The Nursing Education Partnership ensures that CCRI graduates who wish to complete their bachelor’s degree are automatically accepted once their associate degree is officially recorded. They may begin studies immediately, taking the licensing exam to become a registered nurse while enrolled instead of having to wait until they are licensed.
Students will have the option to complete their bachelor’s degree through the traditional classroom option or the University’s new “RN to BS in Nursing online” completion program.
A total of 75 course credits will be eligible for transfer. “Admitted students receive academic equivalencies, program-specific degree plans, potential scholarships and other benefits that extend beyond the academic experience,” according to the memorandum. “It is the specific intention of URI and CCRI that the Nursing Education Partnership be expansive in scope and flexible.”
The Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, has recommended a baccalaureate degree in nursing and has encouraged associate degree programs to partner with baccalaureate programs to create seamless pathways for their graduates to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
“CCRI is proud to join our state’s flagship university in creating an efficient way for our nursing students to continue their education in the public higher education system, thus increasing both their knowledge and clinical expertise as well as their marketability as they seek employment,” said CCRI Vice President for Academic Affairs Greg Lamontagne.
“This exciting new seamless transition program for nursing students between CCRI and URI exemplifies the close partnership between our institutions and our joint commitment both to our students and to enhancing the nursing workforce and profession throughout Rhode Island. This innovative initiative capitalizes on the special capabilities of both programs and provides a direct pathway to success for students. We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the high-quality nursing program at CCRI to ensure the continuous improvement in health care for our state and citizens,” said URI Provost Don DeHayes.
CCRI Interim Associate Dean of Nursing Education Rosemary Costigan said one unique provision of the partnership is that CCRI students can begin their baccalaureate studies before they obtain their registered nurse licenses. “This is significant because most schools require the RN license before enrollment, but URI has allowed the student until his or her second course to obtain licensure,” she said.
Costigan said URI’s online bachelor’s degree program is a good fit for the 250-plus students who graduate from CCRI’s program each year.
“A majority of nursing graduates are choosing online completion programs because they are flexible for work schedules and family demands,” she said. “The online option also expands the ability of the four-year institution to accept more students, which facilitates the number of associate degree nurses completing their baccalaureate degrees.”
“This nursing education partnership signifies Rhode Island’s response to a national imperative to create seamless progression for nurses in associate degree programs. It will open up more career options for its graduates since we know that employers prefer to hire nurses with a baccalaureate degree. We also expect that the baccalaureate nursing degree will inspire some students to continue their education into our graduate program,” said Mary Sullivan, interim dean of URI’s College of Nursing.