The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing (VCU) has partnered with Rappahannock Community College to offer accelerated coursework to registered nurses who are students at the Colleges providing them a faster path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Students will be enrolled concurrently at VCU and RCC.
“We’re looking forward to offering RCC [as well as Southside Virginia Community College] nursing students a more efficient path to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, which subsequently will help to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared RNs in Virginia’s health care workforce,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing. “This is an important educational collaboration for our outstanding nursing students at RCC,” said Charles Smith, PhD, dean of Health Sciences at RCC. “The accelerated approach to the BSN opens doors to many more educational and professional opportunities in a shorter timeframe,” remarked Smith.
Enhancing Academic Progression for Nurses
The partnerships are in line with a national push to enhance academic progression for nurses. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be educated at a baccalaureate degree in nursing or higher by 2020. Reduction in medication errors, lower mortality rates and positive patient outcomes are linked to nurses being educated at baccalaureate and higher degree levels, according to a recent position statement by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Enrollment will open on May 1 to nursing students at both colleges and classes start in fall 2019. Enrolled students will complete six credits of baccalaureate courses during their last year and subsequently complete the remaining credits online through the VCU School of Nursing.
The agreement with Rappahannock Community College will provide nursing students in eastern Virginia with more extensive educational opportunities, said Ellen Koehler, Associate Degree Nursing Program head at Rappahannock Community College.
“This concurrent enrollment agreement with VCU School of Nursing is an extraordinary opportunity for the students of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region,” Koehler said. “This affords our students the opportunity to enhance their career goals toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a prestigious school that values advancing the profession of nursing.”
About Rappahannock Community College
Rappahannock Community College, established in 1970, serves Virginia’s Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and surrounding areas. RCC is home to multiple associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as robust and varied Workforce offerings. RCC has been named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education since 2015. The College will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020.