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UT Arlington School of Nursing begins innovative new distance education degree program

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Friday, July 17, 2009

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing, whose high-quality nursing curriculum has one of the state's highest graduation and licensure rates, has announced an innovative distance education Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) program to begin this fall. The program will be an addition to an already active distance education program in nursing offered by the school. The BSN Academic Partnership program will substantially expand the number of new graduate Registered Nurses in Texas.

The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies reported the state's demand for full-time registered nurses in 2008 exceeded supply by 22,000. This gap is predicted to increase to 70,000 by 2020. Despite this increasing shortage, Texas nursing schools turned away approximately 8,000 qualified applicants due to lack of funding, available faculty and clinical slots.

"UT Arlington is providing a Texas solution for a Texas problem. The gap between the demand and supply of registered nurses is a significant health and business issue for the state," said Dr. Beth Mancini, School of Nursing associate dean. "By working with hospitals and health systems, we believe this new approach to nursing education provides an effective strategy to produce competent new graduate registered nurses at our hospital partner sites across Texas."

Key elements of UT-Arlington's BSN Academic Partnership program include:

  • Course content is delivered via a blended learning model with online, technology-enhanced courses with UT Arlington faculty supervised clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state.
  • The instructional format is not linked to traditional semester schedules and allows students to enter and progress through the program in an expedited manner.
  • Students receive the majority of clinical experiences in the healthcare partner's facilities. This approach enhances the new graduate's readiness to practice and minimizes the time needed for new nurse orientation resulting in a significant cost savings to the health care organization.

The BSN Academic Program will begin at five partner sites, including Baylor Health Care System of Dallas, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Medical City and Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas and two Houston hospitals. Additional hospital partners will be added over time.

"This model represents a true partnership between service and academia that is financially sustainable and will produce graduates who are immersed in a positive professional practice environment," said Cole Edmonson, vice president and chief nurse executive at Medical City and Medical City Children's Hospital. "We expect these new graduates to transition to practice in a more expedient manner, significantly decreasing the time from novice to expert practitioner. It is a win-win situation for everyone and benefits the patients and families in the communities we serve."

UT Arlington School of Nursing has a long history of innovation in nursing education. One of the 20 largest schools of nursing in the country, it has over 400 Bachelor of Science Nursing students in the junior and senior years and graduates approximately 200 students each year, while achieving graduation and first-time National Council Licensure Examination pass rates of more than 90 percent. UT Arlington School of Nursing's Smart HospitalTM is recognized as a Laerdal Center for Excellence, a Hill-Rom National Demonstration Center and the CareFusion Nursing Discovery Center.

"UT Arlington is committed to meeting the changing needs of the healthcare workforce. We are gratified by the response of our current network of over 150 hospitals and health systems to this new program and look forward to working with them to educate registered nurses in their communities," said Elizabeth Poster, dean of the School of Nursing.

Visit www.uta.edu/nursing or call 817-272-2776 for more information about the program.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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