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Mississippi College School of Nursing Plans to Begin Graduate Program

MC School of Nursing Dean Kimberly Sharp
MC School of Nursing Dean Kimberly Sharp

Mississippi College School of Nursing leaders received the green light to begin a new master’s program. The first graduate students would enroll in late August 2019.

The Clinical Nurse Leader program trains professionals to practice across the spectrum of care in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment.

At a meeting in Jackson on February 21, the state College Board granted its approval for Mississippi College nursing officials to proceed.

MC School of Nursing Dean Kimberly Sharp expressed her deep appreciation to people playing a part to make it happen.

“I’m thanking everyone who has helped us on this journey and prayed with us for this vital part of our nursing program,” Sharp wrote in an email to faculty and staff. “We are very excited for the opportunities that graduate level programming affords the MC School of Nursing.”

The Clinical Nursing Leader, she said, “evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risk, and has the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary.” This is a graduate degree designed for students who have a BSN and a current RN license.

Like any new higher education program at institutions nationwide, the new MSN-CNL degree must undergo a process to gain national accreditation. That could take a few years. Mississippi College School of Nursing undergraduate programs remain nationally accredited. The pass rate of MC nursing students on nationally standardized exams to enter the profession is high. It stands at 94 percent.

The approval Thursday from the College Board or Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning comes when Mississippi College nursing enrollment is enjoying dramatic increases.

There were 367 MC nursing undergrads in 2014. That number grew to 374 students in 2015, and 407 in 2016. There were 489 nursing students enrolled in 2017 and the number climbed to a record 524 in 2018.

Development of the master’s degree has “long been a dream of the faculty and students of MC’s School of Nursing,” says Graduate Dean Debbie Norris.

Many more nurses will be needed for years to come in the healthcare profession across the USA. A large percentage of the patients needing care are aging Baby Boomers.

Sharp believes the new master’s program will attract nurses.

“I think we should have a strong amount of interest,” Sharp said. “But it will take time to get the word out and then get people enrolled.”

In the next few months, Mississippi College’s School of Nursing leaders will advertise in various publications to get the word out about the new graduate program.