In an effort to help solve a national nursing shortage, the University of Kansas is partnering with four Kansas community colleges in an education program that allows students to earn an associates degree at the same time they work toward their bachelor of science in nursing.
Johnson County, Butler, Hutchinson, and Neosho County community colleges have been added this fall to the partnership, which began with Kansas City Kansas Community College.
In May, two Kansas City Kansas Community College partnership students were the first graduates of the program. Both have since been hired as registered nurses by The University of Kansas Hospital, the university reported in a progress report on the program.
Beginning this fall, 43 students from five community collegs are enrolled in the program.
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Nelda Godfrey, KU associate dean for innovative partnerships and practice, said in a statement that the partnership provides “a better, more efficient pipeline for educating nurses to meet growing workforce needs.”
KU Medical Center calls the program “ground breaking.”
In addtion to addressing a national nursing shortag,e thisexpanded program is designed to meet an industry goal of having 80 percent of nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees by 2020.
The national call for more nurses with bachelor of science degrees has been spurred in large part by health care industry research showing patient outcomes are significantly improved when the caregiver is a nurse with the higher level degree.
In addition, at the root of this need is that a large number of baby boom generation nurses are retiring or will soon retire. And because of medical progress, the country has an aging general population.
To be admitted into the partnership program, students must first have completed the required prerequisite coursework for admittance into the KU School of Nursing. They also must be accepted into their community college nursing program. Then they can apply to KU School of Nursing.
Community college classes are taught on campus, and the KU portion of the coursework is done online.