TROY nursing program turns 50

The new group of enrolled nursing students this semester is the 50th in TROY's history.

The new group of enrolled nursing students this semester is the 50th in TROY's history.

For the last five decades and counting, TROY has educated, molded and empowered nursing professionals through its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

This semester is a landmark one for Troy University’s School of Nursing: the 50th group of nursing students is enrolled and taking classes.

“It means that we have been a strong member of the community for the last 50 years,” said Dr. Wade Forehand, Director of the School of Nursing. “We have supplied quality prepared nurses who are able to meet the healthcare needs not just in our local area, but across the nation as well.”

The Alabama Legislature passed a resolution establishing the University’s School of Nursing in 1969, with the first class of BSN students enrolling that fall and graduating in 1973.

That initial group built the foundations of what has become a nationally respected school that produces successful professionals every year.

“They paved the way for future graduates,” Forehand said. “They went out into the world and set the standard for what being a TROY graduate means. They built our reputation. Certainly there were adjustments made on what they learned as they went through. It allowed us to know what worked, how we could improve things and what facilities we need.”

The University’s BSN program has been continuously accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (formerly the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission) since 1974, and its success has helped pave the way for TROY’s School of Nursing to continue to add academic programs through the years.

Today, the School of Nursing provides students with opportunities to earn their associate, bachelor’s and master’s in nursing and their Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The school has seen its scope expand to all four Alabama campuses and online, including the BSN program coming to the Dothan Campus in 2016.

“From the beginning to now, our focus on students, our focus on patient safety, our focus best practices, those things are the mainstays,” Forehand said. “Technology, things we’ve done to improve patient care, looking at evidence better than we have in the past, those are all things that have been built and developed to bring the curriculum to where we’re at today.”

Many of the faculty members in the school today are graduates of the program, including Forehand, who completed his BSN at TROY in 2005.

“We have an excellent group of faculty members that care about the students and who want students to be successful,” he said. “Our faculty are here many countless hours. We prepare students, as opposed to just giving them information. We make sure they’re taking in that information so that when they finish our program, they’re successful.”

Appropriately, the school has some major events planned during the fall to celebrate its history, including a celebration and open house on Sept. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m., a Homecoming celebration and the creation of a special 50th anniversary commemorative pin.

Forehand said the school welcomes alumni to visit and interact with the current class of students. “We’re always excited for alumni to visit, walk the halls with us, give guest lectures, anything of the sort,” he said. “We have lots of graduates and alumni who are in the community working in healthcare who come to recruit students for their hospitals. It’s always neat to see the alumni coming back here and contributing.”