SBU's Bolivar campus set to graduate first PLBSN cohort on May 14

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Two and a half years after classes began for the Pre-Licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (PLBSN) program on Southwest Baptist University’s Bolivar campus, the first cohort will graduate on Friday, May 14.

And while it’s an exciting time for the graduates, it is also bittersweet for program coordinator and instructor Nancy Delmont, MSN, RN, CNE and her team.

First Pre-Licensure BSN students to graduate from SBU's Bolivar campus“The faculty have put in so much work to prepare these new graduates, and we are so excited to see them go off in the world; we feel like they’re really well-prepared,” Delmont said. “They’re an excellent group of students. We get a lot of positive feedback about their professionalism, integrity and quality of their work, so we feel like the hard work that we put in paid off in them. 

“It is exciting because it’s like watching your babies grow up at warp speed. But at the same time, it’s bittersweet because they're going to leave the nest, and they were our first babies. We’re excited and expect that they will do very well on their first their board exam. This will be our first NCLEX pass rate, which is very significant to graduates and our program.”

After a successful site visit from the Missouri State Board of Nursing in early January of 2019, the board approved an enrollment of 24 students to the Don and Carrie Babb Department of Nursing for the 2019 cohort. That first class began their studies on Jan. 23.

One member of that class is Amelia Masters of Kiron, Iowa, who said she is honored and humbled to be walking across the stage with her 19 fellow graduates.

“It’s kind of unprecedented,” said Masters, who was presented with the Florence Nightingale Award. “Whenever you’re part of something that has never been done before, there’s a certain ‘specialness’ about it that no one else will get to feel, and so you get really close with who you get to do it with.”

The Florence Nightingale Award recipient is voted on by the PLBSN Program faculty and presented to one student based upon: Servant Leadership – interaction with peers, faculty, clinical sites, the community, patients and their families; Academic Excellence – ability to apply their knowledge of theory and clinical concepts in the delivery of safe, quality, and compassionate patient care; and Professionalism – attendance and punctuality, positive presence in the classroom and clinical settings, passion for the profession of nursing.

Landon Fisher, a transfer student from Pleasant Hope, said the thought of being part of SBU’s first PLBSN cohort to graduate from Bolivar is “surreal.”

“You come in here and it just seems long – the five semesters – and you’re just ready to get started,” Fisher said. “But, honestly, it flew by and it’s just such a blessing to be able to be surrounded with people of a like faith. It’s an honor, really, to be part of the first cohort and help lay this foundation for, hopefully, a long time to come.”

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting the Spring 2020 semester, Delmont said that she and her team – Heather Daulton, MSN, RN; Blair Stockton, MSN, RN, OCN; Julie Wilken, MSN, RN; and Tori O’Brien, MSN, RN – did not see a drop-off with this cohort.

“I’ve got to give credit to an amazing group of faculty that put our students first,” Delmont said. “And while the experience wasn't the same as face-to-face, or patient-to-nurse, we provided experiences, virtual experiences, and the discussions that followed, to really work on their clinical reasoning, clinical judgment and reflection of practice. Those are things that are very significant in nursing that we also work on when we’re here. 

“When they came back, we actually worked that much harder to make sure that we had activities designed for them to ensure that they could still do the skills they had not been able to perform for months. Quite frankly, we didn't see any negative impact. I’ve been in nursing education for nine years and this is the best group of graduates I’ve ever seen.”

The PLBSN cohort, which is part of SBU’s College of Health Professions, will participate in the commencement ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center. Face coverings are required for all graduates and guests attending commencement and while on the SBU campus. A livestream of the commencement ceremonies will be available.

For more information about the commencement ceremonies, please visit or email the Office of the Provost at

PHOTO: Front row (left to right) Heather Daulton, MSN, RN; Nancy Delmont, MSN, RN, CNE and program coordinator; Julie Wilken, MSN, RN; Blair Stockton, MSN, RN, OCN; and Tori O’Brien, MSN, RN; (Second row) Jennifer Doyle, Taylor McKowen and Alexis Dock; (Third row) Hannah Blakley and Holliday Saxton; (Fourth row) Holly Thomas, Lindsey Appleby and Stevie-Lynn Robrahn; (Fifth row) Amelia Masters, Landon Fisher and Marissa Mangner; (Sixth row) Jessica Struckman, Esther Loser, Haley Butler; (Seventh row) Amanda Foster and Lauren Carter; (Eighth row) Marie Noyes, Jessica Weedin, Cat Kubacak and Laura Tuesburg.

*Published: 5-13-2021