Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Comes to Southern Maryland

CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried

CSM, University of Maryland School of Nursing Sign Agreement April 8

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) signed an agreement of dual admission April 8 to bring a seamless transition from the Associate of Science in Nursing to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to Southern Maryland.

“Over the years, the CSM nursing program’s success has resulted in strong community partnerships such as collaborations between the college and regional health care facilities to provide support for health care education. Today, we celebrate another outstanding partnership,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

“CSM has established a solid reputation as the leading resource for accessible education and academic excellence to the citizens of Southern Maryland. It is vitally important to me that the college is always looking ahead for workforce disruptions,” said CSM Trustees Chair Michael L. Middleton on the looming need for nurses with a BSN to meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act. “If we don’t address this need, a critical shortage of nurses will be upon us in a very short time.”

“This effort has been fully supported by our local hospitals,” said Middleton. “Noel Cervino, president and CEO at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, was among the initial supporters providing critical input and strategic direction in crafting an approach during the inception phase. Together with Noel, Christine Wray, president of MedStar St. Mary's and MedStar Southern Maryland, and Calvert Memorial's Former CEO James Xinis have championed this initiative throughout the process. They all share in today's success as we announce this unique program.”

To fill the workforce need, CSM partnered with UMSON to design a dual admission program for current or incoming nursing students. Students apply to both schools simultaneously and progress through the nursing program satisfying requirements of both schools. In addition to transfer credits for completed coursework, UMSON will award students 30 credits toward their UMSON BSN upon verification of an active RN license. BSN coursework can be completed through Web hybrid courses taught on-site at CSM by UMSON faculty.

“This agreement is one of the milestones of this year [at UMSON] as we are celebrating our 125th anniversary as a school of nursing,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “I’m so excited and so pleased that this legacy in terms of the partnership with the College of Southern Maryland could be a part of our 125th celebration of nursing excellence for Maryland’s nurses.”

“The 2010 Institute of Medicine report [on the future of nursing] said that by 2020, 80 percent of our nurses need to hold a baccalaureate degree or higher. Baccalaureate programs in this country can’t meet that target; we can only meet it when we embrace and welcome these opportunities to partner together between associate degree and baccalaureate education,” said Kirschling.

“It is the associate degree nurse programs that bring a wide variety of diversity to our nursing workforce,” said CSM Health Sciences Division Chair Dr. Laura Polk. “One of the hallmarks of this agreement is that we are going to be able to meet with students very early in their education and help them identify a pathway so that they can complete general education credits that are required for both the associate and bachelor’s degrees,” said Polk. Students in the program will be granted special student status which will allow them to take UMSON courses while still working on their associate degree.

Students in the program will be granted special student status which allows them to take UMSON courses while still working on their associate degree.

For 40 years, CSM’s nursing department has been one of the region’s primary providers of quality healthcare training. Today, the college graduates about 90 nursing students each academic year with the majority finding employment in the Washington, D. C. metro area and Southern Maryland.

“This agreement is important to me because it means that students like me can continue our education toward a bachelor degree right here in Southern Maryland at a great nursing school that is highly respected,” said CSM Third-Semester Nursing Student Suzanne Hammett of Lexington Park.

Hammett is a mother of two young children who returned to school in order to create a better life for her family after her marriage ended. When her father suggested college and taking advantage of a second chance, Hammett chose nursing. “The labor and delivery nurses were so kind and caring when I had my daughters, I knew that if I had the opportunity I would like to pursue a career in nursing,” she said.

“A dual admission opportunity such as this one and having high quality academic resources available locally is particularly attractive to a student like me, as I appreciate the face-to-face instruction rather than learning in an online environment. The traditional classroom experience is much more conducive to fostering supportive relationships with my professors, and developing study groups with fellow students,” said Valerie Dowell of Lusby.

At age 38, Dowell was a single mother after the death of her husband. She chose to enter the nursing program because it provided a stable career and combined her humanitarian and medical interests.

“The dual admission articulation agreement expands the opportunity for students to succeed and pursue their lifelong goals right here in the community,” said Lindsey Acquaviva of Swan Point.

Acquaviva chose CSM for her education in nursing because of the credibility of the program and how highly recognized it is in the community, she said. “Nursing is such an exciting career option because it has so much to offer. In nursing you will find great job security and the opportunity to learn is endless.”

To view photos from the signing ceremony, visit

For information on CSM’s nursing program, visit