UTHSC, Southwest Partner to Help Qualified Students Earn Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

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A new partnership between UTHSC and Southwest Tennessee Community College is designed to help  qualified students earn nursing degrees.
A new partnership between UTHSC and Southwest Tennessee Community College establishes a pathway for qualified students to earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree.  

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing and Southwest Tennessee Community College have partnered to guarantee admission to UTHSC’s nursing program for Southwest students who meet requirements.

The Partnership Enrollment Program is offered to graduates of Medical District High School (MDHS), which opened this year on the Union Avenue campus of Southwest. As part of the Shelby County Schools (SCS) plan to Reimagine 901, MDHS offers courses that enable students to earn an associate degree through Southwest simultaneously with their high school diploma. Students may attain an associate degree in general studies, allied health, or information technology. Medical District High School will graduate its inaugural class in 2025. 

MDHS students, who graduate with either a general studies or allied health associate degree and meet other requirements, will have guaranteed admission to UTHSC’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program – a four-semester option that will launch in Fall 2022 and prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Students who follow this track could enter the nursing workforce at age 20 as RNs. The partnership agreement also applies to other students at Southwest who earn an associate degree.

“Access to early college education programs is vital to academic achievement and career success,” said Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray. “Exposing students to more opportunities through college partnerships, like the UTHSC College of Nursing program, is fundamental to helping our young scholars lead the next generation of health care professionals and accomplish their life goals.”

“A pathway from high school to Southwest to UTHSC is a phenomenal example of how community colleges serve as critical connectors in the workforce development pipeline,” said Southwest Tennessee Community College President Tracy D. Hall. “We are proud to partner with SCS and UTHSC to help MDHS students earn college credentials that not only prepare them for advanced study, but also rewarding careers.”

The partnership is good news for MDHS student Jackelinne Z. Diaz. “Being a nurse has always been a dream job of mine, and this partnership will help my dream become a reality,” she said.

The Partnership Enrollment Program offers benefits beyond guaranteed admission to participants. These benefits include access to academic advising, an admission fee waiver, a guaranteed enrollment deposit waiver, and limited privileges to the UTHSC library.

Susan Jacob
Susan Jacob

“The UTHSC College of Nursing is very excited about this unique educational partnership that will allow us to connect with students in the Medical District High School early on, as they pursue their goal of becoming professional nurses,” said Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Susan Jacob, PhD, RN. “Allowing aspiring nurses to connect with the college as early as possible helps students to envision their goal as a reality and encourages their commitment to join the nursing workforce.”

The College of Nursing currently offers a 12-month, accelerated BSN program for students who have already attained a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from another university. The college has Partnership Enrollment Programs with the following universities for the accelerated BSN program: LeMoyne-Owen College, Rhodes College, and the University of the South. The college also has a Partnership Enrollment Program with LeMoyne-Owen for its traditional BSN program. More information about all programs is available at uthsc.edu/nursing.