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Home > Article Categories > Nursing Jobs > Nation's First Competency-Based Online B.S. In Nursing to Launch Late this Summer

Nation's First Competency-Based Online B.S. In Nursing to Launch Late this Summer

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As America's nursing shortage worsens, state workforce agencies and healthcare institutions team up with Western Governors University to develop the nation's first accredited, online, competency based bachelor's degree nursing program. The country is currently suffering because there are too few nurses, especially experienced registered nurses (RNs), and the baby boomers put a rapidly increasing demand on the healthcare system. Part of the inability to address this problem is that nursing schools aren't capable of accepting every qualified applicant. This program hopes to bypass the limitations of classroom and lab size to produce more nurses to avert our worsening shortage.
The online nursing bachelor's program, named the Multi-State Approach to the Preparation of Registered Nurses (MAP-RN), was recently approved unanimously by the California Board of Registered Nursing. The pilot program will begin in three Southern California hospitals in late summer 2009. Western Governors University, a private non-profit university, has been a leader in online education for over 10 years, so the choice to use their skills to address one of America's growing crises was obvious. WGU was inspired to create this breakthrough program because of their previous experience with online, competency-based academic programs. The MAP-RN program will combine online clinical simulations with actual clinical practice at partner hospitals. University adjunct faculty will supervise the students' clinical practice. This program allows the University to accept more students and produce more nurses without the huge financial burden of increasing classroom facilities.
The MAP-RN program is the result of a partnership between WGU, the Governor's Task Force for the California Nurse Education Initiative Workforce and Labor Development Agency, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Texas Workforce and Labor Development Agency, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Catholic Healthcare West, Hospital Corporation of America, Kaiser Permanente, Tenet Healthcare, and Universal Health Services. This demonstrates the need for and wide support for online nursing programs.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the program for its joint functions of addressing the nursing shortage and helping Californians to find work. "This new competency-based program is a win-win for California by making nursing programs more accessible to people interested in pursuing this career path and helping to fill critically needed jobs throughout the state," Governor Schwarzenegger said.
WGU is very proud of this innovative program. "Prospective nurses will now have access to a high quality degree program that will enable them to earn a B.S. and prepare for their RN license flexibly and affordably," said WGU President Robert Mendenhall. "The B.S. in Nursing leading to initial licensure program complements WGU's other bachelor's and master's degree nursing programs for already-licensed RNs and supports our mission to provide educational opportunities and degree programs to meet the needs of underserved populations and employers with critical workforce needs."

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