The Francis Marion University Nursing Program prepares graduates to function competently as caring professional nurses in a variety of healthcare settings. The program endeavors to instill in learners the value of lifelong learning.
Beginning in 1982, Francis Marion University played host to a satellite RN to BSN program of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), College of Nursing. Based on regional need, the South Carolina Board of Nursing and South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved a pre-licensure BSN program and in the Fall of 1998, the first class was admitted. Throughout the twenty-two year history of the collaborative relationship, FMU has provided pre-nursing courses, on-campus facilities in the McNair Science Building, such as classrooms, offices, and learning laboratory, library support, and has had occasion to assist in obtaining state appropriations for the program. The program was administered as a remote campus of the College of Nursing, MUSC. Faculty and staff were employees of MUSC.
There was strong community support for a baccalaureate nursing program at Francis Marion University. A formal needs assessment was conducted and the Colleagues in Caring project highlighted the fact that the Pee Dee was the only region in South Carolina without a freestanding baccalaureate nursing program. Additionally, this region had the lowest percentage of baccalaureate nursing graduates in the State. The Office of Research and Statistics published South Carolina nursing workforce data for 2013, which showed that only 41% of nurses in South Carolina have the baccalaureate degree. The increasing population in the Pee Dee, the growth in the elderly population and the expansion of healthcare facilities in the region (much of which is taking place in complex health care settings) have made the need for the nursing programs at FMU greater than ever.
The FMU Board of Trustees formally established the Department of Nursing on May 28, 2004. In June 2004, Francis Marion University and the Medical University of South Carolina signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which provided the guidelines and time frames for the transfer of the satellite Bachelor of Science (Pre-licensure BSN and RN to BSN) program offered on the FMU campus. Subsequently, FMU received approval from the South Carolina Board of Nursing (March 17, 2005) and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (May 5, 2005) to assume administrative direction.
Due to demand in the Pee Dee Region, FMU began a Master’s of Science (MSN) program in January 2013. Two MSN tracks have begun; the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Nurse Educator. Graduates of both tracks will decrease the need for advanced practice nurses in the Pee Dee region.