Halifax Community College’s nursing program received approval to operate as a new program from the North Carolina Board of Nursing. Kelley Harvey, school chair for nursing and allied health, said not having a nursing program was never a consideration for college officials.

“Our next step is to get the syllabus together and to make a few minor changes,” she said.

The nursing program will have the same faculty and classes with students not seeing much difference.

“I’m hoping students will see more consistency,” Harvey said. “We don’t have to compromise with three other schools. Now we (faculty) can get together and make decisions we can carry out.”

For the last 37 years, the college has been a part of the Nash-Edgecombe-Wilson-Halifax Nursing Consortium, an affiliation of Nash Community College, Edgecombe Community College, Wilson Technical Community College and Halifax Community College.

Harvey said the consortium started because each school had a small nursing program and was struggling to stay afloat.

“But now all four have grown,” she said. “In fact, nursing (programs) across the state have grown. Each program is now large enough to stand on their own and meet the needs of their students.”

There are 320 students in the registered nurse program, and 96 in the licensed practical nurse program in the consortium.

Currently, Halifax Community College has 21 students in the second-level registered nurse program, 24 students as first-level registered nurses and 18 students in the licensed practical nurse program in the consortium.

“It’s a good number,” Harvey said. “We would love for it to be more.”

Students who entered the nursing program in Fall 2010 will be the last class under the consortium.

The students coming into the program during Fall 2011 will be under the college’s nursing program. The first class of licensed practical nurses will be July 2012 and registered nurses will be May 2013.

Dr. Harriet Morrison, dean of curriculum programs, said the college hopes to establish an even greater program for students.

“We have some of the best nursing instructors in the N.C. Community College System,” she said. “Our goal is to provide the best care possible for our community.”