VCU will offer accelerated bachelor’s program to John Tyler Community College nursing students

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Students in their final year at John Tyler Community College can start earning their B.S. in Nursing through online courses at VCU before they complete JTCC's nursing program. (Getty Images)

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing will begin offering an accelerated course of study to registered nursing students at John Tyler Community College in fall 2020, making this VCU’s third community college partnership for co-enrollment.

“We’re thrilled to offer JTCC nursing students the opportunity to seamlessly earn their bachelor’s of science degree in nursing,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing. “This expansion of our community college partnerships will benefit Virginians, as more baccalaureate-prepared RNs graduate into Virginia’s health care workforce.”

VCU first offered this co-enrollment option to students at Southside Virginia Community College and Rappahannock Community College. The first cohort’s students began classes in fall 2019.

Applications open May 1 for fall 2020.

Students can complete as many as four courses — the equivalent of one academic year — in the online RN to B.S. program at VCU while completing the final year of their nursing degree at John Tyler.

These offerings are in addition to the VCU School of Nursing’s guaranteed admission program for Virginia Community College System graduates, including those from JTCC, who meet certain requirements.

VCU and JTCC’s co-enrollment pathway reduces the time it takes for students to earn their bachelor’s and supports the growing need for qualified nurses in the area, said Carole Graham, dean of science, health and human services at John Tyler Community College.

“This new arrangement builds on our longtime partnership with VCU and supports John Tyler Community College’s efforts to make continuing educational opportunities available to our students and to grow a strong workforce for Central Virginia,” said Graham, who oversees health sciences programs, including nursing. “Thanks to this new agreement, we hope to encourage even more Tyler nursing students to continue their education and earn their B.S. in nursing, while helping to expand the area’s health care workforce.”

The push for baccalaureate-prepared nurses follows a position statement from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, citing reduction in medication errors, lower mortality rates and positive patient outcomes as linked to nurses earning a baccalaureate degree or higher.

“There has been a nationwide move to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses,” said Debra Barksdale, Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs in the VCU School of Nursing. “Since our program is online, students don’t have to leave their communities or their homes to participate, opening up access for more nurses to get their baccalaureate degree.”