Danville, VA - After more than a hundred years of training nurses in Danville, DRMC is discontinuing its School of Health Professions nursing program.
The last graduating class will finish their coursework in May, but the program is not going away.
It'll find new life at Averett University.DRMC's three year nursing program offers students a diploma upon completion, but Averett's four year program will give nursing students a Bachelor's degree, providing them the essential education they'll need to keep up in this quickly evolving field.
In 1898, DRMC celebrated the graduation of their first class of nursing students. Since then, they have been providing quality education for many soon-to-be nurses, but the field has changed.
"Research shows that nurses with a Bachelor's degree, their patients tend to have excellent clinical outcomes, and that's where we need to go for the health of our community, " said Debra Clark, Chief of Nursing at DRMC.
Clark says moving the program to Averett was a natural transition, and Averett has already brought some staff members from the DRMC program on board for the new curriculum.
"What we're adding to the community is a more highly skilled, educated nurse, " said Dr. May Condon.
Condon will serve as the director of the program which will offer students an Entry into Practice program - pending state approval - as well as continued education options.
"The students will graduate as a well-qualified Generalist ready to go forward in the workforce, " said Condon.
Governor McDonnell says, by 2020, all nurses in Virginia should be educated at a baccalaureate level.
As they work towards that goal, Clark says she has no doubt Averett will continue DRMC's legacy of comprehensive nursing education.
"It's not an end. It is a transition in how we do things, and that we take that passion for what we do everyday as we transition into the Bachelor's Degree Program at Averett, " Clark said.
Some of the new classes are already being offered at Averett, but the director says she expects the program to officially start in the fall.