In an effort to increase the number of registered nurses in Nebraska with bachelor’s degrees, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing will provide early, guaranteed admission in the RN to BSN program for qualified students enrolled in associate degree nursing programs at the six community colleges in the state.
Southeast Community College offers its Associate Degree Nursing program at its Lincoln Campus. April Minster is the program chair.
“The Associate Degree Nursing program at Southeast Community College provides quality, affordable opportunities for entry-level practice as a registered nurse,” Minster said. “The Associate Degree Nursing program is excited to work in collaboration with UNMC to provide ADN graduates a continuous pathway to higher education and advanced practice.”
The intent of the Nebraska RN-BSN Collaborative is to encourage seamless transfer opportunities for students and enhance communication between the institutions. The agreement also is one strategy toward Nebraska’s goal of attaining 80 percent of registered nurses with BSN degrees, said Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing.
Other community colleges in the agreement are Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Central Community College in Grand Island, Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, and Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.
“This will be a wonderful opportunity for students and will help boost the BSN pipeline in the state,” Sebastian said. “One of the most exciting things is each community college worked with our faculty to design the program in a way that will work optimally for students and strengthen opportunities for seamless progression from the associate to the baccalaureate degree.”
She said the program is streamlined and was customized to meet the needs of registered nurses.
Students at the community colleges still will have opportunities to apply for any UNMC nursing program of their choice, Sebastian said, but the agreement provides a unique early entry option for students who meet the qualifications.
Community college students approved for early admission will have completed at least one quarter of nursing coursework and have a minimum grade-point average of 3.25. Students will be admitted pending completion of the ADN program and attaining their registered nursing license.
The RN to BSN program requires 20 credit hours and is delivered online. It is designed to bridge the gap between the credit hours students already have taken in their associate degree programs and what they need for a BSN. Flexibility of the program enables students to finish it full time in two semesters or part-time over three years.
Applications will be accepted beginning in February for the semester that begins in August 2016. Guaranteed spaces will be made available at the beginning of each academic year for a select number of students.
Lynnette Leeseberg Stamler, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for academic programs at the UNMC College of Nursing, said the RN to BSN program provides skills and knowledge in leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, best practices, patient safety, and quality improvement. It also provides education in population-based care.
According to a 2012 report by the Nebraska Center for Nursing, 48 percent of the 20,434 registered nurses working in Nebraska have earned a BSN. About 51 percent of nurses in the nation have a BSN degree, Stamler said.