The First 50
The KU School of Nursing celebrates its first 50 graduates from the Community College Partnership
On a sunny June day in 2019, a group of nurse educators and recent nursing school graduates mingled in a large meeting room on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus. The gathering was to celebrate the first 50 graduates from the KU School of Nursing’s Community College Partnership program.
The program, which was launched in 2014, allows nursing students across Kansas to complete a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) without leaving their home communities. Seven Kansas community colleges have joined the KU School of Nursing in the groundbreaking nursing education model that allows students from community colleges with accredited nursing programs simultaneously earn their associate degree in nursing (AND) from the local school where they are attending classes and their BSN from KU via online coursework.
The seven Kansas community colleges participating in the Community College Partnership are Butler Community College; Fort Scott Community College; Hutchinson Community College; Johnson County Community College; Kansas City Kansas Community College; Labette Community College; and Neosho County Community College
The need nationally for more nurses with baccalaureate degrees in nursing has been spurred in large part by heclass="img-fluid" alth care industry research, which shows patient outcomes are significantly improved when the person is cared for by a nurse with a BSN. As a result, many hospitals and other heclass="img-fluid" alth care providers are requiring their nurses to have a BSN, and national groups have encouraged an 80 percent BSN-prepared workforce by 2020.
In the five years since its launch, more than 50 students have earned their ADN and BSN from the Community College Partnership, and many of them showed up at the celebration in June, along with nursing educators from both KU and the seven community colleges that make up the partnership.
“It was wonderful hearing our graduates talk about their career aspirations and the high level of preparation they gained from the program,” said Pamela Barnes, Ph.D., MBA, associate dean of student affairs and enrollment management at the KU School of Nursing. “The event was truly a celebration of student achievement and recognition of how the program is powerfully impacting their lives.”