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Contributed photo / Bryan College students on the campus in Dayton, Tennessee.

Aided by a $1.2 million gift from a local foundation, Bryan College will add a nursing program at its Dayton, Tennessee campus next year.

Beginning in fall 2021, Bryan will offer a bachelor of nursing degree that will build on the college's existing curricula in business and healthcare management, which now prepares students for management opportunities in healthcare. The BSN program will add to current offerings in the biological, physical and exercise sciences, which Bryan already offers to prepare students for future education in careers as nurses, doctors, physical therapists and other allied health-related fields.

"For the prospective students we talk with, this is probably the most requested degree program that we currently don't offer," said Doug Mann, vice president for academics and provost at Bryan College who will become the college's next president in July. "The nursing program will fit so nicely with our mission of educating students to be servants of Christ. That service to our fellow man through the health field is one that our students are very eager to engage in."

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Bryan College Photo/ Photo of Dr. Doug Mann, vice president for academics and provost at Bryan College who will become president of the college in July.

Bryan has begun the process of gaining approval from its regional accrediting organization, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), to launch the BSN program the fall term of 2021 with about 20 to 25 students, Mann said. The program will grow as demand warrants in the future, Mann said.

Bryan College currently has about 650 students enrolled at its Dayton campus and a comparable number of full-time students enrolled in its online programs.

The addition of the new nursing school was made possible by a gift from the Clifton and Clara Ward Foundation, a 19-year-old nonprofit that supports primarily Christian charities and colleges. The new nursing program will be named the Clara and Clifton Ward School of Nursing at Bryan College. Ward was the former owner of the Uniform Rental Service in Chattanooga and Atlanta and Ward also owned a local construction company.

"Especially during this current crisis, we recognize that nursing and health care is such an important part of who we are as Christians and as citizens of the U.S.," said Glenn Stophel, a trustee for the Clifton and Clara Ward Foundation and a trustee emeritus at Bryan College.

Stophel said the foundation has supported other Bryan College programs, but this will be the largest gift to the Christian college in Dayton from the foundation.

Best RN nursing programs in Tennessee

According to the registerednursing.org, an online rating service, the best RN schools in Tennessee are:

1. University of Tennessee at Martin

2. Lee University in Cleveland

3. Jackson State Community College

4. Nashville State Community College

5. Chattanooga State Community College

6. University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis

7. Austin Peay University

8. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

9. Carson-Newman University

10. Tennessee Tech University

Source: Registerdnursing.org

 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that demand for registered nurses will grow by 12% in the next decade, or more than twice the overall employment growth for the U.S. economy.

Nursing programs are already offered in the Chattanooga area at more than a half dozen local colleges, including the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Lee University, Southern Adventist University, Covenant College and Chattanooga State, Cleveland State and Dalton State community colleges.

According to registerednursing.org — an online service that rates nursing programs across the country — there are currently 44 registered nurse training programs at colleges in Tennessee.

The rating service recently ranked Lee University, Chattanooga State Community College and the and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga among the top 10 schools in the state for nursing.

Mann said Bryan will offer more clinical hours than most schools at local hospitals, including Rhea Medical Center and Chattanooga hospitals, and should offer smaller classes for nursing education. Additionally, Mann said Bryan is a more affordable option than some other college programs.

Bryan College is reducing its tuition cost by 40% this year so those entering the school as first time or returning students will pay tuition of $16,900 along with a $7,800 room and board cost.

The program will provide curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), a pathway for registered nurses to complete their bachelors' degree (RN to BSN degree) as well as provide a site for employed nurses to complete continuing education credits (CEUs) to maintain licensure through work in nursing simulation labs.

Bryan College President Stephen Livesay, who is retiring as head of the college this summer, said Bryan's developing partnership with Rhea Medical Center should aid both the nursing students' education and the local community.

"Having well-trained professionals join our team is not only good for the hospital but also good for our local community's economy," he said.

Livesay said the nursing addition mirrors the college's recent additions such as it growing School of Engineering.

"We continue to meet the needs of an ever-changing world," Livesay said. "The one consistency is our commitment to our mission which is to educate students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today's world."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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