Lisa Ensminger

Miami University’s Middletown and Hamilton campuses’ nursing school may have faced a setback when more than 200 applicants received the wrong verdict on their acceptance letters in March, but a slight glitch doesn’t stop progress for a program planning to expand its offerings to students.

The program is looking to offer ,a traditional baccalaureate program beginning in the fall 2007, which would be a four-year track ending in a bachelor’s degree, according to the nursing program director at the Middletown and Hamilton campuses Paulette Worcester.

The fate of the program rests with the Ohio Board of Nursing, who has to approve of it within the next few months.

Miami’s Hamilton and Middletown campuses already offer three different nursing programs, according to Worcester.

The associate degree, which has been offered since 1968, is a two-year traditional program where students learn the fundamentals and skills of nursing. The baccalaureate completion degree, which has been offered since 1972, builds on the foundation of the associate’s, adding courses on research, health promotion, teaching, and community health nursing. The third program offered is held for licensed practical nurses who want to further their education and obtain a 12-month associate’s degree for an Applied Science in Nursing degree.

All programs allow nurses to have hands-on experience within the field and also work at local hospitals around the area.

In addition, the nursing program hopes to start a lab technology program in the fall of 2008 in certain labs that are to be built at the Middletown Regional Hospital.

The nursing program is extremely successful, based on feedback from employer surveys, according to Worcester.

The national licensing exam, which students need to pass in order to become licensed practical nurses, demonstrates the ability of Miami students, with the score averaging 92 percent or above and surpassing the national pass rate for the past five years.

“We are highly above the national pass rate, which has been 85-87 percent,” Worcester said. “That’s a great accomplishment for our nursing program.”

Miami first-year Kelly Burtch, who plans to attend the nursing program in Hamilton, said she likes the program because of its intimate feel.

“It’s a great program and great affiliation with the hospitals to be exposed to real-life situations which is important,” Burtch said. “I also like the idea of small classes to really get to learn the material and build a relationship with the staff.”

Currently there are 45 nursing students at Middletown and 60 students at Hamilton enrolled in the associate degree program and 100 students enrolled in the completion bachelor’s degree program. There are also 14 current Licensed Practical Nurses enrolled in the one-year program to help further their education.

“We would like to see (the) number (of LPNs) grow in the future,” Worcester said.

Currently Miami has no specific time frame for the completion of the lab building at the hospital, according to Worcester.