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21 nurses graduate from college nursing program

October 03, 2009

Washington County Hospital has announced the first graduating class from its RN-BSN program through the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Twenty-one nurses graduated from the program in May with bachelor's degrees in nursing development.

The program offers registered nurses (RNs) the opportunity to further their education by earning their bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) while working at the hospital. Professors from the College of Notre Dame traveled to Hagerstown so that classes could be offered on the hospital's campus.

The program is offered to Washington County Hospital's nurses thanks to the support of Mary Towe, vice president and chief nursing officer, and the efforts of the staff in the Jack & Anna Hershey Education Center, who wanted to open more doors for their registered nurses.

One of the primary reasons for bringing the program to the hospital was to give nurses the opportunity to further their education while relieving them of the burden of commuting to the Baltimore campus to attend class. Nurses enrolled in the program can take one class at a time while working at the hospital.

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Towe said the program is important because it affects patient care.

"Research shows that an increased percentage of bachelor's-prepared nurses is correlated to improved patient outcomes, so first of all, it's about our patients," Towe said.

Through the RN-BSN program, four nurses had the chance to complete a two-week mission trip to Guatemala. While there, the nurses screened children for malnutrition and educated families about living conditions and healthy foods. They also helped build cement block stoves in San Andreas to address a rise in pulmonary issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, childhood asthma and pneumonia.

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