Clarion University will begin offering its Associate of Science in Nursing degree in Somerset County this fall. Officials from the university’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services and from Somerset County Education Center, which will host the program, are preparing.
For the Education Center, that means making significant modifications to the space. Those modifications come with a price tag, and Somerset County Commissioners accepted a low bid of $284,000 this week to build administrative offices and state-of-the-art labs for nursing skills and nursing simulation. Construction could begin as early as the first week of March.
Krista Mathias, board chair of Somerset Hospital, said Clarion's nursing program will benefit the region significantly.
"Not only is this an excellent educational opportunity for our young people and folks looking to be trained in a highly marketable and noble profession, it is an opportunity for Somerset Hospital to connect with the best and brightest in the Laurel Highlands and recruit highly-skilled nurses from the clinical portion of the program," she said.
The two-year ASN program leads to licensure as a registered nurse upon successful completion of the National Council Licensure Exam. Clarion's current ASN program has boasted strong academics with NCLEX pass rates of 100 percent in 2016 and 94 percent in 2017, well above the national average.
The curriculum offers hands-on clinical patient care experiences in the first semester. Clarion University offers core nursing classes and general education, while Penn Highlands Community College, also located Somerset County Education Center, offers additional general education and support courses. Somerset Hospital serves as the primary clinical training site and offers diverse clinical/hospital experiences that cover a variety of nursing specialties including emergency room, operating room, home health, medical-surgical and pediatrics.
ASN graduates would then be able to transition seamlessly into the RN-BSN degree completion program online.
Applications are being accepted, and admission will be made on a rolling basis through May 15, or until the 30-student class is filled. For more information, visit www.clarion.edu/asnsomerset.