Making it Simpler for Students to Earn Bachelor Degree in Health Sciences

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DALLAS TOWNSHIP -- Misericordia University and Luzerne County Community College are teaming up to make it simpler for students to get a bachelors degree in the health sciences.

The new program easily transfers credits from the community college directly into three health-related majors at Misericordia.

“It would be very beneficial to have programs that make it easier access because it is such a great profession,” Misericordia physical therapy major Kathryn Hefner said.

Misericordia is already accepting applications for its new exercise science program and it's offering two new degree completion programs in respiratory therapy and surgical technology.

“Almost 600,000 students a year now enroll in a community college, of that number 60% of them go on to get a four-year degree. We want to give access to every student,” Misericordia University President Thomas Botzman said.

The partnership makes it so that community college students can finish their four-year degree all while staying close to home.

“Both accessible and affordable pathways to that bachelor degree, where they don't have to think about leaving this region in order to have a good sustaining paying job,” Luzerne County Community College President Thomas Leary said.

School officials said collaborations like this are desperately needed right now, as more people in the health care field retire.

“What we're looking at is the baby boomers. As they are now set and ready to retire, who is going to replace them? We need to have our students get into the health sciences and think about replacing the baby boomers,” Dr. Deborah Vilegi-Payne, Dean of Nursing at Luzerne County Community College, said.

“This place has given me a great basis of where I want to go later in the future,” Misericordia nursing major Michael Ryan said.

The joint program begins in the spring semester.

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