Partnership works to bring more nurses into the workforce

A new joint agreement between The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will make it easier for qualified students to enter nursing school. The joint agreement for the Early Acceptance – BSN RN program (EARN), will apply to students beginning their studies at UTSA this fall.

Prospective students will work through UTSA's University Health Professions Office to ensure they complete the prerequisites and other requirements within 2 years. Qualified applicants will then enter the UT Health Science Center's 2-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Upon completing the degree, students will then be eligible to take the Registered Nurse certification exam.

"There is a significant shortage of nurses in the [United States] and South Texas. This affiliation will help us have some of the best-qualified applicants from UTSA in our nursing program," said Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN. Breslin is dean of the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center and president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which sets standards for member nursing schools across the country in education, research, and practice.

"Establishing the early acceptance BSN program provides an exceptional opportunity for UTSA students to both prepare for admission to the nursing school, and make application through a process that gives them priority consideration," said Alan Vince, PhD and director of the UTSA University Health Professions Office. "The large number of students we see pursuing nursing is driven by the realization that there is a social need to be met as well as a personal one in terms of professional and career development."

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' Economic News Release on employment projections from 2012-2022, released in December 2013, registered nursing is among the top five occupations in terms of job growth and replacement needs. Due to the pending retirements of many nurses currently in the job force and the increasing need for more nurses to provide care for aging Baby Boomers, the bureau estimates a total of 1.05 million new nurses will be needed by 2022.

The Institute of Medicine's landmark report, "The Future of Nursing," issued in 2010, calls for increasing the number of nurses with BSN degrees from 55% to 80%, and doubling the number of nurses with doctoral degrees in order meet the increased demands of health care reform and to improve patient care. Other studies have shown that care provided by nurses with bachelors and graduate degrees have better patient outcomes.

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