Revolutionary Nursing Partnership Model brings BSN to Butler

Published September 1, 2016 at 08:27 am Nursing Partnership News

Butler nursing students can now get both an associate and a bachelor’s degree in nursing simultaneously.

Through a newly approved partnership, Butler Community College nursing students may take both associate level courses from Butler and bachelor level courses from the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

 “Students will take courses from both programs at the same time,” said Anita Mills, Dean of Health, Early Childhood and Public Safety at Butler Community College. “The program will be a very high quality option for students choosing this path.”

This groundbreaking nursing education Partnership Model was given accreditation approval in August. Butler, Hutchinson, Johnson County, Kansas City Kansas, and Neosho County community colleges are all participants of the Partnership Model. A pilot program was implemented at Kansas City Kansas Community College this past academic year. In May, two students graduated with their BSN.

Starting in 2017, incoming Butler nursing students will be given the option of obtaining a bachelor’s degree at the same time. Students choosing the Butler/KU option must declare it at the beginning of their nursing program. Butler/KU nursing students will then take the required face-to-face Associate’s Degree (ADN) in nursing classes from Butler and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree courses online from KU. All students must complete 60 hours of prerequisite courses and meet both institution’s admissions requirements in order to be accepted into the Partnership Model.

“The students will benefit because they will continue to have interaction with their Butler professors,” said Pamela Barnes, associate dean for student affairs at the KU School of Nursing. “They will also get to stay in their home community. Many of them are adult students with adult responsibilities.”

Although both RNs (two year degrees) and BSNs (four year degrees) must take the same licensure test, more and more facilities are looking for BSNs. In October of 2010, the Institute of Medicine called for increasing the number of baccalaureate nurses to 80 percent of all nurses by 2020.

“The BSN degree is a part of the academic progression that Butler’s nursing program has always supported,” Mills said.

Dean Mills shared, “Butler will continue to prepare high quality, competent nursing graduates, well prepared to enter professional practice.” Butler student nurses consistently score well on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The 2015 first time NCLEX pass rate for Butler students was 93.8%.

The 36 credit hours nursing credit hours prepares the student in the role of the “provider of care” essential to entry level nursing and successfully passing the national licensure exam. Each student will take these courses as well as the general education courses at community college rates. The 30 credit hours of online courses from KU will be charged at the KU rate. The focus of the KU BSN courses will be on content such as population health, micro and macro systems, and evidence-based nursing practice. The program is designed to be completed in four years, including summers.

“I think there will be a lot of rich overlap,” Barnes said. The student can always get feedback from their Butler instructor. “There will be a lot of rich interplay.”

In addition to learning from KU instructors online, Butler students will be in online classes with other community college students from across the state. In addition to graduating with their class at Butler, students who complete the Partnership Model may participate in the KU School of Nursing Recognition Ceremony and walk in KU’s Commencement in Lawrence.

Mills said that many Butler students are excited about the partnership model. But the BSN is not for everybody, she said. “Butler will continue to offer the ADN program just as we are currently for those students opting to take the traditional path.  Our program stays the same,” Mills said.

If a student wishes to take part in the BSN Partnership Model, they would take about six credit hours per semester online.

“Many people have worked on this partnership for more than four years and it is so exciting to see it happen,” Mills said. “This is a huge opportunity for our students and they are very eager to get started.”

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