A recent story in the New York Times noted that many hospitals around the country have started to require that their nurses have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. More stringent hiring requirements have contributed to a surge in enrollment at four-year colleges, particularly those with RN to BSN programs.
In recent years, ECU has seen an increase in the number of applicants to the College of Nursing’s RN to BSN option which is designed with the working registered nurse in mind.
Sixty-six people applied and 47 were admitted in fall 2010. Last fall, 78 applied and 64 were admitted. For classes starting this August, 86 out of 94 applicants have enrolled.
Nurses are returning for various reasons.
Most say they are returning for personal satisfaction. Other reasons include, but are not limited to, encouragement from their employers and career advancement.
On average, students graduate from our RN/BSN option in four to five semesters. Thirty-three students graduated in spring 2011, and another 33 graduated this May.
Professional organizations and groups such as the Institute of Medicine have advocated for an increase in nurses who hold a BSN degree or higher due to the challenges of health care in the 21st century which requires nurses to care for older, more diverse populations with more complex and chronic diseases.
The RN to BSN option has been included in several potential programs for expansion and partnership. Faculty and staff have been active members in planning the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses or RIBN project for eastern North Carolina. It’s modeled after a program in western North Carolina. ECU is working with Pitt, Beaufort, Lenoir and Roanoke-Chowan community colleges to provide a seamless transition from the community college setting to the university while earning ADN and BSN degrees. The first cohort of students begins this fall.
The shift in nursing education to meet the challenges of the 21st century requires competencies in leadership, health policy, systems, research and evidence-based practice, and community and public health.
-Dr. Sylvia Brown RN, BSN, MSN, EdD, CNE
Dean of the ECU College of Nursing