UB Nursing School Launches Fast-Track Degree for College Graduates Who Want to Become Nurses

Program aims to help alleviate chronic nursing shortage in state, nation

By Lois Baker

Release Date: August 28, 2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In an innovative approach to easing the chronic nursing shortage, the School of Nursing at the University of Buffalo, in partnership with the Catholic Health System and the Kaleida Health System, is launching a fast-track degree program that allows persons who hold a bachelor's degree in another field to receive a bachelor's of science in nursing in 12 months.

The primary goal of the new program, called the Accelerated Bachelor's of Science in Nursing Option for Second-Degree Students, is to prepare well-qualified registered nurses to enter the workforce in the most expeditious manner possible.

The program also opens up new career opportunities for college graduates in a tight job market.

The accelerated program is open to persons with at least a bachelor's degree who have completed prerequisites in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nutrition, statistics, and chemistry. Courses in medical ethics and genetics are recommended.

"Employment data show that on average, individuals change careers three times during their working lives," said Mecca Cranley, Ph.D., dean of the UB School of Nursing. "We believe this program will offer an excellent route to a new career in nursing for a very-well-qualified and highly motivated group of students. Schools around the country that have instituted similar programs have been inundated with applicants. We hope our experience will be the same."

Cranley said she is especially pleased to have the Buffalo area's two major hospital systems supporting the program.

"Nursing excellence is the core of quality patient care," said William D. McGuire, president and CEO of Kaleida Health. "It is critical that we provide creative opportunities that encourage the best and the brightest -- as well as the most compassionate --- to consider a career in nursing. The accelerated degree program is a step in the right direction."

Joseph D. McDonald, president and CEO of the Catholic Health System, said of the fast-track-degree approach: "This program is a great example of 'thinking outside the box,' and the Catholic Health System is very proud to be part of this effort. The nursing shortage is real and it is going to take new approaches and solid critical thinking to provide Western New York with skilled nursing professionals for the future. We are pleased to join with the University of Buffalo School of Nursing and our colleagues at Kaleida Health to support this important initiative."

A secondary goal of the fast-track degree program is to encourage students in the program to continue into graduate-nursing clinical specialties, nursing education and research. To that end, the 54-credit bachelor's degree curriculum will include an option to take 12 graduate credits that can be applied to a master's or doctoral degree program in nursing.

"We're hoping a large number of students will take advantage of this opportunity, especially to enter careers as nursing faculty," Cranley said. "Nationally, nearly 5,000 qualified nursing school applicants are turned away each year because of lack of faculty to teach them. That situation isn't helping the nursing shortage."

The first class of 16 students will be admitted in May 2004. Applications to the program must be received by December 1, 2003. Persons who complete the program successfully will be qualified to take the New York State board exam to be licensed as a registered nurse.

Interested applicants may contact the nursing school by email at nurse-studentaffairs@buffalo.edu or by calling 716-829-2537.