The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced New York is one of the states to receive a two-year, $300,000 grant through its new program, Academic Progression in Nursing.
Along with New York, other states chosen to receive the grants were California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.
The states will serve as national leaders for how the profession most effectively can reach its 2020 goal of getting 80% of all U.S. nurses to at least a baccalaureate level, according to Susan Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN, RWJFs senior advisor for nursing.
Each state is charged with the task of working with its academic institutions and employers to implement effective strategies that will help nurses obtain higher degrees.
“If we cannot come near this goal, then our nursing workforce will not have the capacity it needs to serve as faculty and advanced practice nurses, not to mention the additional competencies our nurses need to serve in more complex roles in our acute care facilities and in increasingly independent roles in the community, such as public health and school health,” Hassmiller said.
The leadership team for the New York State Nursing Education Collaborative consists of project director Cathryne A. Welch, RN, EdD, executive director of the Foundation of New York State Nurses and director, Institute for Nursing, New York State Nursing Workforce Center; co-director Barbara Zittel, RN, PhD, immediate past executive secretary to the New York State Board for Nursing and international nursing consultant; co-lead Susan B. Bastable, RN, EdD, chairperson and professor, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, N.Y.; and co-lead Marianne Markowitz, RN, MS, dean, St. Josephs College of Nursing, Syracuse.
A working model
An educational articulation, known as the dual degree partnership in nursing, exists between the associates degree program at St. Josephs, and the upper-division bachelor of science degree program in the department of nursing at Le Moyne.
“Unlike two-plus-two agreements, the DDPN is designed with a one-plus-two-plus-one sequence in which licensure can be obtained at the conclusion of the third year of study,” Zittel said. “Intended to attract new high school graduates, this model allows students to earn the associate and baccalaureate degrees, while experiencing a four-year campus experience.”
Data collected over the past six years at St. Josephs and Le Moyne demonstrates the popularity of this model with high school graduates, its economic effectiveness, and completion rates of approximately 70%, which is higher than any reported RN-to-BS model in the country, according to Zittel. Since its inception, 20 nursing programs across the state have begun or are interested in replicating the DDPN.
The NYSNEC will focus on increasing the number of RNs pursuing the baccalaureate degree in established partnerships as well as expanding the number of partnerships throughout the state.
It will enable Bastable and Markowitz, originators of the DDPN, to assist public and private sector colleges and their practice partners in implementing the program as well as share best practices, develop common marketing materials, and implement standardized data collection, according to Welch, who sees the program as a building block for strengthening nursing education.
“Through these partnerships, we are attracting competent high school graduates into the profession, building our pipeline for those who will continue on for graduate education and promoting lifelong learning,” Welch said.
On Oct. 22, the first NYSNEC Summit is planned to take place in Syracuse, where the leadership team and partner schools from the seven state regions will meet to discuss the DDPN model, projected targets, specific benchmarks and the evaluation plan.
RWJF will support an additional two years of work after Phase I has ended to help states continue to make progress if they have met or exceeded established benchmarks.
“We have set specific benchmarks and fully intend to be successful so that other New York programs will join us in the second two-year phase,” Welch said.
Leading the national $4.3 million, Phase I initiative is the American Organization of Nurse Executives on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing, which consists of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, the American Nurses Association and AONE.
Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, is a regional nurse executive.