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The Mason Gazette

Mason Partners with NVCC on Accelerated Nursing Program

November 27, 2007

By Dave Andrews

The nation’s nursing shortage poses a significant threat to health care delivery, especially since demand is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years.

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) and the Division of Nursing at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) are teaming up to do their part to alleviate the problem. Beginning in the spring of 2008, the institutions are jointly offering an accelerated path into the profession of nursing with the “Momentum 2 + 1” program.

An open house will be held this evening at NVCC's Medical Education Campus from 6 to 8 p.m. to introduce the program and further explain its benefits to prospective students and the community.

The accredited program is structured for students to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) in three years instead of four, and in the process, save each student more than $11,000. The first two years of study are spent at NVCC and the third is completed at Mason.

“This is a very innovative program that shows our dedication to the advanced preparation we want to provide to the nursing students in this region,” says Shirley Travis, CHHS dean. “[The Northern Virginia] region in particular requires extremely well-educated students, and ‘Momentum 2+1’ provides a smooth and seamless pathway for them to complete their degree.”

During the first two years, the student earns two associate degrees, one in nursing and one in general studies. The beginning courses focus on developing nursing skills and include lab work and off-campus clinical experience in addition to classroom instruction. The second year of course work expands to more complex skills and patient problems.

Once their associate degrees are completed, graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam to become a registered nurse (RN) and qualify for admission to Mason, where they will complete their third and final year of the program.

The program is considered to be a “working adult-friendly model,” giving students in their third year time to continue working as RNs while taking their course work in an accelerated format. A detailed list of the course sequence can be found on the CHHS web site.

Organizers feel that Momentum 2+1 could eventually play a significant role in easing the health care strain in the area, if the program runs as expected.

According to a report released by the Health Resources and Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of states with a shortage of RNs is expected to grow from 30 states in 2000 to 44 states in 2020.

The current shortage is the result of many factors. Some of them include steep population growth in several states, a diminishing number of new students to nursing, an increase in the number of nurses retiring, an aging general population and more health care career options drawing viable candidates away from nursing.

Additional information and application forms for the program can be found on the NVCC web site.


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