Two North Carolina schools are partnering to provide future nurses with a path to a bachelors degree.
The new program is a joint venture of North Carolina Central University and Central Carolina Community College. It's designed to allow students at the community college to take university-level nursing courses. Betty Dennis is chair of the NCCU Nursing department. She said many nurses never bother to get a four-year degree.
"Here in North Carolina," Dennis said, "about 65 % of our nursing graduates are from our community colleges. However, only 15% of those graduates ever go on to achieve their baccalaureate degree."
According to Dennis, becoming a registered nurse does not require a four-year degree, but she points to research that suggests nurses who do decide to pursue a more advanced degree are more likely to provide better patient care.
"What we want to do is create a seamless pathway for those graduates to move on to the baccalaureate degree," Dennis said.
The program is slated to begin in the fall of 2014. Dennis expects to enroll 10 to 15 students in its first year.