The College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, Md., and the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore signed an agreement April 8 on a dual admission program that will allow CSM students pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing to simulateously enroll in the BSN program at UMSON, according to a news release.
“CSM has established a solid reputation as the leading resource for accessible education and academic excellence to the citizens of Southern Maryland,” CSM Board of Trustees Chairman Michael L. Middleton said in the release.
“It is vitally important to me that the college is always looking ahead for workforce disruptions,” Middleton added about the looming need for nurses with a BSN to meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act. “If we don’t address this need, a critical shortage of nurses will be upon us in a very short time.”
To fill the workforce need, CSM partnered with UMSON to design a dual admission program for current or incoming nursing students. Students apply to both schools simultaneously and progress through the nursing program, satisfying requirements of both schools. In addition to transfer credits for completed coursework, UMSON will award students 30 credits toward their BSN upon verification of an active RN license. BSN coursework can be completed through Web hybrid courses taught on-site at CSM by UMSON faculty, according to the release.
Students in the program will be granted special student status which allows them to take UMSON courses while still working on their associate degree, according to the release.
Middleton said in the release that the effort has received support from local hospitals, including officials from the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, LaPlata; MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Leonardtown; MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital, Clinton; and Calvert Memorial Hospital, Frederick, Md.
“This agreement is one of the milestones of this year [at UMSON] as we are celebrating our 125th anniversary as a school of nursing,” UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, said in the release. “The 2010 Institute of Medicine report [on the future of nursing] said that by 2020, 80% of our nurses need to hold a baccalaureate degree or higher. Baccalaureate programs in this country can’t meet that target; we can only meet it when we embrace and welcome these opportunities to partner together between associate degree and baccalaureate education.”
CSM’s nursing department graduates about 90 nursing students each academic year with the majority finding employment in the Washington, D.C. metro area and southern Maryland.
“This agreement is important to me because it means that students like me can continue our education toward a bachelor degree right here in southern Maryland at a great nursing school that is highly respected,” CSM third-semester nursing student Suzanne Hammett of Lexington Park said in the release.