The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) is covering the cost of its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) courses for community college students participating in its Dual-Admission Partnership with seven community colleges statewide. Funds from a gift from Bill and Joanne Conway through their Bedford Falls Foundation make possible this opportunity for students to begin taking courses toward their BSN degree at no cost while completing their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). The funds will be available for the spring, summer, and fall 2018 semesters.
Maryland is one of four states predicted to experience a shortage of 10,000 registered nurses or more by 2025. As a result, the Maryland Action Coalition (MDAC) is focusing on ensuring the state has a well-educated nursing workforce as it promotes several pathways to academic progression, one of which is the dual-admission articulation model that allows students to apply and be admitted to a BSN program while in an ADN program at a community college.
“Financial aid is a key barrier for students. Unfortunately, students receiving financial aid for their associate degree program are unable to receive the financial aid required for the BSN courses,” said Nina Trocky, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CNE, assistant professor and associate dean for the baccalaureate program. “These scholarship monies remove that barrier and facilitate seamless academic progression.”
In response to MDAC’s plan, UMSON began its Dual-Admission Partnership program in 2015. UMSON has agreements with Anne Arundel Community College, Carroll Community College, Cecil Community College, College of Southern Maryland, Frederick Community College, Montgomery College, and Prince George’s Community College. Through these partnerships, students enrolled in an ADN program receive transfer credits from UMSON for completed coursework at the community college. Students then are granted special student status, allowing them to take UMSON courses while still working on their associate degree in nursing, thereby saving them time and money while completing their BSN degree. To matriculate into UMSON’s BSN program, students must graduate with an ADN from one of the community colleges and satisfy UMSON’s progression criteria.
“Through the generosity of the Conways, we are able to provide financial assistance to students who wish to begin taking BSN courses as they complete their Associate Degree in Nursing,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, who serves as co-chair of MDAC. “This will significantly expand opportunities for students and support our efforts to increase the number of baccalaureate-educated nurses throughout Maryland.”
An effort to increase qualified nursing candidates, the Dual-Admission Partnership is helping further the mission of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP to advance comprehensive health care change. The campaign launched action coalitions, of which MDAC is one, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and uses as its framework the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The partnership program specifically addresses one of the eight goals set forth in the report: to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.