Officials at Community College of Denver (CCD) and the University of Colorado College of Nursing at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus announce a collaborative program for students, the Integrated Pathway to Baccalaureate Nursing Education Program (Integrated Nursing Pathway or INP). The Integrated Nursing Pathway benefits students seeking a meaningful career and healthcare providers who want to hire baccalaureate-prepared nurses.
Designed to increase access for community college students to baccalaureate nursing education, this partnership is based on the Integrated Nursing Pathway program initiated by Community College of Aurora and the University of Colorado in 2010. The Community College of Denver offers students strong academic preparation and provides innovative programs and support services for its exceptionally diverse student population; the CU College of Nursing is known nationally for excellence in nursing education, clinical practice, and research. Students accepted into the Integrated Nursing Pathway will earn an Associate of General Studies degree from CCD and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Colorado College of Nursing.
The INP program provides seamless progression to a BS in nursing without earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN). This addresses the issue that a majority of ADN graduates do not return to school to complete a BS in nursing. A unique aspect of the Integrated Nursing Pathway is that students will be simultaneously admitted to both institutions and supported throughout their 126-credit program by a quality team of faculty and other professionals dedicated to their success.
“This collaboration between CCD and the College of Nursing capitalizes on the strengths of community college education, builds on the academic resources at both institutions, and transitions community college students to a baccalaureate degree necessary for today’s nursing careers,” said Dr. Bernice Harris, provost at CCD. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to prepare students for nursing in Metro Denver’s acute care facilities. It is more than training for a job; the INP is educating students for a profession.”
CCD students will bring enhanced diversity to the CU baccalaureate program thereby enhancing diversity in the nursing profession. As nurses, the Integrated Nursing Pathway graduates will better reflect the cultural diversity of the patients they will serve.
Additionally, bachelor’s-prepared nurses have a distinct advantage in the workplace. They are in high demand, have greater employment opportunities, and are more likely to move into leadership roles with an opportunity for higher salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics Job Forecast, employment of registered nurses nationwide is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, a much faster rate than other professions. As a registered nurse with a four-year degree, these students will have an advantage as they seek employment.
“We’re committed to improving health care outcomes in Colorado, and having baccalaureate-prepared nurses on staff increases a hospital’s survival rate by 50 percent,” said Sarah A. Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the CU College of Nursing. “Through these nursing pathway programs, not only are students’ careers enhanced, but patients in Colorado also get better care.”
The colleges will be admitting the first cohort of students in spring 2014, to begin the INP in fall 2014 at CCD. Following completion of two semesters of coursework at CCD, students will transition to the CU College of Nursing. At that time students are integrated into the traditional nursing program with their CU College of Nursing classmates. They enjoy the benefits of working together to share experiences, challenges, and successes in a demanding curriculum designed to prepare them for a rewarding career.