A unique partnership in nursing education among the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Mary Washington Healthcare will bolster healthcare services in the region.
As an integral step, UMW’s President Richard V. Hurley and Germanna’s President David A. Sam signed three transfer and co-enrollment agreements for nursing education. The articulation agreements were signed on August 11 at the University’s Stafford campus.
“The University of Mary Washington and Germanna Community College recognize the need for registered nurses to achieve advanced learning through an improved education system that promotes a seamless academic progression,” said Hurley. “We want to make sure that our students are ready to be nurses and that we provide the caliber of nursing education that the healthcare industry needs.”
Sam added, “Germanna is pleased at this opportunity for nursing students. It is yet another stride forward in the ongoing partnership between GCC and UMW, a partnership that benefits students, our community, and the Commonwealth.”
This fall, UMW launches its Bachelor of Science in Nursing-Completion Program, started with a $25,000 grant from Mary Washington Hospital’s Community Benefit Fund. The program is designed for registered nurses who have graduated with an accredited associate’s degree in nursing or from a diploma nursing program.
The new articulation agreements:
- Guarantee admission to UMW’s BSN-completion program for Germanna graduates who have an associate’s degree in nursing, have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average and meet criteria established by UMW. Under the BSN-completion program direct transfer plan, also known as the “3 + 1” BSN plan, students attend Germanna for three years and spend one year at UMW. The guaranteed admission program is effective beginning with the fall 2014 semester.
- Allow nursing students who want a four-year residential experience to live on the Fredericksburg campus while taking courses at both Germanna and Mary Washington. Through the BSN Academic Partnership plan, also known as the “1 + 2 + 1” BSN plan, students complete required liberal arts and nursing prerequisite courses at both UMW and Germanna during the first year; attend the community college during the second and third years to complete an associate’s degree in nursing; then return to UMW for course work during the fourth year to complete the BSN-completion program. This program will begin in 2015 pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
- Permit Germanna nursing students to enroll in the BSN-completion program while working toward an associate’s degree in nursing. In addition, the students may take liberal arts courses at UMW. The BSN Concurrent Enrollment plan begins in 2015, pending SACSCOC approval.
“These agreements will open more doors for nursing students to experience a higher level of learning,” said Pamela McCullough, director of the University’s BSN-completion program. “We’ve created multiple pathways to which members of our community can earn their degrees in nursing.”
In addition to the Germanna and UMW agreements, the University has partnered with Mary Washington Healthcare to offer the BSN-completion program to practicing registered nurses who desire a BSN degree. Registered nurses must have earned an associate’s degree or an associate of applied science degree in nursing from a community college or university; or a diploma from a school of nursing. They also must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Register Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and hold an active license to practice in Virginia. This program begins August 25.
The agreements evolved from a cooperative effort involving Mary Washington, Germanna and Mary Washington Healthcare to meet the nursing education needs of the region. Nursing leaders in each institution examined and discussed “Nurse of the Future” guidelines developed by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.
“We came together to develop comprehensive nursing programs to deliver the qualified nurses that healthcare agencies demand,” said McCullough. “In nursing, we teach the collaboration of care. This is an excellent example of three nurse leaders coming together to ultimately improve the health of the community.”
Marianna Bedway, senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Mary Washington Healthcare, agrees. “All chief nursing officers across the country are challenged to increase the academic preparation of our professional nursing workforce,” said Bedway. “As the CNO of MWHC, I am blessed to have such wonderful community academic partners in GCC and UMW to develop our RNs, their skills and competencies to the highest degree possible. Our partnership will translate into the very best care for our community.”
UMW already participates in co-enrollment and direct transfer agreements with Germanna that permit concurrent enrollment and automatic transfer for eligible students. The University also has a guaranteed-admission agreement with Virginia’s two-year colleges, including 23 branches of the Virginia Community College System and Richard Bland College. Students who graduate with an associate’s degree in arts, sciences, or arts and sciences and meet a minimum GPA requirement may obtain guaranteed admission to the University.