. Applicants must complete all 17 hours of general education courses required for the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5. Meeting the minimum requirements does not assure acceptance. A point system will be used to rank each applicant. There will be a cohort admitted to the Gallatin and Livingston campuses each year. Graduates will be eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for licensure as a Registered Nurse. The program is subject to SACSCOC approval.

“There is a nursing shortage in the Vol State service area,” said Gibson. “Nursing jobs nationally are expected to increase by 15 percent, a much higher rate than most occupations. The pay is also attractive with a median RN salary in Tennessee of $67,490.”

For more information about Vol State Nursing visit volstate.edu/nursing.