University of Arkansas School of Nursing Launches New Online LPN to BSN Program

University of Arkansas School of Nursing Launches New Online LPN to BSN Program

The University of Arkansas (U of A) Eleanor Mann School of Nursing is launching a new online program for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to complete their bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN). The program will begin in the fall but students can apply now. 

U of A’s new online LPN to BSN program will help meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation from 2015 that 80 percent of nurses in the United States hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020. The program will also benefit graduates who will become more competitive in the nursing job market and increase their earning potential. 

Susan Patton, director of the U of A School of Nursing, tells, “In order to face the challenges of an aging population, a dynamic health care environment and a pending nursing shortage, the BSN degree is becoming the new standard for registered nurses. Our BSN programs are comprehensive and offer knowledge that can be applied in all health care settings such as critical care, primary care, public health and mental health.”

The new LPN to BSN program was created to meet the needs of working licensed practical nurses who require a flexible option to finish their degrees. The required clinical hours can be completed in the student’s local area to avoid travel to campus. Courses are offered in 8-week sessions each fall and spring.

To be eligible for the program, students must be a licensed practical nurse with at least 2,000 hours of work experience at the LPN level in the last 12-24 months. Applicants must also have 48 hours of prerequisite courses completed with a minimum 2.8 GPA. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

To learn more about the University of Arkansas Nursing’s new LPN to BSN program, visit here

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dedicates Atrium To Former Dean Colleen Conway-Welch

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dedicates Atrium To Former Dean Colleen Conway-Welch

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) has named the atrium in its new building after former dean Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, FAAN, FACNM, who served as dean for 29 years and is credited with transforming nursing education at Vanderbilt and nationally.

Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, VUSN Dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing at VUSN, tells, “Under Colleen’s direction, Vanderbilt School of Nursing became a leader in nursing education, practice and research. In her nearly three decades as dean, the school educated thousands of nurses who changed — and continue to change — health care at all levels and for many people. Her impact cannot be overstated.”

The atrium is part of a new $23.6 million Vanderbilt Nursing building. The atrium will serve as the main entrance to the school and connect all four of the nursing school’s buildings together. Norman thanked the trustees of Conway-Welch’s estate and the Colleen Conway-Welch Family Foundation for providing the funds for the atrium and for their vision for honoring the late dean during a dedication ceremony on June 5. 

The four-story atrium features a floor-to-roof glass wall, an artisan-crafted wall constructed from a tree removed from the site, a wide staircase designed to encourage movement and interaction, and plenty of space for student study and student-faculty engagement.

Conway-Welch served as VUSN dean from 1984 to 2013, when she retired and was named dean emerita by the university. She died from cancer in October 2018, four months before the building was completed. 

To learn more about the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s new nursing building featuring an atrium dedicated to former dean Colleen Conway-Welch, visit here

Nurse of the Week: UAB Nursing Professor Maria Shirey, PhD, Named AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year

Nurse of the Week: UAB Nursing Professor Maria Shirey, PhD, Named AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year

Our Nurse of the Week is Maria Shirey, PhD, a professor and associate dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing who was recently named the American Organization of Nurse Executives Foundation (AONE) Nurse Researcher of the Year. The award recognizes her outstanding contributions to nursing and health systems research.

Shirey has been recognized internationally for her research in nursing leadership and management. Her research has addressed multiple AONE priorities, including developing core competencies of nurse leaders across the care continuum to support current and emerging roles; supporting the design and implementation of care delivery and health management models; and supporting the provision of safe, quality care and delivery systems grounded in healthful practice.

Shirey tells, “My research has identified the systems and support structures nurse managers need in order to be successful in their roles. Nurse managers are crucial because they lead from the middle. They’re the voice that really articulates the mission and vision of an organization in ways that benefit the patients and families we serve.”

Shirey’s role as a professor and associate dean in the UAB School of Nursing has had tremendous impacts on the program. Her work as a principal investigator on a four-year, $2.8 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant project to develop a resilient primary care registered nurse workforce has helped develop a new generation of RNs who will work in medically underserved areas and work toward chronic disease prevention and control. She has also been instrumental in opening a nurse-managed, interprofessional transitional care clinic for heart failure patients.

According to, Shirey’s response to receiving the AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year award was, “For me, receiving the AONE nurse researcher award is an incredible honor. It’s recognition of the value and impact of my work over a long and productive career. This is an award for which I was nominated by colleagues in my field, and that makes it even more special.”

To learn more about Maria Shirey, PhD, a professor and associate dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships at the UAB School of Nursing who was recently named the AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year, visit here.

