This fall Miami’s nursing program will be coming to the Oxford campus.

Currently, the major is only offered at Miami’s regional campuses in Middletown and Hamilton. Oxford students pursuing a nursing degree have to commute to Hamilton in order to take the NSG classes not offered on Miami’s main campus.

Senior nursing student Dana Severin describes her experience with the nursing program as “challenging, but worth it.” She spends two days a week taking nursing classes at the Hamilton campus alongside six other Oxford nursing students.

Severin says she believes the challenges involved with commuting have kept the number of Oxford nursing students relatively small and is excited to see the growth of the nursing program as nursing classes become more accessible to Oxford students.

The idea was first proposed in February of last year. Student interest, as well as faculty and administrative support, have coincided to help the program come together quickly since then.

According to Brooke Flinders, nursing department chair, a recent expansion of Oxford course offerings in the fields of biology, chemistry and microbiology made this an opportune time to bring a nursing cohort to Oxford.

“Because our [faculty] are able to offer these courses in Oxford now, we’re able to more conveniently meet the needs of an entire Oxford cohort,” Flinders said.

Students will benefit from a diverse range of clinical training in hospitals throughout southwestern Ohio. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will offer hands-on training in pediatric care, while Mercy Fairfield will provide experience in the OB and surgical fields. Other partners include McCullough-Hyde, Atrium Medical Center and Bethesda North.

The expansion of Miami’s nursing program also comes at a time when the national need for nurses is projected to skyrocket over the coming decade. This growth, according to Jennifer Rode, an associate professor in the nursing department, can be attributed to a variety of factors.

Perhaps most significantly, Baby Boomers will reach seniority over the next 10 years, bringing with them an uptick in chronic disease and an increased risk of acute illness.

Additionally, advances in medical technology have led to an extended life expectancy. As a result, the medical workforce has to manage an ever-increasing number of chronic ailments that accompany old age, including diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

RN annual job growth rate is predicted to be 15 percent — approximately double the national average for all occupations, said Rode. This makes a degree in nursing a very practical choice for incoming freshman, she said.

This sentiment is shared by the 800 to 900 potential Miami students who expressed interest in a nursing degree on the Common App.

In addition to the increasing demand for medical care, the supply of qualified nurses is quickly diminishing. Over half of the nurses currently in the workforce are over the age of 50, and many qualified nursing faculty are quickly nearing retirement.

As a result, thousands of qualified students have been turned away from nursing programs in recent years. According to Rodes, Miami has been lucky to be able to maintain its nursing department faculty and diverse clinical teaching partnerships, allowing for the expansion of the program.

The admissions process for the nursing program will be extremely selective, choosing just 40 students to be a part of Oxford’s first cohort, Flinders said.

Students can expect an expansion of the program in the near future, however. Flinders anticipates the department will likely double enrollment in just a few years.