NCK Tech, KU sign partnership agreement

Special to The Hays Daily News

Kansas nurses now can advance their careers at home, thanks to an innovative agreement between 18 Kansas community colleges, including North Central Kansas Technical College, and the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

The agreement allows nurses with an associate's degree in nursing from a participating college to easily transition to receive their bachelor of science in nursing KU's online RN-to-BSN program.

"Health care today is increasingly demanding bachelor's-prepared nurses," said Karen Miller, dean of the KU School of Nursing. "We want to ensure that Kansas' nursing workforce can meet that demand, but that the state's nurses can earn an affordable bachelor's degree without having to leave their home community."

KU has offered an online RN-to-BSN degree since 1996, but the new agreement makes it easier to facilitate the transition.

The new agreement guarantees admission to every student who graduates from an associate's degree nursing program with a 2.5 GPA or higher and passes the licensure exam to become an RN.

"I'm so excited about this partnership," said Sandra Gottschalk, director of nursing at NCK Tech. "They have done an awesome job to make this wonderful opportunity for our graduates. It's a win-win for our graduates and all of us.

"Our graduates are very well respected," Gottschalk said. "When you add to that a bachelor degree from KU School of Nursing, it provides them with the educational resume to prepare them for any number of career opportunities. This plan provides for an affordable, seamless articulation and it is supportive of the IOM recommendation that by the year 2020, the majority of the RN workforce will have their bachelor's degree."

"Under this new agreement, community college faculty will play a central role in the success of the program and the students," Miller said. The RN-to-BSN program will employ master's or doctorally prepared faculty at the community colleges to teach many of the courses.

Students choosing to enroll in KU's RN-to-BSN program will have to earn a total of 120 credit hours, including 60 hours in prerequisites and liberal arts curriculum.

The last 30 hours of the program will be completed online through the KU School of Nursing.

"As the University of Kansas, it's our mission to serve all Kansans," said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "We're making it easier for Kansas nurses to continue their education at KU. That will benefit their careers, as well as help them contribute to the health of their communities."