The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing has doubled its Partnership Enrollment Program (PEP) this year from five partner schools to 10 to address the nursing shortage and the need for diversity in the nursing profession.
The PEP agreements guarantee admission to UTHSC Nursing programs for students who meet certain prerequisites. Most of the agreements provide a pathway for students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The two most recent additions to the partner pool are Arkansas State University Mid-South (ASU Mid-South) in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Other additions to the PEP pool in the last year include Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee; UT Southern in Pulaski, Tennessee; and Dillard University in New Orleans. Lane and Dillard are historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs).
The UTHSC College of Nursing and ASU Mid-South officially launched their partnership today at an event at 11 a.m. in ASU Mid-South’s Magruder Hall. Leadership from both colleges introduced the program to ASU Mid-South students.
“These PEPs are vital to ensuring solid pathways into nursing for students from diverse backgrounds,” said UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAANP. “It will take all hands on deck to meet the workforce gaps in nursing. We hope these PEPs provide students at other institutions exposure to and clear pathways for a degree in nursing.”
Jeff Gray, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at ASU Mid-South, said, “This agreement provides an excellent opportunity for our students to continue to pursue their nursing education goals. The partnership creates a needed pipeline to a BSN degree close to home, and with that, further connects our region to quality training and ultimately growing the quality of nursing care for our region.”
The PEPs with Dyersburg State and ASU Mid-South apply to UTHSC’s traditional BSN program, which is a four-semester program. Students are guaranteed admission to the traditional BSN at UTHSC if they earn a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA), a designated associate degree, and science prerequisites at Dyersburg or ASU-Mid-South. Other schools that partner with UTHSC to provide a pathway to the traditional BSN include Lane College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, and LeMoyne-Owen College.
ASU Mid-South student Kecia Williams, 24, was excited to learn about the new partnership with UTHSC and wants to pursue a nursing degree. “This is a really good opportunity for people locally,” she said. “This makes me more confident.”
A few of the PEP schools partner only with UTHSC’s accelerated BSN program. These include Rhodes College, UT Southern, and The University of the South in Sewanee. Lane and LeMoyne-Owen are unique because they have PEP agreements for both the traditional and accelerated BSN concentrations at UTHSC.
The PEP agreement with Dillard guarantees admission to the UTHSC Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program or PhD in Nursing Science for students who complete a BSN or master of science in nursing (MSN) at Dillard, which is also an HBCU.
The UTHSC College of Nursing’s BSN program is the most highly-ranked BSN program in Tennessee on the list of pre-licensure nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report. The UTHSC DNP program is ranked No. 23 in the nation on the Best Graduate Schools list of U.S. News & World Report and offers eight practice concentrations and three dual practice concentrations. More information about the college’s PEP agreements can be found at https://uthsc.edu/nursing/partnership-enrollment-programs.php.