CVS Announces Plan to Expand HealthHUB to 1,500 Stores By 2021

CVS Announces Plan to Expand HealthHUB to 1,500 Stores By 2021

CVS announced last week that it will be expanding its HealthHUB program to 1,500 stores by 2021 as part of its promise to transform the consumer health care experience in America following its acquisition of Aetna in November 2018.

CVS wants consumers to think of its stores as a one-stop destination for all of their health needs. Remodeled HealthHUB stores will offer a range of new and improved services including dietitians, nurse practitioners, and lab services, and will offer on-site treatment for chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma.

Alan Lotvin, MD, Chief Transformation Officer for CVS Health, tells, “Improving health outcomes starts with transforming the consumer health experience, connecting with people in their communities. Through physical and virtual interactions, we provide convenient, personalized and integrated access to health care support and services.”

The new HealthHUB format includes a newly established role called the care concierge, responsible for directing customers to health services and educating patients on in-store services and events. The focus of HealthHUB is to recommend next best clinical actions and drive medical cost savings for consumers. They will offer expanded health services like nutrition counseling and blood pressure screenings but have less shelf and floor space devoted to items like greeting cards and magazines, personal care and beauty, and snack food and beverages.

CVS launched three HealthHUBs in Houston earlier this year as a pilot program and is now planning to open stores in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey, and Tampa later this year. They plan to launch 50 new HealthHUB stores this year, but the bulk of their expansion will be split between 2020 and 2021.

CVS also offers Minute Clinics (walk-in health clinics located in CVS pharmacies) and offers health insurance through Aetna, which it bought for $70 billion in 2018, and owns pharmacy benefits manager Caremark. However, the company is facing opposition from drug store competitors including Walmart, Amazon, and Costco, which have all bulked up their pharmacy business and offer personal care products and snacks at lower costs than drugstores.

To learn more about CVS’s announcement last week that it will be expanding HealthHUB to 1,500 new stores by 2021, visit here.

Florida Universities Find Creative Solutions to Meet Demand for Nurses

Florida Universities Find Creative Solutions to Meet Demand for Nurses

A potential nursing shortage is threatening Florida’s healthcare system and the state’s universities and colleges are devising creative solutions to graduate more nurses. The Florida Center for Nursing predicts a need for 114,000 more nurses by 2023 as the healthcare demand from baby boomers increases in tandem with retiring nurses. However, there are more potential students competing for nursing spots in schools than there are positions available. Florida universities report that they’re forced to turn away up to two-thirds of nursing applicants at the bachelor’s degree level. 

One solution posed by Florida nursing schools is to change how registered nurses get real-world practice with patient care. Most programs require students to complete clinical hours to get hands-on experience outside the classroom but a shortage of nursing faculty has limited the ability to take on more students in real-world clinical settings. An increasing number of Florida nursing schools are offering simulation scenarios to give students comparable clinical experience. 

Dr. Ora Strickland, dean of the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida International University, tells, “We would be unable to accept as many as we do if not for the simulation center.”

Simulation training mirrors the hospital settings, allowing students to make decisions and then observe those decisions through on-the-spot feedback from nurse educators. Florida’s State Board of Nursing now allows students to complete up to half of their clinical hours in simulation labs based on clinical research on the effectiveness of simulation training. Simulation centers can also be used to educate nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and other nursing graduate students. 

To learn more about how Florida universities are working to find creative solutions to meet the demand for nurses, visit here

University of Alaska Anchorage Expands School of Nursing to Meet Increasing Demand

University of Alaska Anchorage Expands School of Nursing to Meet Increasing Demand

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) School of Nursing is looking to expand to meet the increasing demand for nurses in the state. Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in the country and Alaska is no exception. The Alaska Department of Labor estimates that the state will need to hire an additional 1,141 registered nurses by 2026. 

Marianne Murray, director of the UAA School of Nursing, reports that the demand for nurses in Alaska is increasing as the state’s population ages. She tells, “One of the reasons why is because Alaska has what we call a ‘silver tsunami’ which is, our population is aging. And of course, with an aging population, we have an increase in health care needs.”

UAA is working to help fill the gap for nurses by offering a four-year bachelor’s degree and two-year associate’s degree in nursing. However, the university is experiencing a problem with space. There are far more people interested in UAA’s nursing programs than there are room for. The nursing school receives about 280 competitive applicants each year for the baccalaureate program and admits 120 students. The university hopes to expand that number to 180 open slots by 2025.

To learn more about Alaska’s nursing shortage and how the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing is working to expand their nursing programs to meet an increased demand, visit here

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