Innovative agreement makes it easier for RNs to earn advanced degrees

April 27, 2012

By KUMC News

School of Nursing and Butler Community College RN-topBSN online program agreement
Signing the agreement were (left-to-right): Doug Girod, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at KU Medical Center; Dr. Jackie Vietti, President of Butler Community College; Karen Miller, RN, Ph.D., Dean of the KU School of Nursing; Anita Mills, MSN, RN, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Early Childhood Education at Butler Community College.

Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing from Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., can now continue their training and earn bachelor of science in nursing degrees at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, thanks to a new agreement between KU and Butler. Leaders from both schools celebrated the agreement on Thursday, April 26.

Under the agreement, RNs with associate degrees from Butler can now enroll in KU's online RN-to-BSN program, allowing Butler graduates to complete all required general education courses at Butler Community College instead of coming to the KU School of Nursing campus in Kansas City. The two schools believe this agreement is a model of creative institutional collaboration for the advancement of professional nursing as well as each school's commitment to lifelong learning.

"Butler Community College's Nursing Program is very excited about this innovative and progressive articulation agreement with KU School of Nursing for our graduates," said Anita Mills, MSN, RN, Butler dean of nursing, allied health and early childhood education. "The agreement provides a student-friendly option for Butler nursing graduates to transition into an RN to BSN program that focuses on advanced nursing concepts and eliminates requiring students to repeat courses that they have already taken at Butler."

The most-recent Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report calls for 80 percent of registered nurses to have a bachelor's degree in nursing or higher by 2020. In order for that to be possible, colleges and universities need to collaborate so that RNs with associate degrees can easily progress to a bachelor's program, according to David Martin, RN, MN, clinical associate professor and RN-BSN/MS program director at KU. A BSN is required for advanced practice nursing education. This prepares nurses for positions such as nurse practitioner, clinical registered nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist and nurse-midwife.

"We're very pleased to be working with a like-minded, fine institution such as Butler Community College," Martin said. "We've coordinated efforts to eliminate institution barriers between community colleges and institutions. Students need to have choices and KU School of Nursing is choosing to work with Butler to make this happen."

Butler Community College's Nursing program admits students twice a year through a highly competitive application process. Butler's nursing graduates are highly successful, with a 91 percent first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, surpassing the national first time pass rate of 87 percent. 

Meanwhile, at the KU School of Nursing, the RN-to-BSN/MS degree completion program at has for many years provided registered nurses a way to complete their bachelor's degrees as quickly as possible.

The KU School of Nursing has six Butler Community College graduates currently enrolled in the RN-BSN/MS program.


Last modified: May 30, 2012