Belmont Abbey College ventures into a new area of unprecedented value to our community, to our students, and to the future of the college, with the announcement of its first new healthcare education academic program and its first healthcare degree—a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). With anticipated growth of health care employment in the decades to come, the introduction of this new healthcare-specific academic program and nursing degree will address the career needs of our students and serve the coming needs in our community. In development since 2018, the new healthcare education programs will benefit from the contributions and collaboration with CaroMont Health, Gaston College, Gaston County Public Schools, and Holy Angels. A cross-functional team of faculty and staff from Biology, Business, Theology, Student Life, and Academic Affairs, together with our community partners, developed the new programs for the college.
Consistent with our mission, the BSN degree will include Belmont Abbey College’s core, along with a Catholic Bioethics class. Students will apply for admission to the BSN program during the spring semester of their sophomore year and must complete and pass a criminal background check, drug screening, and have current immunizations in hand. All students completing the program will have a clinical or professional practice placement during their senior year.
Beginning fall 2020, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Belmont Abbey College will admit pre-Nursing freshmen who will be on track to apply for admission as our first cohort of Nursing program candidates in their junior year. Belmont Abbey College will seek accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approval from the North Carolina State Board of Nursing. Graduates will work primarily in acute care, long-term care, and ambulatory care in hospital, school, travel, and community settings.
Belmont Abbey College has hired a Nursing Program Director, Dr. Carolyn Harmon, who will officially join the college on June 1, 2020, to help shepherd the Board of Nursing and program accreditation approvals. Dr. Harmon comes to Belmont Abbey from the Carolinas College of Heath Sciences in Charlotte, and the University of South Carolina with extensive experience in course development in the Nursing field.
The BSN is a traditional four-year degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA in all major courses, no more than two attempts per course, and at least 6 credit hours of work in clinical practical settings.
The establishment of this new healthcare education program, which will be followed soon by others, fits into the Benedictine and Catholic heritage of Belmont Abbey College and establish a new area for charity by our students to our community. In addition the complementary nature of our healthcare education programs will provide pathways to graduation for students who change fields. The new programs will reinvigorate the already strong connections with local high schools promoting health fields, Gaston College’s ADN program, and of course CaroMont Health.
“The introduction of a Nursing degree program at Belmont Abbey College, is a prayer answered, and presages a joyous new era for Belmont Abbey College. I look forward with gratitude on the impact our college will make on our hometown and beyond. To connect the history of our monks who sought to bring education to the south, to now bringing the very hands and feet of care to the people of our community is sublimely satisfying,” said Dr. Bill Thierfelder president of Belmont Abbey College. “The relationship with CaroMont Health, Gaston College, and the Gaston County Public Schools, will bear fruit for many years to come.”
To stay updated on the progress of the new healthcare education programs at Belmont Abbey College visit healthcare.bac.edu.