The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the increasing demand for nurses with bachelor’s degrees in New Jersey and across the nation. Responding to this challenge, Centenary University in partnership with Atlantic Health System has introduced a new academic program that creates a pathway for registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Through the new 30-credit RN to BSN program, licensed Registered Nurses can enroll at Centenary to complete the requirements necessary to attain a BSN. The program is designed to assist nurses to adapt to rapidly evolving medical technologies and the complexity of the health care system.
“As a result of the pandemic, we’ve witnessed firsthand the increasing demand for nurses across the nation,” Craig Fuller, assistant professor of health science and director of Centenary University’s health sciences and medical laboratory science programs, stated. “Nurses with bachelor’s degrees are highly sought after to step into leadership roles at health care institutions. We need well-trained professionals with strong analytical and leadership skills, who can think critically and react with empathy to the emerging health care needs faced by our nation.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nurses is projected to increase 7% over the next decade. The average age of U.S. nurses was 50 in 2020, with an average retirement age of 62, as reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. In addition, pandemic fatigue has caused many nurses to depart the field. Centenary University and Atlantic Health System have a shared commitment to addressing this critical need.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important to promote community partnerships between respected institutions like Atlantic Health System and Centenary University,” Trish O’Keefe, president of Morristown Medical Center and senior vice president and chief nurse executive of Atlantic Health System, stated. “Through our shared philosophy regarding education, advancement and diversity, this partnership will prepare nurses to meet the health care needs of our community, in the present and the future.”
The new RN to BSN program is the latest in a series of new health care degrees and concentrations at Centenary. Under Fuller’s direction, the university now has programs in medical laboratory science, health science, public health and exercise science.
The new RN to BSN program has begun enrolling students for the fall 2023 semester.