Health First Partners with UCF College of Nursing to Offer On-site RN to BSN Degree
Program to Meet Local and National Demand
Health First has formed a new strategic hospital partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Nursing to offer an on-site Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program.
“We are pleased to be able to provide our nursing associates convenient access to the nationally ranked program at UCF,” said Connie Bradley, DNP, RN, FACHE, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Health First. “This is an exciting partnership that will benefit not only our nurses, but also the communities we serve by providing a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses to care for our patients and members across our integrated delivery network.”
This public-private partnership meets a national objective set by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM, formerly Institute of Medicine) in its landmark “The Future of Nursing” report. The NAM recommends increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020. As nurses take on a more critical role, the goal is to create a higher educated workforce able to produce “safe, quality care and coverage for all patients.” A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that “in hospitals with higher proportions of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level or higher, surgical patients experienced lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates.”
“Throughout its history, UCF has sought out strategic partnerships in its community to provide innovative educational opportunities,” said Dr. Mary Lou Sole, dean at the UCF College of Nursing. “By partnering with Health First, we are able to answer a national call for more BSN-educated nurses and make it easier for RNs in Brevard County to obtain an advanced degree.”
To increase its BSN-prepared workforce, Health First will offer classroom space for the UCF program at its education center in Melbourne and will help fund a faculty member to serve as an instructor and advisor for the program. Additionally, Health First recently increased its tuition benefit for eligible associates and the Health First Foundation is offering scholarship opportunities to cover tuition.
UCF has been educating Brevard County nurses for more than 30 years at its Cocoa campus, and is the first and only public institution to offer a BSN degree in the county. The traditional BSN program is offered in a classroom setting, while the RN to BSN is the first in the state to be offered fully online.
Through the Health First partnership, the traditionally online RN to BSN will be taught in a hybrid format of face-to-face classroom and online classes to ease students into the program. Another unique aspect of the program is that it is designed to provide a cohort of students to complete the program together. The program will be open to all RNs in the community, not just those employed by Health First. Prospective students may apply September 1 – October 1. Classes will begin in spring 2016.
For more information about the RN to BSN partner program with Health First or other advanced degree options at the UCF College of Nursing, contact Stephen Heglund at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit nursing.ucf.edu.
Educating Nurses Since 1979: UCF College of Nursing offers high-quality academic programs from the baccalaureate to the doctorate, growing research and scholarship opportunities, and remains committed to clinical excellence and community service. U.S. News & World Report ranks the college’s online graduate tracks among the nation’s 25 best nursing programs. UCF’s nursing students are highly sought after by employers for their demonstrated academic excellence—scoring well above the national and state averages on nursing board certification and licensure exams. For more information, visit http://nursing.ucf.edu.
America’s Partnership University: The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with more than 60,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region’s future while providing students with real-world experiences that help them succeed after graduation. For more information, visit http://today.ucf.edu.
Founded in 1995, Health First is Central Florida’s only fully integrated delivery network (IDN) and employs more than 8,000 associates. The integrator of its IDN is Health First Health Plans offering a wide variety of health insurance options across Central Florida. In addition it operates four hospitals (Health First’s Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First’s Palm Bay Hospital and Health First’s Viera Hospital) and is home to Brevard County’s only Trauma Center. Health First Medical Group is the largest multi-specialty physician group on the Space Coast. Health First also offers numerous outpatient and wellness services, including Health First Aging Services, four Health First Pro-Health & Fitness Centers and Home and Hospice care. Visit www.health-first.org for more information.