McKendree University and SIH Launch RN-to-BSN Partnership

Classes to Begin at Southern Illinois Healthcare in August

Lebanon, Ill. — A new academic partnership between McKendree University and the Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) system will enable nurses employed by SIH to take RN-to-BSN classes at the SIH Patient Simulation Center at the John A. Logan College campus in Carterville, starting in August. Nurses who work at SIH will have a convenient option to complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“We will tailor the course work from the perspective of the SIH system, to meet their needs according to their policies,” said Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, chair of the nursing division at McKendree University. “Partnerships such as this can assist organizations, such as SIH, in ensuring their RNs have the opportunity to obtain a BSN degree. We look forward to teaching their nurses in their new state-of-the-art teaching facility.”

“We are pleased to support SIH in its efforts to ensure a highly educated workforce, and we appreciate the confidence that SIH has in McKendree’s nursing programs,” added Dr. Christine Bahr, provost.

“SIH is thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with McKendree University and offer this advantage to our nurses,” Jennifer Campos, SIH director of nursing education. “Nurses with BSN degrees are well prepared with the critical thinking and leadership skills to meet the demands placed on today’s nurse. Several research studies over the past two decades have shown the association between BSN-prepared nurses and an overall improvement in patient outcomes. This is evidenced by decreased mortality rates, decreased failure to rescue rates, and an overall decrease in complications. Providing an opportunity to increase the number of BSN-prepared nurses at SIH allows us to offer optimal patient care for our community.”

Kelli Whittington, a McKendree University nursing instructor who will serve as the nursing faculty liaison, said a goal of the partnership is to “providing academic tools and research to real world scenarios in order to foster engagement.”

McKendree’s RN-to-BSN program advances the education of RNs to further enhance safe, high quality patient care. It builds on the core competencies and knowledge the students bring from previous academic nursing programs, and expands on professional nursing values. The result is a deeper and broader scope of professional practice and professional role identity. Graduates of the program are generalists with the necessary base for graduate education and continuing professional development to be leaders in practice and in the nursing profession.

Classes will begin on August 25. For more information, call (618) 537-6834 or visit