On Dec. 16, the Missouri State Board of Nursing gave the Crowder College Cassville Center final approval to offer an associate degree in nursing program.
"Receiving final approval was exciting and at the same time a relief," said Angela Seymour, Crowder College Cassville Campus director. "The Missouri State Board of Nursing has very high standards, and it is nice to know that we have met those standards and are ready to offer an excellent program."
Missouri State Board of Nursing members who conducted the site visit in Cassville were very pleased with the foundation that has been established for the program, said Sandra Wilson, Cassville nursing program coordinator.
"They were very impressed with the facility that is offered in Cassville and with the community," said Wilson. "They commented on the community support that Crowder College has received both in the initial phase and through the development process and desire to get the program in motion."
Although the state board members made several suggestions for the local program, they did not point out any issues that they were unhappy with, said Wilson.
"They gave us some input for our curriculum development, which is the same curriculum that is utilized at the Neosho campus," said Wilson. "They were very pleased with the amount of clinical hours that are required during the program. We will require over 500 clinical hours for completion."
The state officials also commented on the program's testing policies, which will allow nursing program educators to evaluate each student's knowledge and skills at the end of the first and second years of the program. This information will be shared with the students to let the students know what their weaknesses are and where their skills should be further developed.
"We are just thrilled to have this program available in the Cassville community," said Wilson. "It is really amazing to be able to offer the entire program and everything that will be needed from the first class to a complete registered nurse social science degree.
"This program will provide students with the skills for a wonderful career and help the local healthcare community by allowing them to hire local people to fill local positions," said Wilson.
The Crowder College Cassville Campus will welcome its first class of 26 nursing students on Jan. 20. Over the next few weeks, college staff members will be working to gather supplies and educational materials for the program.
"Hal, our simulation patient, has arrived," said Wilson. "He breaths and has a heart beat and blood pressure. The instructor will be able to set his blood pressure with a computer and know if the students have taken his blood pressure correctly.
"The students will also be able to give Hal medications and treatments," said Wilson. "For instance, if they give him morphine for pain we will plug the amount of medication he is given into the computer and if they have given him the right amount his pain will decrease. If they give him too much he could stop breathing though."
Cassville nursing program students will also learn how to utilize digital text books through the program. Each student will use an iPod Touch during their clinical instruction to access text book information in the field.
In March of 2008, Crowder College received a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Division grant, which was used to help implement the nursing program at Cassville. The Cassville Campus received initial approval for the nursing program from the Missouri State Board of Nursing on June 2.