Accelerated Degree Program Accepting Applications through Jan. 30: UA College of Nursing Sees 48 Percent Increase in Undergraduate Admissions Thanks to Fast-Track Bachelor's Degree Program
The University of Arizona College of Nursing is accepting applications through Jan. 30 for June 7 admission to its 14-month Accelerated BSN Partnership Program for College Graduates, a fast-paced program to prepare individuals - with earned college degrees in non-nursing fields - for a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
Thanks in large part to this innovative initiative, the College of Nursing saw admission to its baccalaureate program increase by 48 percent this year. This growth is consistent with a national trend: The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AANC) recently reported enrollments in entry-level baccalaureate programs in nursing increased by 15.9 percent in fall 2003 over last year. Although this increase continues a three-year upward trend, this growth still is insufficient to address the current RN shortage, which is expected to intensify over the next decade, according to AACN.
In June 2002, the UA College of Nursing, Carondelet Health Network and University Medical Center began this collaboration, in which 48 selected students had their tuition entirely covered by either Carondelet or UMC; after graduation they are committed to work for one of the health care organizations for two years. (Cost to the health organization partners is $27, 500 per student.) In June 2004, Tucson Medical Center will join UMC and Carondelet, bringing the number of sponsored students to 64.
The College of Nursing program provides financial support for mature individuals with proven academic track records to "re-career" as nurses. To the extent possible, all clinical educational experiences for students enrolled in the program will be conducted in the sponsoring health care organization.
In the past six months, more than 800 prospective students have contacted the College of Nursing Office of Student Affairs to inquire about the program (see contact information below). Monthly informational meetings on the program continue to draw individuals from as far away as Wisconsin, New York and Washington.
Admission to the program continues to be highly competitive, with about three applicants expected per opening, according to the College of Nursing. Students admitted in the first class ranged in age from 25 to 52 with a broad spectrum of baccalaureate degrees and vocational experiences - a teacher, a physical therapist, an engineer, a research associate, an EMT, a military officer and a minister, among others. Although all graduates must fulfill a two-year work commitment in Tucson, 20 percent of the students moved to Arizona from other states. The first class of the Partnership Program will graduate in August and then prepare to take the RN licensure examination. Preparations already are being planned to welcome this new RN workforce into University Medical Center and Carondelet Health Network by early fall.
Marjorie Isenberg, DNSc, RN, FAAN, Dean of the College of Nursing, said, "This program is a `win-win-win' situation in which all the collaborators and the Southern Arizona community will benefit. The health care partners are addressing workforce shortages by investing in their employees of the future; the College of Nursing will have the necessary resources to expand its capacity to graduate excellent nurses for our state; and the students will have the opportunity to prepare (tuition-free) for their careers as professional nurses in a fast-track program This community partnership can be seen in the context of a national trend in which hospitals are playing a larger role to help expand nursing programs. The innovative degree program offers the most expedient way to begin a career in the nursing profession."
According to AANC, nursing schools throughout the nation have been successful in expanding student capacity despite a growing shortage of nurse faculty, deep cuts in state funding and competition for clinical placement sites needed to educate nursing students. Nursing programs at colleges and universities cite many reasons for the enrollment increases, including forming partnerships between schools and clinical settings to support mutual needs; bringing "career-changers" into the profession through accelerated degree programs; advocating for more federal funding for nursing education; and reaching out to men and students from diverse backgrounds, according to AANC.
Please Note: For application and information, please visit: http://www.nursing.arizona.edu or call 1-800-288-6158 or 626-3808.