March 26, 2010

VUSN, Lipscomb nurse education program evolves

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Jenni Anderson was part of the first class of Lipscomb students to be enrolled at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing four years ago. (photo by Dana Johnson)

VUSN, Lipscomb nurse education program evolves

Lipscomb University partnered with Vanderbilt University School of Nursing five years ago to initiate a baccalaureate degree in nursing. The program was designed so Lipscomb students would take five semesters of liberal arts courses at Lipscomb, complete three semesters of pre-specialty generalist nursing curriculum at VUSN, and graduate with a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Lipscomb.

“We have seen this program thrive, and now it's time for a natural evolution of the program to move to being offered solely by Lipscomb University,” said Linda Norman, D.S.N., R.N., senior associate dean for Academics at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. “Lipscomb has been a wonderful partner.”

Beginning in January 2011, Lipscomb University School of Nursing will begin offering the curriculum on its campus under the direction of a nursing dean and with its own nursing faculty.

Norman will continue to provide leadership to Lipscomb during the transition as Lipscomb further develops its nursing curriculum. Since Lipscomb's nursing program is a bachelor's-level education, the Lipscomb nursing graduates who seek an advanced degree may opt for VUSN's Master's degree in nursing.

The joint program will have yielded 140 baccalaureate prepared nurses by the time the final class of Lipscomb /Vanderbilt partnership students graduate in May 2011.

“We will have had five classes that will have been through that program, and we are proud of each and every one of them,” said Roger Davis, Pharm. D., dean of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Lipscomb University. “This is just a mid-course alternation and part of the maturation of any program. Our relationship with Vanderbilt is not just embodied in this partnership, it is much broader,” he said.

Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and VUSN have several other partnerships that will continue. Members of the faculty from the Lipscomb College of Pharmacy are co-teaching some of the VUSN pharmacology classes. Davis and Norman anticipate that some VUSN faculty may help teach physical assessments for the pharmacy students at Lipscomb.

The new Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics at VUSN has established a senior year in absentia option for Lipscomb Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition students. Lipscomb also has developed a pathway for Vanderbilt University undergraduates to pursue a program of study that will qualify for a dietetics internship.

The two universities will continue to look for other areas of mutual interest.

Meanwhile, VUSN will continue its partnership with Fisk University for the BSN degree from Fisk, and will increase the focus on its Masters in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, which are both experiencing significant growth each year.