Rhodes State College Makes History by Offering a Bachelor Degree: Completion Program in Nursing

Rhodes State College will begin offering a bachelor of science in nursing degree Fall semester 2023 in response to the nursing shortage in the region affecting hospitals and a variety of healthcare facilities.  This is the first bachelor's degree program approved for Rhodes State College, and Rhodes is one of six two-year colleges in Ohio to offer the RN to BSN Completion program. 

The application into the program opened April 2, 2023, and currently there are 41 applicants for the 30 seats. Preference is given to students in the College's service area:  Allen, Auglaize, Hancock, Hardin, Logan, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Shelby and Van Wert counties. Applicants from all ten counties have been received. For the first three years, the program will annually accept up to 30 students. 

“The need is real and Rhodes State stepped up to the plate. We are very excited to be able to offer this for the region’s hospitals and appreciate their support. We received 31 applications in the first 24 hours. Of the total applicants, 16 are currently employed by the two major hospitals, Lima Memorial Hospital and Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center. Thirty-seven are Rhodes State nursing alumni,” said Dr. Cynthia E. Spiers, President of Rhodes State College.

According to the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio has a chronic shortage of nurses, with registered nurses listed as having the highest annual growth among jobs that require a bachelor’s degree. As of April 10, Ohio has 8,357 job openings and annual growth of 1,225 positions for nurses. Western and Northwest Ohio showed 1,526 openings and annual growth of 204, both of which far exceed the existing regional educational capacity.

As a public open-admissions institution, Rhodes State College has offered only two-year associate degrees and certificates since its inception in 1971.  Beginning in 2017 the Ohio Department of Higher Education allowed two-year institutions to offer applied bachelor's degree programs in fields with in-demand workforce needs. Rhodes State applied for the first-ever bachelor of science degree to be offered in Ohio then received approval from the Higher Learning Commission on March 3, 2023 to offer the RN to BSN completion program. 

The new bachelor's degree in nursing will allow Rhodes State College to offer a complete nursing education pathway, from state-tested nurse aide to licensed practical nurse, to registered nurse, to bachelor of science in nursing.  All applicants must be a graduate of an associate degree or diploma in nursing program that is recognized by an accrediting agency. Additionally, the program is available at Rhodes State’s tuition rate of $185 per credit hour and allows a student to complete within one year. 

“Our new, state-of-the-art Borra Center for Health Sciences gives Rhodes State the unmatched ability to provide high-end simulation and multi-disciplinary education, with advanced training in critical care simulators through the Center’s four simulation suites in medical, ICU, obstetrical, and surgical,” said Angela Heaton, Dean, Health Sciences & Public Service.   

Students interested in learning more should contact Dr. Melissa Harvey, Chair, Nursing Services at (419) 995-8347 or harvey.m@RhodesState.edu.