North Carolina is facing a nursing workforce shortage, both in numbers of nurses and level of preparation that will eventually impact all citizens of the state. In 2006, the NC Center for Nursing RN Supply and Demand forecasting model projected that without significant intervention, by 2020 there will be a potential shortage of 32,000 registered nurses in North Carolina. In addition to increasing numbers of nurses, the 2004 NC IOM Nursing Workforce Report and the 2010 Institute of Medicine Report on the Future of Nursing recommend that the proportion of baccalaureate-prepared nurses (BSN) be increased to 60% and 80% respectively by 2020.
Demand for an increase in the educational preparation of nurses is being driven by a number of forces including: the severity of illness of patients; the complexity of the health care delivery system requiring higher levels of critical thinking, problem solving, and patient management skills; recent research that relate improved patient outcomes to nurses educated at the BSN level; and an increase in positions requiring a BSN or Master's degree such as clinical leaders, patient care managers and administrators, public health nursing, school nurses and advanced practice nursing roles in addition to the critical need for nursing faculty.
Currently 65% of new nursing graduates are being educated in Associates Degree (ADN) programs. In a longitudinal study conducted in NC only 15% of ADN nurses ever completed a bachelor’s degree and only 3% completed a master’s in nursing degree. (2006) A master’s degree in nursing is considered the minimum requirement for nursing faculty and 80% of the nurses in North Carolina who hold master’s degrees began their nursing education at the BSN level.
Implementation of a successful educational partnership between community colleges and universities that dually enrolls students in a seamless four-year nursing curriculum will provide one option to meet the goal of significantly increasing the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses in North Carolina.
Through partnerships between community colleges and universities this project will:
The successful implementation of this shared educational program with dual enrollment and seamless progression from ADN to a BSN between these two institutions will serve as a model for future implementation in other associate and baccalaureate programs across North Carolina.
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