With a critical shortage of nurses predicted by 2025, a nationwide initiative began encouraging nurses with associate degrees to obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020. The shortage is expected to hit the state of Arizona particularly hard, which led Northern Arizona University (NAU) to find new ways to combat this issue. As a solution to the expected nursing shortage, NAU created a Personalized Learning program, an online competency-based program that allows students to work and progress at their own rate. The program is designed to fit into the schedules of working professionals, with a learning platform centered around real-world career knowledge to build on already mastered experiences.
Laura Blank, associate clinical professor and faculty mentor in the NAU School of Nursing, tells News.NAU.edu, “Arizona is predicted to take the biggest hit with 28,100 fewer nurses than necessary. One reason for this shortage is lack of nursing faculty.”
This degree became the perfect option for Danielle Cox, a charge nurse who already had 5 years of working experience in the field. Cox’s family attended NAU and she wanted to follow in their footsteps by going back to nursing school there but her 12-hour graveyard shifts in the ICU at Flagstaff Medical Center made it impossible for her to earn a BSN without quitting her full-time job.
She began looking for other ways to obtain her degree and found NAU’s Personalized Learning program. Cox explains how it became the perfect program her for: “I was able to work my stretch of night shifts and then dedicate my days off to school. Having no deadlines or due dates made going to school while working simple.” She also just became the first Personalized Learning student to graduate from the RN-to-BSN program this semester after completing the 33 credits she needed for her degree in less than six months. Now she plans to pursue her master’s degree in nursing and possibly start teaching.
Thanks to NAU’s Personalized Learning program, Arizona is now one step closer to combatting the shortage of nurses expected to soon hit the state. To learn more about the program, visit here.
Nurses with research doctorates are vital in improving patient outcomes and quality of care. However, less than 5 percent of nurses have PhDs, the education needed to perform independent research according to the National Institute of Nursing Research. The aging and retirement of current nurse researchers indicates a coming shortage of nurse scientists that could impact future nurse research contributions to healthcare delivery.
To help prevent this shortage, the Hillman Program in Nursing Innovation developed the idea for a BSN to PhD program to accelerate education opportunities for new and young nurse researchers. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) was the first school to implement the idea, and took it a step further by developing an immersion experience in clinical nursing practice for PhD students through a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Hillman Scholar Madelyne Z. Greene says, “Research shows that the average age of students entering nursing PhD programs is early 40s, which is far older than many other disciplines. This shortens the duration of nurse scientists’ productive careers as researchers, educators and innovative leaders. There is a compelling need for increased innovation in preparing new nurse scientists, leaders and innovators earlier in their careers.”
Scholars in Penn’s BSN to PhD program are both undergraduate and PhD students at the same time, as early as their junior undergraduate year or upon entry to the second degree accelerated BSN program. Students achieve rapid progression through the rigorous coursework by replacing specific required undergraduate courses like healthcare policy and research methods with graduate-level versions. They also enroll in PhD core courses and advanced coursework in their selected research content area during undergraduate semesters instead of taking electives.
The truly unique aspect of the program is the seven-month fellowship, which is distinct from existing residencies for new nurse graduates. It includes a high level of clinical and scholarly mentoring, shorter program length, and waiver of the usual requirement of committing to work for the sponsoring institution for a set time upon graduation.
To learn more about Penn Nursing’s BSN to PhD program and nursing fellowship, visit here.
The Stony Brook University School of Nursing and Suffolk County Community College, both located on Long Island, NY, recently announced they are launching the Suffolk-Stony Brook Nursing First Program. Beginning in September 2017, the new program will take on an inaugural class of 65 students who will be accepted into an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing Program at Suffolk and then be pre-selected to move directly into a Registered Nurse BSN program at Stony Brook.
Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the Stony Brook School of Medicine, tells the Stony Brook Newsroom, “The purpose of Nursing First is to facilitate academic progression to higher levels of education in nursing. It will also help build a stronger nursing workforce on Long Island and in New York State.” Dr. Lee Anne Xippolitos, Dean of the Stony Brook University School of Nursing, explains the need for the nursing program partnership:
“Our colleagues at Suffolk do an outstanding job in preparing and diversifying our nursing workforce with the selection and training of future nurses. However, with dramatic changes in an ever-changing healthcare landscape, the need to educate nurses who are skilled at the highest levels is necessary. This program provides the students with a wonderful bridge to that education.”
Students in the program will take part in the joint nursing program which creates a pathway for students to move directly from the largest SUNY associate degree program to the best bachelor’s program in the SUNY system. With an educational model emphasizing the importance of smooth academic transition from associate to baccalaureate nursing programs, Nursing First students will be well prepared for a diverse nursing workforce and fast-paced healthcare landscape.
To learn more about the new Suffolk-Stony Brook Nursing First Program, visit here.
Florida International University (FIU) is helping recent veterans, current reservists, and national guard members prepare for a future as nursing professionals. Their Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program was founded in 2013 and opened to service members who trained or served in select military classifications and were discharged in the past two years, or five years for veterans who were employed in civilian healthcare roles as a combat medic, flight medic, or hospital corpsmen.
The VBSN program is part of FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and has seen almost 100 graduates since the program opened. Curriculum is designed for accelerated graduation, and credit is offered through examination for military training when applicable. Graduates of the program are not expected to return to the armed services, although some do, while others choose to transition to civilian life.
The VBSN program is a project sponsored and funded by a grant from the Health Research Services Administration which runs through December. After that point, students in the program will be eligible to transfer into non-military accelerated programs. Students are also assigned a dedicated advisor, program coach, and mentoring from a veteran registered nurse. Dr. Strickland, Dean of the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences, tells MiamiTodayNews.com,
“By having a group of veterans come together in a cohort – as classmates – is a real advantage to them after coming out of the military and for adjusting to life as a new nurse.”
To learn more about FIU’s VBSN program, visit here.
In the midst of a nationwide nursing shortage, Central Texas is feeling the demand for BSN-educated nurses. The Austin Chamber of Commerce reported in January that there are more than 1,600 local job openings for registered nurses. To meet the demand for registered nurses, Concordia University is offering a new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to help graduate nurses into the field at a faster pace.
Concordia’s regular BSN program requires two academic years to complete, including a summer off in between. Students who begin the fast-track program in August will take their coursework online, complete the same clinical hours, and skip the summer semester off. Working faster and harder, fast-track students will graduate a semester earlier and be employable a semester earlier. Ideal candidates for the fast-track program are those who already hold degrees and want to change careers, or students who have already completed some of the prerequisites.
The first cohort of students will be a group of 18-25, then Concordia will accept a new group of students each semester following. Nursing is a valuable and practical career option right now, even for adults looking to change careers, because it offers a job right out of school. But unfortunately, many local community colleges and universities turn students away from their nursing programs because they don’t have the capacity to teach larger classes of students. Fast-track nursing programs like the one being offered at Concordia are trying to fix that problem.