Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

College of Nursing celebrates RN-to-BSN program’s decade of excellence, growth

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

nursingstudent lifestudentsAll Topics

In the decade since its inception, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s RN-to-BSN program has earned a reputation for excellence and has become a magnet for working nurses looking for a high-quality education at a competitive price.

UTA President Vistasp Karbhari

UTA President Vistasp Karbhari

The RN-to-BSN program has graduated more than 17,000 students and enrolled more than 20,000 since 2008.

It has inspired the creation of many other online degrees at UTA, including some in the colleges of education and business. And it has transformed the College of Nursing and Health Innovation into the largest producer of baccalaureate-degreed nurses in Texas and the largest nursing program at a public institution in the United States, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

UTA recently commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the online RN-to-BSN program at the University Center.

“This program has made such an impact through its accessibility and affordability,” said Elizabeth Merwin, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She added that the program has made it possible for registered nurses in both rural and urban areas to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The RN-to-BSN program has become more flexible and accessible over the years, making it easier for students to graduate on time. A total of 12,518 students are currently enrolled in the program.

In his remarks at the 10th anniversary celebration, UTA president Vistasp Karbhari said the success of the initial program led to 14 additional online programs within the College of Nursing.

Just as gratifying, he continued, is the program’s reputation for excellence around the state and nationally. “Our nurses are highly-sought after,” Karbhari said. “Hundreds of thousands of patients in this state are privileged to be served by the nurses who were educated at UTA. The College of Nursing and Health Innovation is the tip of the spear in online education, and the country has taken notice.”

CoNHI celebrated a decade of the RN-to-BSN program

CoNHI celebrated a decade of the RN-to-BSN program recently.

The RN-to-BSN program’s creation was spurred largely by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s 80 percent BSN by 2020 Initiative, which has the goal of ensuring that 80 percent of the nation’s registered nurses have bachelor’s degrees by 2020. Several studies have shown that hospitals with a higher percentage of nurses with BSN degrees give better patient care

Encouraged by the popularity of the program, college officials moved to expand most of their graduate nursing degrees online, making an advanced nursing education more accessible to students throughout the state and around the country. As a result of these online offerings, the college’s total enrollment has increased in recent years, reaching about 20,000 per semester. Two-thirds of these students take courses online, which offer the same education as attending in a classroom.

UTA’s RN-to-BSN program accounts for 7 percent of the national market and 75 percent of the Texas market, said Rob Ganji, president of Academic Partnerships.

Dean Merwin said she’s impressed by what she’s seen of the program in the short time she’s been at UTA and is optimistic about the future.

“I look forward to the next decade and to building on our successes and contributions,” she said.

 -- written by Lekan Oguntoyinbo