The University of Missouri (MU) is opening a new online program to address a shortage of nurses and nurse educators in the state of Missouri. The Sinclair School of Nursing has developed an accelerated curriculum that allows RNs to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing online in three to four years.

Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU, tells, “We need more nurses and the educators to prepare them. Nursing schools around the country lack the faculty to keep up with the demand for degrees as it is, and that is only going to grow for the foreseeable future.”

Registered nurses and nursing faculty in Missouri have an average age of 50, which is contributing to the shortage problem. As nurse educators begin to retire, nursing schools are forced to turn away qualified applicants because they don’t have enough faculty to teach them. Their goal is grow the number of faculty at MU and at other nursing programs in the state.

MU’s accelerated RN-MSN program is supported by a grant from the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The grant provides scholarships for full-time and part-time students in their first year of the new program. Scholarship recipients must agree to teach in Missouri nursing programs for three years after graduating.

Heidi Lucas, director of the Missouri Nurses Association, tells, “The shortage of nurses in Missouri is at an all-time high. But to graduate more nurses, our colleges and universities have to have more capacity. When programs like this produce nurse educators, nursing programs can hire more instructors. In turn, the state can educate more future nurses.”

The online RN-MSN curriculum is designed to eliminate repetitive courses, allowing students to opt out of four required undergraduate-level courses and take six graduate-level courses on similar topics instead. Students in the existing online BSN program can apply to MU Graduate Studies in the last semester of their undergraduate course work to be admitted into the master’s program, after which they will have earned a BSN and MSN in three to four years.

To learn more about MU’s accelerated online nurse educator track, visit here.


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