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New Programs Makes it Easier for Virginia Nurses to Earn Bachelor's Degrees



By Catherine Groux
Posted August 22, 2012 03:00 PM

Virginia is trying to make it easier for RNs to earn a bachelor's degree.
Virginia is trying to make it easier for RNs to earn a bachelor's degree.
In order to train more residents to launch careers in nursing, the Virginia Community College System and Western Governors University recently announced that they have formed a partnership, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Under the new agreement, Virginia nurses can earn a bachelor's degree in nursing in only three years for about $17,000 in tuition and fees.

In order to enroll in what Secretary of Education Laura Fornash calls "the least expensive nursing degree in the commonwealth," students must first earn an associate's degree in nursing from one of the state's 23 community colleges. Additionally, applicants to the bachelor's degree program must be licensed, working registered nurses.

After completing their associate's degree and gaining on-the-job experience, students only need to take nine additional courses online through Western Governors University to complete their bachelor's degree, the Times-Dispatch states.

The new program highlights a national initiative to encourage more registered nurses to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing, as opposed to an associate's degree. In recent years, organizations like the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice have recommended that at least two-thirds of the nurse workforce earn a bachelor's degree or higher to ensure quality patient care.

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