September 11, 2012
By Cori Ast
Nurses across Kansas and the Kansas City metropolitan area now have the opportunity to advance their careers from home, thanks to an innovative agreement between the University of Kansas School of Nursing and 18 regional community colleges. The agreement, signed on Sept. 11, provides nurses with an associate's degree in nursing from a participating college the opportunity to receive their bachelor of science in nursing from KU's online RN-to-BSN program.
"Today, we embrace our role in improving the health of our patients by maximizing the knowledge and information accessible to us," said Karen L. Miller, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, dean of the KU School of Nursing. "Through this agreement, we pledge to offer cooperative nursing education for the betterment of Kansas citizens and for the advancement of our respective students."
Miller cited the 2010 Institute of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report titled The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which recommends more baccalaureate nurses. The recommendation is informed by evidence that nurses with higher levels of education provide higher-quality care at the bedside.
KU has offered an online RN-to-BSN degree since 1996, but the new agreement makes the student's transition easier. The new agreement streamlines the application process for students who graduate from a participating associate's degree nursing program with a 2.5 GPA or higher and passes the licensure exam to become an RN.
"These practicing nurses will know that higher education in the profession is now more convenient and attainable than in the past," Miller said.
"As the University of Kansas, it's our mission to serve all Kansans," said University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Ph.D. "We're making it easier for Kansas nurses to continue their education at KU. That will benefit their careers, as well as help them contribute to the health of their communities."
The new RN-to-BSN agreement also will increase the need for nursing faculty, a need that the KU School of Nursing will fulfill by collaborating with faculty at the participating community colleges.
"Under this new agreement, community college faculty will play a central role in the success of the program and the students," Miller said. The RN-to-BSN program will engage master's or doctorally prepared faculty at the community colleges to help teach some of the courses.
Students enrolling in KU's RN-to-BSN program will be required to earn a total of 120 credit hours, including 60 hours in prerequisites and liberal arts curriculum, which can be taken at KU or a community college. The last 30 hours of the program will be completed online through the KU School of Nursing.
The 18 participating colleges are Barton County Community College, Butler County Community College, Cloud County Community College, Colby County Community College, Dodge City Community College, Fort Scott Community College, Garden City Community College, Hesston College, Hutchinson Community College, Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Labette Community College, Manhattan Area Technical College, Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Mo., Neosho County Community College, North Central Kansas Technical College, Pratt Community College, and Seward County Community College Area Technical School.