The University and Community College sign an agreement to develop an academic program that creates a smooth transition from a nursing associate’s degree to an RN
The Stony Brook University School of Nursing and Suffolk County Community College have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to launch the Suffolk-Stony Brook Nursing First Program. The new program, the first of its kind on Long Island, begins September 2017 with an initial class of 65 students. Students will be accepted to an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing Program (at Suffolk) and be selected to move directly into a Registered Nurse Baccalaureate Program (at Stony Brook) upon completion of the Suffolk degree.
“The purpose of Nursing First is to facilitate academic progression to higher levels of education in nursing,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. “It will also help build a stronger nursing workforce on Long Island and in New York State.”
“Hospitals are urging, and in many cases requiring, their RNs with associate’s degrees to earn a bachelor’s in nursing,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay. “The Suffolk – Stony Brook joint nursing program creates a pathway and partnership for our nursing students to progress directly from the largest and best SUNY associate degree program to the best bachelor’s program in our great SUNY system.”
The educational model emphasizes the importance of supporting a smooth academic transition between associate degree and baccalaureate programs of nursing. It also directly supports the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Robert Wood Johnson’s Foundation initiative on the Future of Nursing, which advocates for nurses to achieve higher levels of education and training through the educational system and promotes seamless academic progression.
“Our colleagues at Suffolk do an outstanding job in preparing and diversifying our nursing workforce with the selection and training of future nurses,” said Dr. Lee Anne Xippolitos, Dean of Stony Brook University School of Nursing. “However, with dramatic changes in an ever-changing healthcare landscape, the need to educate nurses who are skilled at the highest levels is necessary. This program provides the students with a wonderful bridge to that education.”
The Future of Nursing Report points out that by 2020, the nation will need an additional one million nurses at the bedside to care for an aging population. The report also recommends that 80 percent of the practicing nurses should be educated at the baccalaureate level in order to continue to perform at the level needed as nursing practices advance along with medicine.
“Suffolk and Stony Brook University’s creation of the Suffolk-Stony Brook Nursing First Program provides a direct pathway between our SUNY institutions for students to continue their education in nursing,” said Cheryl Shaffer, RN, PhD, Associate Dean, Suffolk County Community College School of Nursing. “Furthermore, our students can now ‘learn while they earn,’ with many taking advantage of employer tuition assistance and flexible working hours provided for RN’s pursuing a BS degree in nursing.”
Students who maintain the criteria for Nursing First admission while being educated at Suffolk move directly into the Stony Brook program in their junior year. Admission requirements include maintaining a 3.1 grade point average or higher and earning a grade C or higher in all required courses for the Associate of Science Degree in Nursing.
Before being enrolled in the Stony Brook Registered Nurse Baccalaureate Program (RNBP), students will complete all requirements for the Associate Degree and three additional credits of General Chemistry. Students are required to complete the RNBP at Stony Brook in four academic semesters.
The MOU between the Stony Brook School of Nursing and Suffolk will remain in effect for three years. In the fall of 2020, the faculty leaders of Nursing First and both higher education institutions will assess the program, with the intent of extending the agreement and making any necessary adjustments to strengthen it academically and enhance its value to students.