Establishment of Programs
The Division of Nursing at the University of South Carolina Aiken was established in 1971 to offer the associate degree in technical nursing and graduated its first class in May 1973. In 1985, the University received approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to grant the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing to registered nurse students who held an associate degree or diploma in nursing. As a result of university-wide reorganization of academic programs, the division of nursing became the School of Nursing in 1986. The School of Nursing received approval to offer the baccalaureate degree in nursing to generic students beginning fall 2000. The associate degree program was eliminated in December 2005.
The Associate Degree in Technical Nursing program was initially accredited by the NLNAC in 1976 with reaccreditations in 1984, 1990, and 1998. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was initially accredited by the NLNAC in 1988 and was reaccredited in 1996 and 2004. In October 2009, the application for initial CCNE accreditation was submitted and accreditation was granted in October 2011.
The School of Nursing provides for articulation of associate degree and diploma graduates into the RN/BSN Completion track following the Statewide Articulation Model. Students are awarded 34 hours of major credit toward the BSN and credit for general education courses that are applicable to the degree. The RN/BSN Completion program of study is offered asynchronously online.
Description of the Curriculum
The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has an organizing framework from which course objectives and learning activities flow in a logical progression over the length of the program. The process of curriculum construction was deliberate and guided by educational principles and standards for professional nursing practice. Outcome objectives are derived from the philosophy and organizing framework. Objectives are leveled across the curriculum in a logical sequence moving from simple to complex. The conceptual framework reflects three central concepts of professional values (caring and diversity), communication, and role development (provider of care, coordinator of care, and member of the profession). Critical thinking is used to inculcate these concepts. The BSN curriculum is designed to be completed within four years by generic students. The nursing curriculum has a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences, and its design reflects congruence with the School of Nursing philosophy, conceptual framework, standards of professional nursing practice, BSN outcome objectives, and course progression.