Published on June 09, 2022

University of Louisville Expands Local Nursing Program

The University of Louisville School of Nursing-Owensboro BSN Extension has announced it is increasing class enrollments in an effort to provide more Bachelor of Science in Nursing-trained graduates in the Daviess County area. Amy Higdon, assistant dean of Owensboro BSN programs, said Wednesday that the program is increasing enrollment capacity by 30%.

“We are going from being able to admit 70 students per year to 100 students per year,” she said. “Really, we have done that to try to help with the workforce challenges that are happening, particularly with nursing, but all different arenas of healthcare right now.”

Higdon said the nursing program began in 2009 as a collaboration between the University of Louisville and Owensboro Health with the purpose of increasing the number of nurses in the area.

The increase in enrollment is effective immediately, with new classes starting every January, May and August. There are currently two programs available to students interested in obtaining a BSN degree.

“We have what we call our traditional BSN program, and that takes two years to complete,” Higdon said. “Then we have just launched in May of this year an accelerated BSN program, and that program takes 15 months to complete. The big difference in the two is that you have to have a previous bachelor’s degree in something else in order to be eligible for the accelerated program.”

Higdon said the entire program can be completed in Owensboro, including both classes and clinicals, with graduates receiving a degree from the University of Louisville. Gracie Kemplin, a May 2022 graduate of the program, said Louisville School of Nursing Owensboro BSN Extension has served as more than a nursing school for her.

“During my time in the program, I not only gained the knowledge and skills it takes to be an excellent nurse, but I gained unbreakable bonds and friendships to last a lifetime,” she said. “This program pushed me both academically and personally, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.”Higdon said she sees a direct correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire to see the program, which features 15 instructors, expand to accommodate more students than ever before.

“We know that nurses, that first year of the pandemic, they were the heroes of healthcare, and then we saw in year two they were exhausted and there was a lot of burnout and compassion fatigue,” she said. “We really want to try to help with that shortage, and we know through our existence in the community already that we have graduated some really successful and highly-skilled nurses, so we know that we have the potential to produce even more of those.”

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.