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Governor Bob McDonnell Presides Over Signing Ceremony with George Washington University on Guaranteed Admission Program for Nursing Students Statewide

New Agreement Makes Advanced Degrees in Nursing Available to Students in the Virginia Community College System
January 28, 2013

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Office of the Governor
Jeff Caldwell
Jeff.Caldwell@Governor.Virginia.Gov; 804-225-4260

George Washington University
Latarsha Gatlin
lgatlin@gwu.edu; 202-994-5631

Virginia Community College System
Jeffrey Kraus
jkraus@vccs.edu; 804-592-6767

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Bob McDonnell oversaw the ceremonial signing of an agreement today between George Washington University’s President Steven Knapp and Virginia's Community Colleges (VCCS) to provide guaranteed admission to students enrolled in accredited nursing programs across the state who meet established academic requirements. The memorandum of understanding will allow students in any of the Commonwealth’s community colleges to transfer their Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree (ADN) credits to George Washington’s School of Nursing and pursue a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) degree with credits that are applicable to the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

“This agreement between George Washington University and Virginia’s Community Colleges has the potential to change the face of the nursing profession and healthcare education across the Commonwealth for generations,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “We must continue to seek out thoughtful, innovative solutions like this, which expand both learning and economic opportunities to more Virginians. A well-educated and well-trained workforce is the backbone to Virginia and it is public-private partnerships like this that position Virginia to be a leader in the STEM-H industry.”

The agreement helps to realize Governor McDonnell’s recently adopted “Top Jobs” legislation which has a goal of 100,000 more degrees being awarded in STEM concentrations over the next 15 years. There are 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of which the majority offer accredited nursing programs to its students.

“The George Washington University is both delighted and honored to enter into this partnership in nursing education with Virginia’s Community Colleges,” said George Washington University President Steven Knapp. “We also deeply appreciate Governor McDonnell's recognition of the role of higher education in opening opportunities for all Virginians to help shape the future of this great Commonwealth.”

For students with a bachelor’s degree in another field and an associate degree in nursing with work experience as a licensed registered nurse, the guaranteed admissions program will allow them to transfer into the master’s program after taking a bridge course.

“George Washington University is a leader in the Commonwealth of Virginia for its willingness to partner with our colleges and universities to maximize opportunities for our students,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash. “Supporting nursing students as well as those shifting into nursing as a career change in this manner provides flexibility and accessibility to today’s healthcare professional. We’re pleased to see this partnership take shape and look forward to working with both institutions in the future.”

In spring 2012, the George Washington University School of Nursing and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College signed an agreement for nurses in rural Virginia to expand their education. That program, a pilot to the recent, statewide agreement, was targeted toward nurses prepared at the associate degree level seeking to get either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.

“Virginia offers students the best transfer environment of any state in the nation because of exciting guaranteed agreements like this,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “We are excited to be partnering with George Washington University in this agreement and believe that it will expand affordable college access, strengthen GWU and our community colleges and help students across Virginia.”

Some of the benefits of the primarily online program are that participants have access to mentorship opportunities with nursing faculty members and students can stay in their home communities while advancing their education.  The program will help address healthcare workforce shortages; a challenge made more pronounced in rural and medically underserved areas. The structure of the guaranteed admissions program allows for those healthcare workers to continue providing services to their communities while working toward their own career advancement.

To participate in the program, students must meet the following eligibility requirements: completed an associate degree from a community college in the VCCS that is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission; graduated with a 3.0 grade point average in nursing and overall; completed any additional prerequisite coursework; is currently a licensed Registered Nurse (RN) and has proof of employment in a field requiring nursing knowledge or experience. 

Students enrolled part-time can go from an ADN to BSN in four semesters and can earn an MSN in approximately three years.

To view photos of the signing, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgewashingtonuniversity/8423179683/in/photostream

-GW-