Friday, October 21, 2011

LRU Nursing Program to Benefit From Grant

The Foundation for Nursing Excellence (FFNE) has received a $1,370,000 grant from The Duke Endowment (TDE) to increase the number of Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates in North Carolina by expanding the RIBN (Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses) project. The Hickory RIBN program is a four-year nursing option that will dually admit and enroll students to both Lenoir-Rhyne University and one of five area community colleges.

A higher educated nursing workforce is needed to address the increasingly complex healthcare needs of citizens, and expand the pool for future faculty and advanced practice nurses. North Carolina must create new partnerships between community colleges and universities to support seamless progression toward a baccalaureate degree. The Duke Endowment is further investing in the expansion of the RIBN project to ensure an adequately prepared nursing workforce to support the health and well being of the citizens of our state.

This program will provide a seamless associate to baccalaureate nursing education for students. The first three years of study will be at the community college campus along with one course per semester at L-R. Upon successful completion of the first three years, students will take their fourth year at Lenoir-Rhyne.

“We are so excited to be a part of the Hickory RIBN Collaborative,” said Kerry Thompson, chair of the School of Nursing at LR. “This opportunity allows us to be innovative and provide our local health care facilities the advantage to offer more baccalaureate prepared nurses to the work force.”

One of the priority recommendations from the 2004 NC IOM Nursing Workforce Report and from the 2011 IOM Future of Nursing report is to significantly increase the proportion of BSN prepared nurses by 2020. Currently over 66% of newly licensed nurses enter the workforce with associate degrees in nursing and less than 15% of these nurses achieve a BSN or higher degree in nursing during their careers.

Based on the success of the initial stage of this project in western NC and the broad interest in expanding this educational model statewide, The Duke Endowment is investing in the expansion of the RIBN model in five regions across the state, including 14 associate degree and five university nursing education programs.

RIBN students will have the opportunity to begin working as an RN at the end of their third year, unlike a traditional BSN program, once they have passed the NCLEX. This L-R program is in conjunction with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Catawba Valley Community College, Mitchell Community College, Western Piedmont Community College, and Wilkes Community College.

“The School of Nursing at Lenoir-Rhyne is firmly committed to maintain high educational standards and this program is another way that we can work with leaders all across the state to provide quality nursing graduates with the potential to advance our nursing profession,” Thompson explained.

For more information on the RIBN program at L-R, contact Mae Mills at 828-328-7730 or Emily Edwards at 828-328-7731.

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