The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has launched agreements of dual admission with Hagerstown Community College (HCC) and Allegany College of Maryland (ACM), thus completing formal partnerships with every community college in Maryland that offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. Agreements enable a smooth transition from ADN programs to UMSON’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
As part of UMSON’s continued effort to increase the number of collaborative pathways to earning a BSN in Maryland, HCC and ACM become the 14th and 15th community colleges in the state, respectively, where students can apply to, be admitted to, and begin taking classes in UMSON’s BSN program while still working toward their ADN, saving them time in completing both degrees. HCC and ACM students will receive credit from UMSON for completed coursework at the community colleges.
In addition, UMSON is currently covering the cost of its BSN courses for students participating in the dual-admission partnership while they are still enrolled in the ADN program, an opportunity made possible with funds from a gift from Bill and Joanne Conway through their Bedford Falls Foundation.
“UMSON is excited to begin the dual-admission partnerships with HCC and ACM,” said Linda Aveni Murray, DNP ’16, MS ’84, CPNP-Ped, assistant professor and director, RN-to-BSN program, UMSON. “The partnerships will afford nurses in Western Maryland an opportunity to begin pursuing their BSN online while still enrolled at their local community colleges. Once they graduate from their community college program, they will be able to seamlessly complete the BSN program online.”
Connecting UMSON with Maryland’s western counties, where there are health professions shortages, the new dual-admission agreements encourage and support ADN students to obtain their BSN by streamlining prerequisites, creating a seamless process for the transfer of credits, and allowing them to begin taking courses in UMSON’s BSN program while still enrolled at their community college. For Western Maryland’s rural and medically underserved areas, these partnerships will help meet a critical need for health care providers by educating students who frequently provide care in their local communities.
“We are thrilled to launch these dual-admission agreements with Hagerstown Community College and Allegany College and look forward to our collaboration,” said Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. “Our agreements with the 15 community colleges across Maryland that offer the Associate Degree in Nursing ensures that in every part of our state — from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore — nurses have the opportunity to more easily earn their BSN degree and to do so at a lower cost. With over 67 percent of Maryland nurses now holding a BSN degree or higher, our state is a national leader in the effort to reach the recommended 80 percent level. This is good news for health care in Maryland given the link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes. It means that throughout Maryland, nurses are well equipped to provide excellent care in our increasingly complex health care environment.”
The present Dual-Admission Partnership program, initiated in 2015, is helping to further the mission of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP to transform health care through nursing. The campaign, based on the recommendations set forth in the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report, aims to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher nationwide to 80 percent.
To matriculate to UMSON’s BSN program, students must graduate with an ADN and satisfy UMSON’s progression criteria. To date, more than 160 students have matriculated and nearly 50 students have graduated after having completed both their ADN and UMSON’s BSN program through the Dual-Admission Partnership program.