NAU opening accelerated nursing program in north Phoenix
Northern Arizona University will expand its accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) nursing program to its north Phoenix campus in May.
State of play: NAU-North Valley's 12-month, three-semester accelerated BSN program is aimed at students who already have degrees in fields other than nursing, Janina Johnson, the executive director of NAU’s School of Nursing says.
- A typical BSN program takes about two and a half years and NAU's "compressed BSN" for students who don't have preexisting degrees takes 16 months with heavier course loads each semester.
- "By doing that, you are able to enter the workforce more quickly," Johnson says.
Why it matters: Recent studies by the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health found better patient outcomes in hospitals with a larger percentage of nurses who have BSNs.
- "There's a little bit more theory, evidence, background in the courses versus in an associate's degree program," Johnson says.
- A BSN education includes courses on leadership, evidence-based practice, health care policy and community health that aren't part of a traditional associate's degree program.
- The preferability of nurses with BSNs over those with associate's degrees is a long-running debate in the profession, Johnson noted.
Between the lines: NAU got a $6.4 million grant from the Arizona Department of Health Services to expand its nursing program, and some of that money will be used to provide full-tuition scholarships.
- Those scholarships will be available to students in the accelerated BSN program at the North Valley location through spring 2024.
- Students who receive the scholarships must work in Arizona for at least four years after becoming an RN.
The big picture: The U.S. is in the grips of a years-long nursing shortage.
- The Arizona College of Nursing puts our state among the 10 hardest-hit, the Daily Independent reported in January, while Becker's Hospital Review reported last year that 37% of Arizona hospitals had critical staffing shortages, the fourth-worst in the country.
- Arizona has 8.01 nurses per 1,000 people, the ninth-lowest ratio in the U.S. and below the national average of 9.19, NurseJournal reported in September.
- 1 in 5 Maricopa County residents considers health care accessibility to be a serious concern, a figure that crept up to 40% in rural parts of the state, according to a study that NAU conducted last year.
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