North Shore Community College (NSCC) and Salem State University (SSU) are partnering on a new program to encourage nurses and nursing students to earn their bachelor’s degree to better prepare them to meet the challenges and changing demands of the workplace.
The new RN to BSN program, which will begin in Fall 2013, is a response to an Institute of Medical (IOM) Study report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” which promotes advancing the levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. The goal is to have 80% of the current nurse workforce educated at the bachelor’s level or higher by 2020. This will help to ensure the delivery of safe, high quality, patient centered care across diverse health care settings.
The report noted, “The role of a nurse is changing greatly. This will continue to be true as our population ages and needs more care. Americans 65 and older will comprise nearly 20 percent of the population by 2030. The ways in which nurses were educated during the 20th century are no longer adequate for dealing with the realities of health care in the 21st century. To respond to these increasing demands, the IOM (calls for nurses to achieve higher levels of education and suggests that they be educated in new ways that better prepare them to meet the needs of the population.”
Currently Nurse Education Graduate Surveys reveal about 60% of nurses enter the profession at the associate degree level. New pathways to promote the attainment of higher levels of education in nursing will serve to enhance the attainment of knowledge and skills needed for nursing practice in an evolving, complex healthcare system .
The redesign was made possible by securing funding from the Department of Higher Education’s Nursing Education Redesign grant program. Once received, transfer barriers were researched and adjustments made to create an easy progression for the AD nurse to earn a BSN at SSU. These included creating joint advising, utilization of the Mass Transfer Block (MTB), improved outreach to previous graduates, and a revised curriculum that will enhance a seamless transition while reducing duplication between the two programs.
To be eligible for the program nurses must be currently enrolled in NSCC’s ADN program and willing to continue their nursing education upon graduation from NSCC, or, be a graduate of the North Shore Associate Degree Nurse Education Program with an active Registered Nurse license. NSCC will be doing special outreach to the 290 nurses who graduated from NSCC in the past 5 years and are part of the incumbent nursing workforce to promote the program.
Students will complete 25 credits at NSCC and 30 credits at SSU. Students who complete Mass Transfer Block credits and the Associate in Science in nursing who possess registered nurse licensure will enroll directly into the RN to BSN Program at SSU. The students may complete the required SSU nursing curriculum during one academic year or on a part-time basis.
Benefits to students taking advantage of the program include approximately $3,000 in cost savings and greater flexibility in elective courses that can be taken in the third year of study.
“Salem State University’s nursing program is a well-respected baccalaureate nursing program that area hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies have come to rely on for highly qualified nursing staff. In its 42-year history, Salem State University School of Nursing has grown from a single baccalaureate program with 40 students to over 1,000 students in its three baccalaureate and multi-option graduate programs,” said Salem State’s Provost and Vice President Kristin Esterberg. “Salem State’s School of Nursing is one of the largest nursing programs in the state, and contributes significantly to the nursing workforce needs in the Commonwealth. This program will enhance that impact.”
“NSCC has one of the most successful nursing programs in a community college setting in the Commonwealth. Each year NSCC’s Nurse Education (RN) program enrolls 125 students and graduates about 70 students. The success of NSCC’s ADN program is apparent in a licensure exam pass rate averaging over 90% 92% for 5 years, with many years exceeding 95%,” noted NSCC President Wayne Burton. Both rates are higher than state and national averages. “This new program creates a pathway for students to continue building their credentials and expertise.”