A new program from the UNC Charlotte School of Nursing will allow top students at local institutions of higher education to transition seamlessly from earning an associate’s degree to starting a bachelor’s.
The early entry option paves the way for nursing students at affiliated schools to gain early acceptance and reserve a spot in the RN to BSN program at UNC Charlotte. Students from Gaston and Central Piedmont Community Colleges and Carolina’s College of Health Sciences are currently able to take advantage of the program.
“This provides the students many benefits including the best advisement, the best employment prospects, and the best education possible through a seamless process,” said RN to BSN program coordinator Susan Lynch.
While the early entry program is a welcome opportunity for many students, School of Nursing chair Dee Baldwin said it also arose response to the needs of the industry.
“There is a huge and growing demand for baccalaureate prepared nurses. As healthcare continues to become more complex and diverse, nurses with BSNs are needed to take on leadership and managerial roles in the field.”
BSN student Danielle Fowler will graduate in three weeks.
“It is difficult to put the experience into words, except to say that I am a much better nurse,” she said. “I truly feel like a professional, and have a deeper understanding of what it means to respect and grow in my career.”
Baldwin noted a trend, both at the national level and locally, toward employers strongly favoring nurses with bachelor’s degrees.
“Many hospitals in Mecklenburg County have either make it their policy to hire nurses with at least a BSN, or hire nurses with the agreement that they will earn a BSN within a certain time frame,” she said, ”We hope this program will help more nursing students who obtain associates degrees continue their education and be competitive in the job market.”
And indeed, a 2010 Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing called for 80% of nurses in the workforce to be baccalaureate-prepared by 2020, citing advancements in the field and the changing needs of patients.
The early entry program represents an expansion of earlier efforts by the School of Nursing to streamline the RN to BSN process.
UNC Charlotte’s RN to BSN program admits students in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, is offered 100% online and can be completed in one year. To be accepted to the program, applicants must have a license to practice nursing in North Carolina and be admitted to UNC Charlotte.
by: Wills Citty