John Wood Community College and Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing (BRCN) renewed a collaborative agreement today to combine resources to deliver nursing instruction for students in JWCC’s Associate Degree in Nursing program.
“Nurses are in huge demand in one of our region's largest employment sectors, and renewing this agreement allows both institutions to more efficiently and effectively utilize all instructor and clinical resources to provide the best opportunities for students," JWCC President Mike Elbe said.
Within the agreement, which goes into effect in the fall of 2016, all JWCC nursing students will take all pre-requisite and first year nursing courses at JWCC. After completing the first year of nursing courses, JWCC students will receive instruction at BRCN to complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from JWCC. Students may then take the exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and/or more seamlessly transfer to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing at BRCN.
“Our goal is to work together to provide as many nurses for the region as possible without duplicating services,” Elbe said. “Our community is fortunate to have Blessing-Rieman to assist in delivery of nursing and allied health programs.”
Brenda Beshears, president and chief executive officer of BRCN, shared that the timing of the agreement is key as health care needs are shifting.
“Health care is shifting dramatically, requiring registered nurses to practice with independence, diversity, and a deeper understanding of community-based primary health care,” Beshears said. ‘This is a strength of baccalaureate education which is currently being sought by many hospitals.”
Elbe shared that JWCC continually reviews its academic programs to ensure the best use of available resources to meet community employment needs. That process, as well as the state financial climate, decreased pool of regional nursing instructors and plans to align with bachelor’s degree nursing programs led the College to renew the agreement with BRCN following a year of JWCC professors delivering both years of instruction on its own campus.
"We hoped to continue to offer both years of nursing instruction on our campus, but given the decreased pool of nursing instructors, the change in state finances in the last year and the statewide push to align programs for more bachelor’s prepared nurses, it makes the most sense to deliver our nursing program in collaboration with BRCN,” Elbe shared. “This maximizes the resources of the community and allows both institutions to focus on specific areas of instruction. “
"We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to sign this collaborative agreement with BRCN, which has and will continue to serve students and the community well," Elbe said. “The agreement is likely to help both institutions better align additional health science programs in the future.”
Beshears views the renewed agreement as another example of a community of educators working together to grow the health care workforce in the region.
“We are a community of educators charged with delivering an excellent nursing education. As programs are evaluated, needs are assessed, and resources are limited, we find that we can do the best for the most utilizing shared resources. This is a huge win for our community and the tri-state region as we work together to increase the nursing workforce in our community while ensuring students can more seamlessly articulate into the BSN program. “