Jefferson College Adds and Expands Degree Programs - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Jefferson College Adds and Expands Degree Programs

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Jefferson College of Health and Sciences is adding two new programs and expanding another, offering additional nursing degrees to the local community.

With the age of the nursing population on the rise, school representatives say they hope this will attract some younger replacements.

"Any time we see there's a growing need for a particular field within healthcare we look at existing programs," said Dr. Lisa Allison-Jones, the dean for academic affairs.

Allison-Jones said more healthcare managers are needed, so they're adding two master's programs with a focus on things like business and finance and expanding the nursing program, offering classes more often. "Our graduates need to have the critical thinking skills to be very nimble and to help lead the change in health care rather than just follow it."

They say healthcare is changing and in the future there will be less dependence on emergency care and more dependence on preventative care.

"That requires a different skill set, so it's important that we prepare our students to be able to adapt to that kind of changing environment," Allison-Jones said.

"We are designing this program so the veterans' hospital, LewisGale, Carilion, Friendship Manor, all the long-term facilities - it's going to address all of their issues and all of their needs moving into the future," said Dr. Sharon Hatfield, the chair of the Community Health Sciences department and associate professor.

Hatfield said the local medical community has been asking for the new skills. "It's necessary that we supply the people to move up into these positions and help train them."

Master of Healthcare Administration is an online program for people looking for upper management positions. Classes cover the fields of business, human resources, and finance. Hundreds of people have expressed interest.

Master of Science in nursing is an online graduate program for nurses looking to move up to supervisory positions.

Bachelor of Science in nursing is an expanded program. They've added an accelerated course for students who already have a college degree in any field, and students can complete the nursing degree in four semesters (1.5 years). Last year they had more students than they had seats for, leading them to double the number of people they can accept.

Contact the admissions office if you're interested in applying.