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UTHSC College of Nursing Offers New Online RN to BSN Degree Program


Earlier today, the Tennessee Board of Nursing approved a proposal from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) to offer a new degree program all online — the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Program. Starting immediately, the UTHSC College of Nursing will begin to accept applications for its fall 2014 online class of RN to BSN students. The online RN to BSN class has a capacity of 30 students per cohort.

“Nursing today is all about choices,” stated Laura A. Talbot, PhD, EdD, RN, dean for the UTHSC College of Nursing. “RNs working at hospitals and in other health care settings have busy, demanding schedules. They’ve told us they want the choice to move their careers to the next level while they keep working. That’s why we created this online component to our traditional, on-campus RN to BSN program.” The current on-campus RN to BSN program at UTHSC accepts 30 students every year.

“Now that we have the option to offer online RN to BSN studies, we are also giving RNs another choice,” Dean Talbot said. “Hybrid courses of study are also available, in which RNs can matriculate on-campus once a week and complete the remainder of their studies online.”

RNs can select full-time and part-time options, which would entail roughly 12 months or 17 months of study to earn the BSN, respectively. Registered Nurses who live in Mississippi and Arkansas but who work in Tennessee are eligible for in-state tuition at the UTHSC College of Nursing, if they enroll in the part-time RN to BSN program.

The college plans to enroll a new class of RN to BSN students every spring and fall. Students can choose between online or hybrid classes. The RN to BSN application submission deadline is April 15 for the class that starts in fall 2014. The application deadline is September 15 for the class that begins in January 2015.

“Our hospital partners are looking to employ BSN nurses who can work at the bedside and who possess a whole new skill set,” said Tommie Norris, DNS, MSN, associate dean and director of the BSN/MSN programs in the UTHSC College of Nursing. “Hospitals want to hire BSN-prepared nurses who have a patient-centered, quality outcomes focus to the way they practice,” she said, “That patient-centered, quality outcomes focus can translate into improved clinical reasoning, reduction of errors, and decreased patient recidivism — returning to hospitals soon after release for recurring, preventable problems.”

“As health care competition intensifies, more hospital systems are also striving to achieve Magnet status,” said Dean Talbot. Magnet status is a designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) that recognizes hospitals for demonstrating excellence in patient care. “The Magnet Recognition Program serves as an ultimate benchmark for patients and their families in measuring the quality of care they can expect to receive at a hospital.”

According to the ANCC, only 6.9% of all hospitals in the United States have achieved Magnet Recognition status. Not a prize or award, Magnet status is a credential that demonstrates organizational recognition of nursing excellence. The designation is deemed a “Magnet” because of the ability of the hospital to attract and retain professional nurses.

“A higher degree of nursing excellence requires a higher degree of education, which translates to RNs moving their academic credentials up to the BSN-prepared level,” Dean Talbot explained.

To learn more about the UTHSC RN to BSN program, contact Jamie Overton in the Office of Student Affairs, UTHSC College of Nursing via phone: (901) 448-6125 or email: JOverton@uthsc.edu. Or for more information, visit: www.uthsc.edu/nursing.

The UT College of Nursing is the leading producer of nursing faculty and graduate nurses in the Mid-South region. With more than 5,200 alumni, the college is consistently cited on the U.S. News & World Report annual list of America’s Best Graduate Schools.