Broadening pathways for nurses

In North Carolina, the community college and independent university and college systems have signed an agreement to streamline the process for registered nurses with associate degrees to pursue bachelor’s degrees.

Registered nurses with an associate degree from a North Carolina community college may save time and money in earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree at 10 private colleges thanks to an agreement between the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU).

NCCCS Acting President Jennifer Haygood and NCICU President Hope Williams signed the articulation agreement February 15.

“This agreement reduces barriers for registered nurses with associate degrees who want to continue their education,” Haygood said. “It also creates a more seamless and rational transfer process for community college nursing students.”

The RN-to-BSN articulation agreement is an important supplement to the Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement and an example of the partnerships between NCICU and NCCCS, in this case benefiting thousands of RNs across the state who seek to advance their careers with a BSN, Williams said.

“NCICU and NCCCS are already beginning work on additional supplemental agreements that are discipline-specific,” Williams said.

The agreement outlines a progression degree plan that includes required general education and nursing prerequisite courses acceptable to all participating RN-to-BSN programs. Students who follow the plan and take those courses at community colleges will meet the entrance requirements for those programs. Nurses may apply to any of the programs without taking duplicate courses.

“Students will be able to plan with confidence that their community college courses will both transfer and satisfy requirements of participating NCICU campuses,” Haygood said.

Under the agreement, a student who completes an associate in applied science degree in nursing with a GPA of at least 2.0 and a grade of C or better in specified courses, and who holds a current unrestricted license as an RN in North Carolina, will have fulfilled the lower-division general education requirements and nursing program entry requirements for the participating colleges and universities. Because nursing program admissions are competitive, students are not guaranteed admission to the program of their choice.

Related to the agreement, NCICU announced plans to build an online portal to provide comprehensive information to community college students about course equivalencies with independent colleges. The portal will be funded by a $25,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges, with an additional $25,000 raised by NCICU.

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