RED WING -- Minnesota State College Southeast is one step closer to rolling out a new Associate of Science in Nursing.

The Minnesota Board of Nursing has approved Phase 1 of the college’s process to develop the program.

“We are building this program from the ground up to meet the educational needs of tomorrow’s nurses and employers,” said MSC Southeast Dean of Health Sciences Jennifer Eccles. “The proposed program will be submitted for candidacy for national accreditation, with a vision to complete full national accreditation prior to graduation of the first cohort of students.”

The college previously had an Associates Degree in Nursing, but suspended it in 2016 due to being unable to secure accreditation status from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

“That’s the major accreditor of nursing programs,” Communications Director Katryn Conlin. “And we had been applying for accreditation, but we weren’t able to meet their standards.”

The Associate of Science in Nursing is separate from the existing practical nursing program.

Conlin said that despite making the decision to suspend the former RN program, students still enrolled were able to finish their degree before heading out to work or continue their education. The last group from that program graduated within the past year.

The new program plan entails students taking at least two semesters of college-level general education courses prior to beginning nursing classes. They would start with biology, chemistry, psychology, English and communications in the first semester. Then they would apply for entry to the ASN program.

In the second semester, students would continue with anatomy/physiology, chemistry, lifespan psychology and biology while their applications are under review by the college’s nursing department.

Once admitted, they would take three additional semesters of nursing coursework at MSC Southeast.

“We are already working with a nationally renowned provider of nursing curriculum resources to design a modern learning experience, complete with high fidelity virtual skills labs and simulations, online student learning materials, faculty support and national benchmarking of student progress,” Eccles said.

Students can begin at MSC Southeast as early as January 2020 on the general education requirements, which are similar to other Associate of Science in Nursing programs in Minnesota colleges, according to a news release.

“We recommend that students speak with an MSC Southeast admissions representative for detailed information on how to prepare for this proposed program launch,” Eccles said.

More information about MSC Southeast’s proposed program, including campus start dates, tuition costs and application requirements, will be available at a later date.