Georgia State University and the School of Nursing pursue new avenues for increasing the pool of bachelor’s prepared nurses in Georgia through an agreement with Gwinnett Tech’s nursing program.
This agreement, the first official agreement Georgia State has signed with another institution, provides a seamless process to move qualified associate degree registered nurse (RN) graduates through Georgia State’s RN-to-BS program. Associate degree students from the Perimeter College nursing program are also eligible for the program; since they are already Georgia State University students.
As the nursing shortage continues, demand grows for bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses in the Atlanta area. RN-to-BS programs like Georgia State’s increase the number of qualified nurses available to work in hospitals.
Complex changes in healthcare led the Institute of Medicine to recommend that 80 percent of all RNs be baccalaureate prepared by the year 2020. Nursing now requires a greater skill set as people live longer; leading nurses to care for older, sicker, and more fragile patients. Also, more advanced technology and information systems require that nurses develop greater skills in interpreting patient healthcare data. While earning a bachelor’s degree, nurses study issues of leadership, quality improvement, and critical thinking; all skills needed in today’s patient care.
RN-to-BS programs benefit students because providing a clear path to earn a bachelor’s degree increases opportunities for employment. Georgia State’s RN-to-BS program is especially advantageous to working nurses because the program is offered entirely online and completed within a year. Also, the RN-to-BS bridge program helps keep nursing education affordable for many potential students, splitting coursework between a less expensive two-year program and the online, university-level bachelor’s course requirements.
The Gwinnett Tech agreement provides a pathway for approximately 60 of their graduates annually to pursue a Georgia State bachelor’s degree. New Gwinnett Tech nursing students receive prerequisite advisement, and their core courses are guaranteed to transfer.
The new Gwinnett Tech agreement allows Georgia State to grow the RN-to-BS program and produce more nursing graduates, as larger classes of bridge program students can be accommodated than in traditional RN-preparation bachelor’s programs. Most RN-to-BS students are already working in nursing environments and do not need outside clinical experience placements.
“Georgia State is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Gwinnett Tech to increase the number of bachelor’s prepared nurses in Georgia,” says Susan Kelley, associate dean and chief academic officer for nursing. “An increasing number of hospitals require the B.S. for employment. This is related to the fact that a substantial body of research indicates that patient outcomes are substantially better in hospitals who employ baccalaureate prepared nurses when compared to those who employ nurses with associate degrees.”