After graduating our first LPN students in spring 2014, in fall 2015, BCC began the RN program with 10 students. BCC nursing students are engaged in a regimented and rigorous nursing program that offers core nursing curriculum, clinical experiences, preceptorships for career development, and has gained state-wide attention as a possible partner to other TCU nursing programs. Nursing students are engaged with a state of the art nursing simulation lab, which has been instrumental in providing critical skill development for aspiring nursing students. BCC nursing students are expected to meet high standards of care and are responsible to prepare themselves for taking licensure examinations.
Some nursing courses are offered online, which is building greater capacity for BCC to offer more distance learning opportunities beyond our service area. The majority of our nursing students are Native (primarily Blackfeet), therefore to accommodate the needs of students engaged in the nursing curriculum, the Makoyi (Wolf) Society was established to combine support efforts to meet the academic and personal needs of our students. Society members also include staff from around campus who are active in supporting Nursing Division activities and accomplishing goals. Students who wish, have access to cultural effects such as sweet grass to strengthen efforts to address whole student wellness.
Furthermore, the BCC Nursing Division recognizes that our students need to possess the skills to integrate awareness of diversity into their practice, therefore we are preparing them to work in Indian Country and beyond. Students have been welcomed in Billings, Deer Lodge, and Columbia Falls as clinical partners. Our first LPN cohort exceeded Montana Board of Nursing requirements by exhibiting a 75% NCLEX pass rate; in spring 2015 our first cohort of RN students graduated, which sets the stage for our program to expand and seek national accreditation. Nursing Division faculty meet with students individually and in groups for tutoring/mentoring sessions. We partner with students in their education by offering them the ability to learn and use strategies such as case studies, modified world café, and oral discussions among their peers.