The fast track to the bedside

TU partners with CCBC to offer students an accelerated master’s degree in nursing

TOWSON, Md. (Sept. 23, 2010)—Towson University’s Department of Nursing and the Community College of Baltimore County’s School of Health Professions have launched an associate to master’s (ATM) degree in nursing for college graduates who want to enter the health care field but don’t have nursing degrees.

The only one of its kind in the state, the full-time, year-round program provides non-nursing students with an accelerated career path into nursing education, thereby correcting a leading cause of nationwide nursing shortages—a lack of industry professionals credentialed to teach.

“We are seeing a national faculty shortage in nursing,” says Vicky Kent, clinical associate professor of nursing at TU. “And without faculty you can’t open new programs or enhance current programs. This partnership will provide us with faculty able to teach at both the associates and graduate level.”

ATM participants study for the associate degree in nursing at CCBC for the first 17 months. Those who successfully complete the degree and obtain the RN license continue coursework at TU to earn a combined BSN and MS in nursing degree with a focus on nursing education. The entire program can be completed in fewer than three years.

"The benefits for students are twofold," explains Kent. "The first phase of the degree allows participants to earn a nursing license within 17 months, so while they are still graduate students they can receive hands-on hospital experience. By the time they complete the program, they will be fully prepared to enter either the medical or academic field."

Originally conceived by department administrators at Towson and CCBC approximately five years ago, the ATM program is funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Health Services Cost Review Commission. The program's first participants began classes at CCBC this term, and interest continues to grow.

“In our first cohort, we had well over 30 applicants for just 16 seats,” says Kent. “Our next cohort had more than 40 applicants.”

In addition to the bachelor’s degree, applicants are required to have completed several prerequisites, including coursework in anatomy, biology, chemistry and statistics. All applicants are also required to take and pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills, a pre-admission exam.

For more information, including admission requirements and tuition details, visit the ATM program website.






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