Print
Text size:  A  A  A

St. Catherine University receives $400,000 grant to redesign RN-BS Degree Completion

St. Catherine University is making a Bachelor of Science in Nursing more accessible to registered nurses who hold an associate degree, with the help of a $400,000 grant.
St. Catherine University is making a Bachelor of Science in Nursing more accessible to registered nurses who hold an associate degree, with the help of a $400,000 grant.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded a $400,000 grant to St. Catherine University to support an innovative partnership with Abbott Northwestern Hospital (Allina Health), Fairview Health System and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

The grant is being used to redesign RN-BS Degree Completion in the baccalaureate nursing program at St. Catherine University, making a Bachelor of Science in Nursing more accessible to registered nurses, with the help of the University’s healthcare partners.

The redesigned RN-BS Degree Completion, part of St. Catherine University's Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, will offer courses beginning in Fall 2012.

Responding to the changing healthcare landscape

The new curriculum answers the demand from the healthcare industry for more nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and it aims to meet the goal set by the Institute of Medicine to have 80 percent of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level by the year 2020.

The course schedule caters to working registered nurses, offering a blend of evening and online courses that will give students the flexibility they need to complete a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing. Students may transfer into the program using an associate degree or a diploma, and they may receive credit for prior experience as a registered nurse. RNs who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing may also enroll in the program to complete a B.S. in Nursing on an accelerated schedule. 

The rigorous redesign of this undergraduate nursing program at St. Kate’s is funded by a  $400,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Though a redesign was already in the works for Fall Semester 2012, faculty members in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health say the grant — procured with the help of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs — will provide the resources needed to enrich the program’s curriculum.

“The grant provides instructional design support for delivering the courses in a hybrid model with fifty percent of the classes on site and fifty percent of the classes online. The classes will be engaging and interactive,” says Assistant Professor of Nursing Karen Sund, MPH, RN. “It gives us support for the development of new courses and content as well.”

Redesigned with working nurses in mind

RN-BS Degree Completion at St. Catherine University boasts a streamlined process for transfer credits and a nursing education sequence that can be completed inside of one year. The nursing sequence begins in the fall and includes 22 credit hours, with courses delivered in both full-semester (15-week) and half-semester (7.5-week) sessions. The courses incorporate nursing foundations and theory with upper-level curriculum on evidence-based practice, systems change and leadership in the nursing profession.

Nurses who work in healthcare institutions that have established partnerships with St. Catherine University — including Abbott Northwestern Hospital in the Allina Health network, Fairview Health Systems and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota — will be eligible to receive discounts and partial tuition reimbursement. In some locations courses will be held on site, and St. Catherine University plans to launch a fully online pilot of the RN-BS Degree Completion by August 2013.

“All of our graduates will have that same mark of excellence in terms of meeting the student learning outcomes that we have set for all St. Kate’s baccalaureate nursing graduates,” says Associate Dean Margaret Dexheimer Pharris, Ph.D., FAAN.

RN-BS Degree Completion at St. Catherine University is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

Aug. 22, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Students