HCA and VCU partner to offer online degree program for working nurses

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HCA Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing have partnered to offer a special cohort of the RN-to-B.S. program for HCA Virginia nurses. The nursing school’s online degree allows registered nurses with a diploma or associate’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree while maintaining full-time employment.

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released The Future of Nursing report, which detailed the state of the nursing practice at the time and made recommendations for the advancement of the discipline. Among the recommendations was for 80 percent of the nursing workforce to be educated at a baccalaureate degree in nursing or higher by 2020. The recommendation triggered widespread national efforts to develop mechanisms to enhance academic progressions for nurses.

“As a national leader in nursing education, the VCU School of Nursing is committed to addressing the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for a more educated nursing workforce,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing. “We are very pleased to partner with HCA Virginia in providing an academic progression opportunity aimed at meeting the needs of their associate degree-prepared nurses.”

The first cohort of 13 students began classes in fall 2016. VCU School of Nursing is prepared to enroll as many as 30 HCA nurses each semester. The nurses will complete the program in part-time study, taking two courses each semester for five semesters and one course in the sixth semester for a total of 11 courses with 32 academic credits.

Benefits to progressing through the academic program as a cohort include that course discussions will be tailored to the context of care within the HCA Virginia health system, which will increase the relevance of course material and add value to the education offered to those nurses.

“HCA is committed to helping our nurses grow in their career while delivering on our promise to provide the highest quality of care to our patients,” said Ann Latstetter, D.N.P., chief nursing officer, HCA Capital Division. “This partnership is truly exciting for both HCA and our nurses as it provides an exceptional opportunity to pursue continuing educational degrees in nursing with a high-caliber institution.”