Accelerated undergrad nursing program for 2nd degree students approved

September 9, 2016 By Jennifer Garrett
Photo: Signe Scott Cooper Hall

Signe Skott Cooper Hall, home of the UW–Madison School of Nursing. Photo: Jeff Miller

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has approved a new, accelerated baccalaureate nursing program at UW–Madison.

The program is designed for students who already hold a degree in a different discipline. Applications to the campus-based, face-to-face program will begin in September 2017, with an initial cohort of 30 students beginning coursework in May 2018 for the 12-month, full-time, year-round program. Upon graduation, students will be fully prepared to sit for licensure to practice as registered nurses.

Photo: Linda Scott

Linda Scott

“We are excited to announce our new accelerated nursing degree program. It will enable us to enroll more qualified students and to increase the number of BSN-prepared nurses who will promote and advance health throughout the state,” says Dean Linda Scott.

Scott says in order to meet the needs of our aging population and the demands of our ever-evolving health system, the Institute of Medicine recommends increasing the percentage of practicing nurses with a BSN to 80 percent by 2020.

“On average, 20 percent of our current students are pursuing nursing as a second career. An accelerated program will provide students who hold a degree in another field the shortest path to professional nursing practice — with all of the quality and rigor expected from the University of Wisconsin–Madison,” Scott says.

The option to enroll in the accelerated as opposed to traditional nursing degree program will allow second-degree students to not only complete their degrees in 12 (versus 21) months but also study in a cohort with their peers.

Students in the accelerated program will follow the same curriculum and be held to the same academic standards as students in the traditional undergraduate program. The time savings is achieved from both recognizing existing earned credit and from running the program through the traditional summer and winter breaks.

Shifting some students to the accelerated program will also open seats in the traditional program for undergraduates seeking their first degree.

With 86 percent of UW–Madison nursing graduates practicing in the state, graduating more nurses through the expedited program will positively impact the health care needs of Wisconsin residents.

The widespread nursing shortage is well established. The Wisconsin Center for Nursing’s 2013 workforce report projects a statewide nursing shortfall of nearly 20,000 by 2035. With 86 percent of UW–Madison School of Nursing graduates living and practicing in the state, graduating more UW–Madison nurses via an expedited program will more rapidly address the problem and positively impact the health care needs of Wisconsin residents.

“From a workforce perspective, this program is invaluable,” says UW–Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf. “The new accelerated degree program will enable us to produce more nurses, more quickly.”

In addition to the accelerated and traditional undergraduate BS-Nursing degrees, the School of Nursing offers the collaborative online BSN@Home completion program for registered nurses with an associate’s degree. The school also offers a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree, Ph.D. program for nurses interested in research and academic careers, graduate level mental health and nurse educator certificates, and a joint BS-MPH degree offered with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

For more information, email Karen Mittelstadt, assistant dean for academic programs, or call her at 608-263-5284.