Apr 15, 2014

STEP Center Connects with New Partnership

STEP Center Connects with New Partnership
For College of The Albemarle students and graduates eager to earn their Bachelor of Nursing degrees, the financial burden just got a little lighter.
A new partnership offered through COA’s STEP Center allows COA graduates the opportunity to pursue their BSNs at Chamberlain College of Nursing at a discount. The just-inked agreement between the two colleges allows COA graduates a 10 percent reduction in their tuition, as well as a 10 credit award toward their prerequisite courses. 
The cost-savings, said Robin Harris, division chair of COA’s Health Sciences and Wellness Program, is considerable.
“They have less prerequisite courses to pay and that’s huge,” said Harris, adding that COA students who graduate with their ADNs get credit for 72 credit hours in the program, but the new partnership with Chamberlain gives them credit for 82 credit hours toward their advanced BSN degrees.
“The 82 credit hours gives them some savings on the number of prerequisites they take,” Harris added. “It saves them at least around $1,000 and that’s on top of the 10 percent discount in tuition. It saves them time and gets them into the BSN courses – it gets people into the pipeline quicker. And that’s what the STEP Center is all about – finding out what are the choices that are out there that can get them finished faster and onto their BSNs.”
COA’s STEP Center opened last June and began helping match local nurses and nursing graduates with their ADNs, with online BSN nursing programs. Currently, the STEP Center has identified about 20 online nursing programs it recommends to students pursuing advanced nursing degrees. 
Chamberlain’s RN to BSN online program follows a modular format, offering courses between four and eight weeks long. Nurses can complete their BSNs within a year, Harris said, if they move through the program as recommended. 
The new partnership offers students flexibility in pursuing their degrees. Nurses work various shifts and hours, Harris said, which is why COA is focused on identifying online programs offering advanced nursing degrees.
Chamberlain’s program, headquartered in Chicago, also offers 24-hour access to its coursework, library and associated databases, as well as complimentary tutoring assistance. The online program does not require mandatory login or chat times.
“It’s designed so people can go on anytime day or night,” said June Dunham, healthcare development specialist with Chamberlain.  COA’s academic partnership with Chamberlain is one of more than 300 that Chamberlain has with other schools and hospitals across the country.
The 24-hour access to academic support, Harris said, coupled with Chamberlain’s 125-year history as a nursing program and its accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing, made Chamberlain an appealing choice.
“We felt they were a viable organization and a good partner for many of our nurses to move forward,” Harris said. 
Chamberlain and COA may add additional advanced degrees in nursing in the future, for students wanting to pursue master’s or doctoral nursing degrees. 
“The Bachelor’s is just the starting point,” Harris said. “There’s the potential to move those nurses even further up that pipeline.”
And as more facilities and organizations move toward preferring BSNs over RNs, Harris said online RN to BSN programs like Chamberlain’s, will be necessary in meeting the needs of nurses throughout Northeastern North Carolina.
“We’re always looking for programs like this,” Harris said. “The STEP Center’s focus is to help nurses in Northeast North Carolina reach their BSNs in the most expedited manner possible. We simply want to help the nursing workforce move toward their BSNs and we felt that this was a good way.”
Those interested in finding out more about Chamberlain College of Nursing’s new online RN to BSN program, please visit www.chamberlain.edu/Albemarle or the line dedicated for COA: (888) 985-8693.


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