The 2012 Annual Report for the Mississippi Nursing Degree Programs reported that nursing enrollment in all programs of nursing in Mississippi has increased by 15.9 percent from Fall 2008. The report further documented that the highest percentage of growth occurred in the enrollment of students in the baccalaureate and higher degree programs of nursing. There was a 38.7% increase in the number of students enrolled in bachelor programs, a 35.7% increase enrollment in masters programs and a 359.3% increase of students enrolled in doctoral programs.
The deans and directors of the programs of nursing in the state of Mississippi have worked diligently to address the recommendations of the Institutes of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report on the Future of Nursing : Leading Change, Advancing Healthcare http://thefutureofnursing.org/. Those recommendations include:
- Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
- Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
- Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals
- Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.
One important initiative in Mississippi is creating “seamless transitions” between academic programs that will help create a more highly educated nursing workforce, which will improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles, as well as graduate competent future nurses. The data from the 2012 annual report documents our progress.
This data shows that quality patient care hinges on having a well-educated nursing workforce. Research has shown that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2012).
The start of a new year also brings a return of the College of Nursing to the Long Beach campus. Since 2004 the Nursing faculty and staff have been housed in the renovated former Garden Park Hospital in Gulfport. The new facility provides adequate faculty offices, conferences rooms, and lounge. The facility also houses the Clinical simulation lab which is a critical component of the nursing curriculum. In the simulation lab students have an opportunity to provide care for simulated patients with selected diagnoses, to develop clinical decision- making skills, and a place to debrief, evaluate, and reflect on the provided nursing care.
This wonderful building on the main campus increases the visibility of nursing and its role in providing quality education to future students of The University of Southern Mississippi.
Fall semester ended this past week with finals and events associated with the pomp and circumstance of graduation. The College of Nursing (CON) had 125 graduates who were awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, or Doctor of Philosophy. Faculty, family, and friends gathered in the Bennett Auditorium for the CON Recognition Ceremony to acknowledge the accomplishments of our graduates. It was a gratifying event for all.
The significance of the events this past week extends beyond the personal achievements of our graduates. The number of graduates and the diversity of the degrees emphasize The University of Southern Mississippi College of Nursing’s commitment to meet the health indicators of our population and nursing workforce projections. The Institute of Medicine Report Future of Nursing Leading Change, Advancing Health has issued the challenge to transform nursing and health care. Our faculty and our graduates accept that challenge to become leaders in this change. In the words of Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
We welcome our students back to the Spring 2012 semester with the wonderful news that our Business and Accounting programs have successfully maintained AACSB accreditation for another five-year cycle.
AACSB accreditation (from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) is the standard of excellence for business education and a commitment to continuous improvement. Fewer than 5% of business schools internationally carry AACSB accreditation. So start your new semester knowing that you are attending a college that has been endorsed by the top business accreditation body in the world.
As I prepare to deliver a presentation to the Mississippi Coast Foreign Trade Zone Wednesday evening, I have to pause and congratulate the School of Nursing on its $4 million gift for the new building announced today. What a great investment in nursing and Southern Miss by the Asbury Foundation! We in CoB look forward to the exciting process of building a new learning facility along with SoN.