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WMU to offer nursing program in Benton Harbor

by Jeanne Baron

April 29, 2011 | WMU News

BENTON HARBOR--Residents of southwest Michigan and northern Indiana will soon have a new avenue for increasing their nursing credentials without leaving the region.

Starting this fall, Western Michigan University's southwest Michigan location in Benton Harbor will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University's Bronson School of Nursing.

The WMU-Southwest offering is structured so that registered nurses holding an associate's degree in nursing from Lake Michigan College, or another college, can transfer into the WMU program. It is being announced in time for National Nurses Week. The week always starts May 6 and runs through May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

WMU is bringing the same RN-BSN Progression Track program to WMU-Southwest that it now offers only on its main campus in Kalamazoo. The move further strengthens the WMU-LMC partnership that began in 2002 with the opening of the University's building on LMC's campus.

Learn more

WMU will host three information sessions:

WMU-Southwest will pay the $35 program application fee for information session attendees who apply to the RN-BSN Progression Track program by May 31.

To register for a session, visit or contact Robin Ross, WMU-Southwest student services coordinator, at or (269) 934-1500.

"We're thrilled to be bringing such a high-caliber and affordable BSN program to Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties as well as to northern Indiana communities," says Luann Harden, director of WMU-Southwest. "Job-growth projections make it clear that increasing numbers of RNs will be seeking a bachelor's degree in the coming years. So in addition to educating the nursing profession's future leaders, we're serving the evolving needs of area employers and employees."

"Expanded higher education opportunities are important for the economic growth of the region," adds Dr. Robert Harrison, president of LMC. "With accessible training choices, our local health care professionals can further their skill and knowledge to the benefit of everyone in our communities."

WMU's RN-BSN Progression Track program is designed specifically for registered nurses and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The WMU-Southwest curriculum will be as rigorous and of the same quality as that being offered on the main campus.

The nursing school will accept up to 20 RNs into the WMU-Southwest program each year. Courses will be offered in a hybrid format, blending high-tech and high-touch instruction.

"Delivery of the program has been planned to accommodate the needs and schedules of working nurses," says Dr. Linda Zoeller, director of the Bronson School of Nursing. "We'll be combining the benefits of direct faculty, student and peer interaction with high-tech modalities so students can experience the best of both traditional and online course delivery. This will allow students to plan classes accordingly and provide the necessary flexibility for timely program completion."

Earning a BSN degree opens doors for those nurses who aspire to higher leadership positions in health care as well as expands the breadth of possibilities for careers in community-based health care. BSN-prepared nurses can continue their education at the graduate level if they are interested in applying for advanced-practice positions such as nurse practitioners, nurse administrators or nurse educators.

For more information about WMU's RN-BSN Progression Track program in Benton Harbor, contact Luann Harden, director of WMU-Southwest, at or (269) 934-1500.