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UW Bothell to take nursing education to Seattle hospitals
UW Bothell’s Nursing and Health Studies Program is taking the classroom into the hospital. In partnership with UW Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center and Virginia Mason Hospital and Medical Center, UW Bothell will begin offering its Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Harborview in Seattle beginning in fall 2014. The four-quarter pilot will allow approximately 40 nurses from the four sponsoring partners to attend classes in a classroom at Harborview.
“Many hospitals have the goal of 80 percent or more of their nursing staff having BSN degrees,” said UW Bothell’s Nursing and Health Studies Program Director David Allen. “But most nurses are working full time and have limited time and resources for travelling to our campus. So, as we have with Everett, we are taking the degree to the nurses. In a close partnership with the four hospitals, who helped select the day and venue that would work best for their staff, we are making higher education more accessible geographically, temporally and financially.”
Leigh Cowell was accepted to UW Bothell’s RN to BSN program for Autumn 2013. At the same time, she was accepted into a residency program with one of the partner hospitals, which will prevent her from attending classes at UW Bothell. When she was told about the new Seattle site, Cowell, who lives in the city, said she immediately applied.
“From a practical standpoint, it is convenient for me. A lot of the programs that I looked into to get my BSN are quite a distance from me.” Cowell said. “Being in the city and the fact that this program includes nurses working at other local hospitals gives me a greater opportunity to learn about healthcare issues in the community.”
Allen says UW Bothell advisors will schedule appointments at each site to meet with interested nurses and review their transcripts to expedite their preparation for the application process, which is ‘live’ now. He says based on the initial response and the demand, all partners involved hope to create a more inclusive structure in the future.
Extending the existing RN to BSN program to a Seattle site is just one of the innovative ways in which UW Bothell’s Nursing and Health Studies Program is expanding its capacity to increase the educational attainment of the state's nursing workforce. Also launched is the First Year Track BSN program in partnership with Everett Community College (EvCC), also known as 1+2+1. Beginning in fall 2014, incoming first year students admitted to this program will complete their prerequisite courses at UW Bothell, then attend EvCC to complete two years of clinical nursing education and pass the national nursing licensing exam. In the fourth year, the student would return to UW Bothell to complete requirements to graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing. UW Bothell has also admitted more than 40 students to its new Health Studies major and hired four new faculty to support the expanded programming.
Linda Tieman, executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing, says the timing is right for this innovative approach.
“All the projections and information tell us that we are going to need more nurses and a more highly educated nursing workforce. More patients are older and have complex needs.” Tieman said. “This is what nurses need for their careers and what patients need from their nurses.”