The new Professional Nursing
Pathways Program provides community college nursing students access to course
plans modeled for quick entry into UT Arlington’s RN-to-BSN program. Through the Pathways program, students
establish a relationship with UT Arlington while still in community college. By
following the courses outlined, students will be able to begin UT Arlington’s
RN-to-BSN program about 60 days after graduating from participating community
Studies show that just 18
percent of nursing graduates with associate’s degrees pursue more advanced
degrees. The Pathways program can change that, said UT Arlington College of
Nursing Dean Elizabeth Poster.
“We wanted to take away the
barriers that keep these new nurses from completing bachelor’s degrees,” she
said. “This program creates an accessible and affordable seamless transition
and it begins while students are still at the community college.”
UT Arlington’s popular online
RN-to-BSN program can be completed in as little as 13 months.
The UT Arlington College of
Nursing is one of the largest and most successful programs in the country, with
more than 3,000 of the college’s 6,600 students currently enrolled in the online
RN-to-BSN degree program. In recent years, more than 225 Texas hospitals have
partnered with UT Arlington to provide their employees the opportunity to take
part in the RN-to-BSN program.
The Pathways initiative is a
response to a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National
Academies and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that said that 80 percent of
nurses in the United States should hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020 compared
with the 50 percent of nurses working today.
The program also addresses calls
from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Higher Education
Commissioner Raymund Paredes to increase the number of bachelor’s degrees
awarded in Texas, said Beth Mancini, associate dean of UT Arlington’s College
In North Texas, Tarrant County
College and three Dallas County Community College District campuses are part of
the Pathways program as are community colleges across the state.
An RN-to-BSN program builds on
the skills of registered nurses by expanding their competency in management and
leadership, epidemiology, research analysis and management of vulnerable
populations. In most cases, nurses enrolled in UT Arlington’s online Academic
Partnerships RN-to-BSN program work at least part-time while completing their undergraduate
Joan Becker, director of the
Associate Degree Nursing Program at El Centro Community College in Dallas, said
the new partnership is already having an effect, with more students choosing
the courses that will make it easier for them to enter UT Arlington. El
Centro’s nursing program has about 700 associate degree students.
Becker said local hospitals are
looking to hire more BSN prepared nurses as they strive to become “magnet”
institutions, an accreditation provided by the American Nurses Credentialing
“We had a large percentage of
our students attend UT Arlington after graduation, but they had to make their
own applications and submit all their own transcripts. It was just a harder
process for students and sometimes frustrating,” she said. “Now, application to
our associate degree program is an application to UT Arlington’s BSN program.”
The three Dallas County
Community College District campuses in the program are El Centro, Brookhaven
and Mountain View Colleges. Other partners are: Trinity Valley Community
College, Grayson County College (Denison), Navarro College (Corsicana),
Weatherford College, Baptist Health System School of Health Professions (San
Antonio) and the Lone Star College System (Houston). More partners are expected
to be added soon.
The University of Texas at
Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 34,000 students in
the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.