Academic Insight

Addressing the nursing shortage

Nurses

(photo by Douglas Levere, BA ’89)

An innovative accelerated bachelor’s degree program in the UB School of Nursing designed to address the chronic nursing shortage is expanding. Specifically, it will focus on meeting the needs of underserved urban and rural areas under a three-year, $1.36 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Accelerated BS Program allows persons who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field to receive a bachelor’s of science in nursing in 12 months. Nearly 40 enrollees already have completed the program since it was introduced three years ago, with an additional 18 currently enrolled and expected to graduate in spring 2007.

The new grant will be used to expand enrollment through targeted recruiting, aiming particularly at filling the nursing vacancies in underserved urban and rural areas. There are 150 designated “health profession shortage areas” in Western New York alone.

“Various studies have found that health-care quality is affected directly by the current nursing shortage,” says Michael Redfern, senior staff assistant for academic affairs in the UB nursing school and the project’s coordinator. “By increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses, as well as partnering with community stakeholders, this project is sure to have a positive impact on the quality of health care in Western New York.”