The state of Colorado recently passed new legislation enabling 13 institutions in the state’s system of community colleges to offer four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. The bill passed 12 to 1 in the Colorado House of Representatives Health, Insurance and Environment committee, setting a landmark example for other states looking for solutions to nursing shortages.
The new legislation seeks to address an imminent healthcare crisis in Colorado. Community colleges already teach and train high quality registered nurses, and with an acute shortage of nursing professionals with four-year degrees, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) sees this as a scalable solution to address the overwhelming shortage of bachelor-prepared nurses.
System President Dr. Nancy McCallin tells GlobeNewswire.com, “We greatly appreciate having had the opportunity for a thorough and forthright discussion of the merits of this legislation. Our colleges have made significant investments in state-of-the-art equipment and simulation labs to create robust nursing programs that can be scaled to offer four-year BSN degrees. Thus, this legislation provides a cost-effective way to expand the number of BSN nursing graduates in Colorado.”
Three community college students testified in favor of the bill, all wanting to pursue BSN degrees but concerned about the cost and logistical issues of transferring to another school. This legislation is important for current nursing students and for future generations who will benefit from local and affordable programs. Nursing students come from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds, so it is also important that they have an equally diverse range of opportunities to acquire additional education and training.
To learn more about Colorado’s new legislation to allow community colleges to offer four-year BSN degrees, visit here.
The Empire State recently became the first state in the nation to require nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo at the beginning of January, the bill requires that new nurses obtain a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of initial licensure. This type of legislation, commonly known as “BSN in 10,” has been pushed across the nation, but New York is the first state to actually pass a law.
The legislation takes effect immediately but the requirement that nurses obtain a baccalaureate degree or higher within 10 years of licensure will begin in 30 months. It does not affect nurses already in practice.
The drive for “BSN in 10” legislation has been largely fueled by research. Linda H. Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has published research showing that employing more nurses with bachelor’s degrees improves patient outcomes. Her research has also found that for each 10% increase in nurses with BSN degrees, there was a 5% decline in risk-adjusted patient mortality.
The Institute of Medicine has also been a large driver for this type of nursing legislation following their 2010 report, The Future of Nursing, which recommends that 80% of nurses have at least a BSN by 2020. New York nursing programs have been in support as well, including Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. According to HealthLeadersMedia.com, Sullivan-Marx released the following statement:
“NYU has been a strong supporter of ‘BSN in 10’ legislation, given its implication for improving patient care. Research shows that patients benefit from baccalaureate-prepared nurses—in fact, several large studies show that it saves lives. Earning bachelor’s degrees also creates opportunities for career mobility and leadership among nurses.”
The bill also establishes a commission to evaluate and report on barriers to entry into the nursing profession and make recommendations on increasing availability and accessibility of nursing programs. As the first state to set “BSN in 10” legislation, New York will set an example going forward on how this type of legislation can improve patient outcomes. To learn more about New York’s “BSN in 10” law, visit here.
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.