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UTA’s highly regarded online nursing program celebrates decade of learning

Monday, February 4, 2019 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation is commemorating a decade of its online RN-to-BSN degree, which has transformed the college into the state’s largest producer of bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses and meets the needs of students needing a flexible schedule.

RN-to-BSN online degree

UTA's RN-to-BSN online degree program celebrated a decade of existence.

More than 20,000 students have enrolled in the program since it began in November 2008. The program has earned a national reputation for its excellence and affordability. Most recently, Valuecolleges.com ranked it the sixth best registered nurse-to-bachelor of science in nursing program in the country.

“The program is good. The instructors are amazing. And the college listens to student feedback,” said Minaz Dungor, a May 2015 graduate of the program who said she was attracted to the program because of its flexibility and UTA’s reputation as a respected public university.

“Listening to feedback makes students feel like their voice is heard,” added Dungor, who returned to UTA and graduated with a master’s of science in nursing degree in December 2018.

The RN-to-BSN program’s creation was spurred largely by the 80 percent BSN by 2020 Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that 80 percent of the nation’s registered nurses have bachelor’s degrees by 2020. Several studies have shown an increase in patient care at hospitals with a higher percentage of nurses with BSN degrees.

“UTA was very forward thinking and was a frontrunner among nursing schools in developing a first-rate online nursing program,” said Pamela White, a UTA accelerated online program manager and a clinical assistant professor of nursing.

Prior to launching the program, UTA officials worked diligently to determine and integrate best practices in online education.

“These included the use of discussion boards to accelerate student engagement and a feeling of community, using small group sizes and short video clips to enhance materials,” White said.  “Instead of having students listen to three-hour lectures, we included short video clips to stimulate students’ critical thinking.”

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 enrollment has increased in recent years, exceeding 20,000. Two-thirds of these students take classes online, which offer the same education as attending in a classroom.

The program has become more flexible and accessible over the years, making it easier for students to graduate on time, White said.

“Initially not every course was offered every time online,” she said. “Now the courses are offered on a consistent basis every six weeks, which makes it easier for students who want to complete it within a certain time frame or take two courses at a time.”

The college will host a celebration of the program at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at the E.H. Hereford University Center, 300 W. First St.  Call 817-272-7085 or email Phyllis.miller@uta.edu for more information about the anniversary celebration.

--  Written by Lekan Oguntoyinbo