Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 2013: COA Announces Grand Opening of Regional RN to BSN Nursing Education Center


For Immediate Release
July 23, 2013

CONTACT: Jessica Bursenos, Web Content Manager
Release No. 27JB-PR-2013

COA Announces Grand Opening of Regional RN to BSN Nursing Education Center

College of The Albemarle is pleased to announce the grand opening of the STEP Center for RN to BSN Nursing Education on August 16th at 9:00 am. All are welcome to attend.

STEP stands for Strategic Transitions to Education Progression and will have two dedicated nursing faculty, as well as access to college transfer specialists, to help develop the local nursing workforce toward BSN attainment through a new and innovative approach to nursing education.

The STEP Center will focus on:
·         Expediting completion of RN-BSN pre-requisite courses at COA at reasonable cost and convenience for working RNs.
·         Streamlining the transition into and completion of RN-BSN/or MSN programs based strategically on an individual nurse’s needs and academic history.

The STEP Center provides a supportive nursing education environment that includes recruitment, advisement, RN-BSN program connection, and convenient pre-requisite coursework that advances ADN students and existing RNs in the community toward their BSN degrees.

The development of more efficient pathways to higher degrees is essential for nurses across the nation. While COA nursing has done an excellent job providing associate degree prepared RNs and LPNs for the region, it became apparent to the college that more needed to be done to help move nurses to their BSNs. With over 50 years of history and experience, nursing leadership at the college began to explore what would work best for nurses of the area. It became apparent that traditional brick and mortar RN-BSN programs and their pre-requisite courses often do not fit the needs of today’s nursing workforce who works a variety of hours and schedules. It was also understood that each nurse takes a different pathway to attain the initial nursing degree, and that a variety of options and programs already existed that would promote better connections and completion of BSN degrees.

Because of the uniqueness of the Northeastern North Carolina area, a more innovative approach was needed that provided accessible and flexible education matched with a nurse’s academic history to expedite movement into BSN courses. This helps nurses avoid being caught in a loop of years spent on completing pre-requisite courses before moving into BSN coursework. The STEP Center provides better options through offering pre-requisite courses at COA that historically were not available, such as online statistics and microbiology courses. All required pre-requisite courses for most RN-BSN programs can now be taken at COA, with the majority available online for convenience. Even chemistry is offered in a hybrid option requiring only one night a week for a face to face lab and student support.

In addition, the STEP Center provides a comparative analysis of the many options of over 20 RN-BSN programs (and growing) – most of them online, and guides the nurse to select and enter the program that best matches academic history and individual needs to expedite degree completion. Offering a wide variety of RN-BSN program options to nurses in the area will help best meet the region’s education needs. Advising and facilitating nurses into their selected RN-BSN program by experienced nursing faculty members is key to student success. The information will also be helpful to nursing employers who often reimburse for tuition and seek to move their nurses to higher credentials.

The STEP Center was funded through COA’s Foundation and will be located on the second floor of the Owens Center on the Elizabeth City campus and can also be accessed through the college website at www.albemarle.edu/stepcenter. STEP nursing advisors, Gloria Baker, RN, MSN, PhD and Amanda Yopp RN, MSN, GANP are already visiting nurses at hospitals and health care agencies across the region, recruiting and assisting nurses throughout a ten county area.


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