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WKU bachelor of science in nursing program accepting more students

Starting this fall, more students will be accepted into WKU’s bachelor of science in nursing program.

Mary Bennett, director of the School of Nursing, said the number of openings has been doubled to 80. The school has temporary space designated in Tate Page Hall and has hired four additional faculty members to make the change possible. Four more will be hired next fall.

“We are really opening the doors much wider,” Dr. Bennett said. “More people are going to get into the door. If you want to become a nurse at WKU, you will never get a better chance.”

In the past WKU has turned away about half of the qualified applicants because of a lack of classroom space and faculty, Dr. Bennett said, and the same is true across the county. When coupled with a nationwide shortage of nurses, “we just needed to find a way to reduce the bottleneck in the educational system,” she added.

Dr. Bennett said she had been looking throughout Bowling Green for space to lease when Commonwealth Health Corp. approached WKU with plans for a new building.

The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex, an $18.4 million facility under construction on the hospital campus, will become the new home for nursing and physical therapy programs in fall 2013. WKU will lease about 80 percent of the building.

“We’re really going to have a nice facility for these two major health care programs,” she said.

In the meantime, temporary space became available in Tate Page Hall that will allow the nursing program to expand sooner. In addition, a large classroom in the Academic Complex has been turned into a lab.

Dr. Bennett said the minimum qualifications remain the same, including a 2.75 grade-point average and at least a grade of “C” in all science courses. The 40 additional slots will allow more qualified students to enter the program.

“For years people have heard that they shouldn’t even apply to WKU nursing because they couldn’t get in due to a lack of space,” Dr. Bennett said. “Now we want to say ‘There’s room for you at WKU.’ ”

Contact: Mary Bennett, (270) 745-3590.

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