VCU School of Nursing opens accelerated path to a bachelor's to Rappahannock and Southside Virginia Community Colleges

A partnership between the VCU School of Nursing, Southside Virginia Community College and Rappahannock Community College will provide registered nurses who are students at both community colleges a faster path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
A partnership between the VCU School of Nursing, Southside Virginia Community College and Rappahannock Community College will provide registered nurses who are students at both community colleges a faster path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing has partnered withSouthside Virginia Community College and Rappahannock Community College to offer accelerated coursework to registered nurses who are students at both community colleges, providing them a faster path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Students will be enrolled concurrently at VCU and their respective community colleges. 

“We’re looking forward to offering SVCC and RCC nursing students a more efficient path to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, which subsequently will help to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared RNs in Virginia’s health care workforce,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing.

The partnerships are in line with a national push to enhance academic progression for nurses. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” report, which recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be educated at a baccalaureate degree in nursing or higher by 2020. Reduction in medication errors, lower mortality rates and positive patient outcomes are linked to nurses being educated at baccalaureate and higher degree levels, according to a recent position statement by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 

Enrollment will open on May 1 to nursing students at both community colleges and classes will start in fall 2019. Enrolled students will complete six credits of baccalaureate courses during their last year at either community college and subsequently complete the remaining credits online through the VCU School of Nursing.

Both VCU and SVCC aim to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses who might seek employment at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia, and other health care facilities in Southside Virginia, said Michelle Edmonds, DNP, dean of nursing, allied health and natural sciences at Southside Virginia Community College.

“This partnership brings world-class baccalaureate education to the communities of Southside Virginia,” Edmonds said. “Additionally, the partnership will increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to Southside Virginia. I am certain that SVCC and VCU will together advance the health of this region.”

The agreement with Rappahannock Community College will provide nursing students in eastern Virginia with more extensive educational opportunities, said Ellen Koehler, an associate professor of nursing for Rappahannock Community College. 

“This concurrent enrollment agreement with VCU School of Nursing is an extraordinary opportunity for the students of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region,” Koehler said. “This affords our students the opportunity to enhance their career goals toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a prestigious school that values advancing the profession of nursing.”

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.