ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Doctors say there is a shortage of nurses across the nation including right here in Georgia. Darton College wants to offer a four-year degree to put more qualified nurses in the workforce.
A group representing historically black colleges and universities says a four year program would hurt two universities that already offer that program in our area.
A spokesman for that coalition says the Board of Regents should not consider expanding the nursing program at Darton College. It would unfairly compete with Albany State and Georgia Southwestern in Americus.
Four Darton Nursing students are graduating in July with an associates degree. They say it's just more convenient to get a bachelors degree here.
"I don't want to commute," said Laura Robinson. "I think it would be great if we had it here."
Even though both degrees require the same amount of clinical hours, Mica Godwin says a four year degree opens up more doors than a two year degree.
"We can go into more administrative roles, and supervisor roles where an associates degree does not allow that," said Nursing Student, Mica Godwin.
She says she'd like to see a four-year hybrid program, partially Internet based, that works around her busy schedule.
"The hybrid program would allow more flexibility as far as going at night, online and lot of us have kids," Godwin said. "We need more flexibility."
While we tried to contact ASU and Darton regarding the issue. They could not comment right now. On the medical side, Palmyra Chief Nursing Officer, Holly McGucken says the hospital is always in need of registered nurses.
"We are always looking for good nurses, and advanced education certainly determines clinical outcome," McGucken said.
McGucken says she hires RNs with bachelors and associates degrees but always looks for the person with the best skills and education.
"We want good, compassionate, skilled nurses by the beside,"said McGucken.
Board of Regents spokesman, John Millsaps said the academic affairs office will review the proposal. If they agree, it will go before the Board of Regents. Members will make the final decision. The next meeting is May 10th.
The NAACP is also working with the Legal Defense Coalition for Public HBCUs to oppose a four-year program at Darton.
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