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Jul 16, 2014 04:17 AM EDT

UNC-Greensboro Partners With ACC to Provide BSN Degrees at Graham Campus

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The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Alamance Community College, signed an agreement to allow UNCG's bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) at the community college's Graham campus, beginning Spring 2015.

The Alamance program will initially comprise of 25 to 50 students with online and traditional classroom sessions.

The new partnership benefits all the parties involved. The associate degree nursing graduates and RNs can have more employment and career advancement opportunities; the program will produce well-qualified nurses to workforce and health care providers, lastly patients can receive better care.

"Similar programs are being launched at Davidson County Community College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, and other sites are under consideration," said Dr. Anita Tesh, associate dean for undergraduate study in the school, in a statement. "We are targeting new associate degree graduates, to support the Institute of Medicine report's call for a 'seamless transition' from ADN to BSN."

Tesh said that the BSN programs at Davidson and Rowan-Cabarrus will debut Fall 2014.

Dr. Robin Remsburg, dean of UNCG's School of Nursing, said that outreach programs such as this are important for nurses.

"Having the BSN really facilitates their mobility within the health care system. The BSN is looked on as a gateway to graduate education for nurses," Remsburg said.

Remsburg said that health care providers prefer nurses with BSN degrees than their peers without the degrees because BSN-credentialed nurses are associated with enhanced patient outcomes.

Plus, hospitals are granted Magnet status, partly based on the percentage of BSN-degreed nurses. In order to obtain or renew Magnet status, hospitals must include nurses that hold BSN or graduate degrees in nursing.

The Institute of Medicine's 2010 report on The Future of Nursing, recommends at least 80 percent of bedside nurses to earn BSN degrees by 2020 to meet the increasing demand for care.

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