Lyon College offering online nursing degree

From Region 8 News at Six
Published: Oct. 19, 2023 at 8:39 AM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT/Edited News Release) - In response to the Arkansas healthcare industry’s growing demand for registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees, Lyon College recently launched a new online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

Applications for the inaugural class, which begins in January 2024, are currently being accepted at

“Lyon College’s innovative program is designed to create more pathways to meet the growing demand for nurses in Arkansas and to equip working nurses to transfer their experience into leadership,” said Dr. Rebecca Le, program director. “Our goal is to empower registered nurses with the essential competencies demanded by modern healthcare.”

Developed in partnership with White River Health of Batesville and Arkansas community colleges, the Lyon College BSN program offers two distinct pathways:

The pre-nursing entry pathway prepares students for admission to an RN licensure program and completion of the BSN degree. Based on the completion of admission criteria, students may begin Lyon College courses before, during or after entering a nursing licensure program. Forty block credits will transfer from the RN licensure program to Lyon College.

“This early admissions program will accelerate the numbers of BSN-prepared nurses in our workforce while maximizing the graduate’s eligibility for diverse employment options,” Le said.

The post-nursing entry pathway is designed for nurses who have already earned the RN qualification and professional licensure. This completion program builds on and expands established nursing knowledge, skills and attitudes while providing research-based nursing science, principles of nursing leadership and a liberal arts foundation. Similar to the pre-nursing pathway, 40 block credits will transfer from the RN licensure program.

Newly released statistics from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) underscore the significance of higher nursing education in improving patient outcomes.

BSN-prepared nurses have demonstrated abilities that benefit patients and healthcare providers, including:

  • A 24 percent greater odds of survival among patients who experienced in-hospital cardiac arrest.
  • A 10 percent lower odds of death in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).
  • A 32 percent decrease in surgical mortality cases in hospitals that increased their proportion of BSN-prepared nurses over time.
  • A decrease in length of stay from 5.1 days to 4.7 days (7.8 decrease) in hospitals that increased their proportion of BSN-prepared nurses over time.

Hospitals staffed with 80 percent BSN-prepared nurses had 24.6 percent lower odds of inpatient mortality compared to those with only 30 percent BSN-prepared nurses.

“Lyon College’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is a testament to our commitment to advancing healthcare education,” said Lyon College Provost Dr. Kurt Grafton. “This program will empower our students to elevate their skills, enhance patient care, and make an even greater impact on our Arkansas communities.”

At $355 per credit hour with no additional fees, the Lyon College BSN program costs less per hour than a traditional full-time, in-person experience and creates more flexibility for working adults to access a top-tier healthcare degree.

Provost Grafton explained the new program is a sign of growth at Lyon College.

“As more and more people recognize that not all college degrees are the same, they’ve recognized the value of a Lyon College education, and as we have grown and added programs like the veterinary and dental program in Little Rock, we’re also expanding programs here in Batesville,” Grafton added.

For more information on the Lyon College RN to BSN program, please visit or contact Dr. Rebecca Le at