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DCCC, UNCG Partnership Graduates First Nursing Class

25 Registered Nurses to Receive Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degrees

Twenty-five nursing students comprise the first class to receive Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees this spring through a partnership between Davidson County Community College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The students, all registered nurses, completed courses taught by UNCG faculty on the community college campus.

Seventeen of the BSN recipients are also graduates of the DCCC Associate Degree in Nursing program.

DCCC and UNCG entered into the partnership to offer the RN to BSN program in May 2014. Classes began meeting at DCCC the following fall.

“It’s very beneficial that these nurses do not have to commute a long distance to get a quality education and, they are able to take their BSN support courses at DCCC at a lower cost to them,” says Rose McDaniel, dean of the School of Health, Wellness and Public Safety at DCCC. “These students also provide outstanding examples of lifelong learning to our current nursing students who will also need to earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing within five years of entering the workforce.”

McDaniel adds that she foresees a long-term need for this partnership and other disciplines following a similar model. “DCCC is very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in partnership with such a prestigious nursing program as the one at UNCG,” says Kim Benson, director of DCCC’s nursing programs. “This partnership provides local working nurses the opportunity to stay in Davidson County for both their educational and employment needs.”

The partnership was developed in response to employment trends, state needs and a 2010 report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM has called for an increase in the number of nurses prepared with a four-year degree or higher, as well as an improved education system that promotes more education for nurses. The IOM mandate takes effect in 2020. North Carolina hospitals seeking recognition as magnet facilities prefer to employ nurses with bachelor’s degrees. However, at present, less than 50 percent of all registered nurses in the state hold four-year degrees in nursing.

“Our students, administration and academic leaders have expressed overwhelming support for options that enhance a graduate’s ability to obtain a BSN degree,” adds Benson. “The chief nursing administrators from Lexington Medical Center and Thomasville Medical Center have expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, submitted documentation in support to UNCG and indicated that they will provide work schedules for their employees to accommodate enrollment in the UNCG RN to BSN program.”

Benson adds graduates will be able to meet the IOM mandate and secure and maintain employment.

“We’re so happy for this group of graduates,” Benson says, “One of them, Heather Cassada, will be the guest speaker at the 2016 DCCC Associate Degree Nursing pinning ceremony. She is a great example of how far a DCCC graduate can go.”

The students will receive their BSN degrees during May commencement exercises at UNCG.

For additional information about the RN to BSN program, visit nursing.uncg.edu and access undergraduate nursing outreach programs. Registered nurses interested in enrolling should contact Dandie Pennell at Dandie_Pennell@davidsondavie.edu or Linda Anderson at lmanders@uncg.edu.

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Photo: Members of the first RN to BSN degree graduating class through the DCCC and UNC-Greensboro partnership are Jessica Trotter, Elizabeth A. Newsome, Cricket Hughes-Van Hoose, Debbie Smith, Karen Hunt, Cheryl Bailey, Olivia Bailey, Sandy Beach, Melanie Brown, Jill Hamm, Michael Fuson, Travis Turrentine, Nicole Dunbar, Kristen Thompson, Christine Kincaid, Lauren Neal, Ashley Painter, Jessica Conner, Heather Cassada, Geri Naylor, Candace Barker, Melodi McNeil and Sandra Shields.