Board of trustees approves nursing initiative

The board of trustees approved a resolution March 17 to establish the Bridge to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Initiative, which could bring more nursing students to UNA.

The B2BSN initiative allows the College of Nursing to develop academic partnerships with community colleges and healthcare facilities to encourage nurses with an Associate’s degree to earn their bachelor’s degree online from UNA, according the resolution.

The College of Nursing will offer the initiative as a pilot program in summer 2016 to Northwest Shoals Community College students, according to the resolution.

There are currently three students committed to the pilot program, said Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost John Thornell.

“We will know more in August whether or not (our marketing and advertising) has been successful or not,” he said.

The College of Nursing is reaching out to about 15 community colleges for possible partnerships, said Vicki Pierce, dean of the College of Nursing. They are also approaching hospital nurses at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence and Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, she said.

Students participating in the program would receive an almost 20 percent reduction in the distance learning fee and an 18 percent reduction in tuition, Pierce said.

“(Students) will have to meet the same standards for admission and graduation at the university that all of our students would,” Pierce said. “So, we will look at each of their individual courses, and we will accept transfer credit. We will look at what classes they’ve taken and evaluate what courses they need to take.”