COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of South Carolina College of Nursing is expanding its outreach with two new degree programs that can be earned entirely online. The new offerings are designed to help working registered nurses gain the necessary skills and capabilities to improve patient outcomes and advance their careers.
One of the fully online options allows registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree (RN to BSN). The other degree is a Master of Science in Nursing in Organizational Leadership. The College of Nursing has selected Academic Partnerships, an online services provider for higher education, to deliver a broad range of support to the new programs.
"Placing these programs into a fully online environment is part of this university's tradition of meeting the needs of our students, including working adults," said Jeannette Andrews, dean and professor for the university's College of Nursing and a USC alumna. "Our communities need a higher educated registered nurse workforce with more advanced skills to address the complexities of the healthcare system. Today's working nurses often have obstacles and commitments that make it impossible to attend a traditional on-campus program."
RN to BSN: This innovative program is designed for current RNs who want to advance professionally. The comprehensive, interdisciplinary and 100 percent online program enhances professional growth and leadership to address the dynamic and complex healthcare environment and can be completed in as few as 12 months. For more information or to apply for this program, please visit http://gradonline.sc.edu/Programs/1227/RN-BSN
MSN in Organizational Leadership: This fully online program prepares nurses at the graduate level to lead the delivery of nursing and healthcare services across diverse healthcare systems. Students work on areas that include organizational and systems leadership, financing health care and evidence-based nursing practice. This degree can be completed in 12 to 18 months. For more information or to apply for this program, please visit http://gradonline.sc.edu/Programs/1229/MSN-in-Organizational-Leadership
FLEXIBILITY TO MEET NEEDS OF WORKING NURSES
Both programs will offer multiple start dates each year. The curriculum comprises 7-week class sessions, and students typically take one class at a time. Students can step out of the program temporarily if needed and rejoin at the next recurring start date. This flexibility is critical for successful online higher-education programs that appeal to working adults.
The next application deadline for these programs is Oct. 5, 2015, with classes starting on Oct. 26, 2015.
USC College of Nursing graduates have achieved continuous pass rates of 95 to 100 percent on NCLEX and nurse-practitioner certification exams. In addition, the college in both 2014 and 2015 achieved a record number of nursing graduate student enrollments. In 2015, the College of Nursing was ranked No. 3 in U.S. News & World Report's analysis of Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.
BUILDING A NURSING WORKFORCE FOR A MORE COMPLEX FUTURE
The 100 percent online offerings will help South Carolina address a 2010 recommendation from the Institute of Medicine that 80 percent of registered nurses (RN) should have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree by 2020. As of 2012, 43 percent of South Carolina's nursing workforce held a BSN or higher, and the percentage is rising on average about 1 percent annually.
The Institute's recommendation cites the increasing complexity of healthcare and the growing diversity of patient situations and needs. Research has shown that a higher percentage of BSN nurses leads to better patient outcomes. In addition, the Institute called for an expansion of graduate programs to prepare students for greater responsibilities in advanced practice, leadership, teaching and research.
"The university began training nurses in 1942 to address the shortage of nurses during World War II," Andrews said. "Now, the USC College of Nursing is again stepping up to the challenge to best serve the state's needs in the 21st Century."
ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIPS WILL FACILITATE PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND OUTREACH
"The University of South Carolina is a Carnegie Tier 1 institution, and we are honored to support their efforts to enhance and expand the College of Nursing's reach," said Ruth Tarantine, DNP, Director of Healthcare for Academic Partnerships. "A fully online program effectively extends higher education to underserved, diverse and geographically dispersed populations. Students, universities and communities all reap tremendous benefits, and we are confident that South Carolinians will experience the same phenomenon."
Academic Partnerships serves its partner institutions through a university-centric model in which a dedicated team of functional experts is assigned to grow enrollments and revenue for the university. The company operates with integrity to ensure first-class customer service on the university's behalf. More than 32,000 nurses have enrolled in advanced degree programs through AP's partnerships with universities throughout the nation.
Academic Partnerships already supports other online degree programs at USC in healthcare and education, including Master of Health Information Technology; Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior; Master of Education in Educational Administration; Master of Education in Teaching; and Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction.
About University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is a globally recognized, high-impact research university committed to a superior student experience and dedicated to innovation in learning, research and community engagement. Founded in 1801, the university offers more than 350 degree programs and is the state's only top-tier Carnegie Foundation research institution. More than 46,000 students are enrolled at one of 14 locations throughout the state, including the research campus in Columbia. With 47 nationally ranked academic programs including top-ranked programs in international business, the nation's best honors college and distinguished programs in engineering, law, medicine, public health and the arts, the university is helping to build healthier, more educated communities in South Carolina and around the world.
About Academic Partnerships
Academic Partnerships is a leading online service provider for higher education globally. The company assists universities in converting their on-campus degree programs into an online format, recruits qualified students for those programs, and supports enrolled students through graduation. Serving public and private not-for-profit universities in the United States and top international institutions, Academic Partnerships is guided by the principle that the opportunities presented through technology-aided learning make higher education more accessible and achievable. The company was founded by a social entrepreneur, Randy Best, who has spent nearly 20 years developing innovative learning solutions to improve education. For more information, please visit www.academicpartnerships.com.
University of South Carolina
SOURCE University of South Carolina; Academic Partnerships