GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Quality patient care hinges on having a well-educated nursing workforce. Research has shown that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Georgetown College and the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Nursing have enjoyed a dual degree Nursing Arts partnership since the first dual degree students enrolled in August 1992. Sixty students have enrolled and graduated (or will graduate within the next year).

Undergraduates attend GC for three years and the University of Kentucky for two years through the Nursing Arts Program. Graduates receive degrees from both institutions: a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing Arts from GC and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Kentucky.

UK College of Nursing’s Dr. Patricia Burkhart notes that “students from Georgetown come well prepared to engage in the academic and clinical functions of the nursing discipline. Many have pursued advanced degrees in a variety of nursing specialties. They are working locally as well as across the nation.”

“Choosing to do the dual degree nursing program at Georgetown is one of the best academic decisions that I have ever made,” says Peyton Blanton, currently enrolled in the UK College of Nursing. “This program allowed me to develop wonderful relationships with my professors at Georgetown and take advantage of the small class sizes that Georgetown has to offer. I felt very prepared when I started nursing school. My classes at Georgetown had prepared me for the workload of nursing school and taught me the proper way to study.”

Peyton says she really liked the 3-2 program because it enabled her to take part in such campus activities at Georgetown as the dance team and student government that she might not have been able to do on a larger campus. “I cannot say enough good things about Georgetown,” she added. “The professors really care about the students and as a result of going to GC I feel so much better-rounded than my peers at UK.”

Two alumni of Georgetown’s Nursing Arts program are now working professionals. Jordan Heflin ‘09 and his wife Jennifer ‘08 both work at the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Jordan works mostly with hematology/oncology patients while Jennifer works throughout the hospital but deals mainly with premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

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Jennifer and Jordan with children, Brinley, age 2, and Landon, age 10 months

“Georgetown College provided us with a well-rounded college experience that prepared us for the nursing program at UK,” said Jordan, a former Tiger football standout, who added that finishing many of the basic requirements at Georgetown enabled him to better focus on UK nursing school studies. “Jennifer and I both agree that GC has some amazing professors who want nothing more than for you to be successful in whatever you choose to pursue in life.”

Jordan explained that he always wanted to work in the medical field and Jennifer, who was already in the dual-degree program, encouraged him to consider nursing. What appealed to him was actually getting to be hands-on with patients and develop a more personal relationship.

“As a College of Nursing, we are glad that we can provide this pathway for students from Georgetown to experience the best of both worlds as they begin their education in a small, faith-based institution and then complete the nursing education in a comprehensive medical science learning center,” explains Dr. Patricia Howard, Interim Dean of the UK College of Nursing.

Dr. Mark Johnson, Professor of Biology, is Nursing Arts Program coordinator for Georgetown College. “It has been a privilege for me to advise these students and work closely with the College of Nursing at UK, an outstanding, nationally recognized nursing program,” commented Dr. Johnson. “I have enjoyed seeing these students progress from Georgetown to UK to receive their B.S.N. and often further to M.S.N. and Ph.D. programs in nursing.”

For information on the program and admission requirements, Dr. Johnson may be contacted at 502-863-8086 or by email: Mark_Johnson(at)GeorgetownCollege.edu.