Volunteer State Community College has joined the Partners in Nursing Consortium, a long-term partnership between Belmont University, HCA’s TriStar Health System and other select Tennessee colleges and universities, an initiative created to address the growing shortage of registered nurses in Tennessee.
Through this consortium Volunteer State students who are accepted into the program will earn their Associate’s degree at Volunteer State. They will then transfer to Belmont where all of their credits from Vol State will apply toward a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing.
The nursing students will complete their education in Belmont’s new $22.5 million Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences Building, now under construction.
For their clinical experiences students in this program will have the opportunity to work within the HCA’s TriStar Health System hospitals as well as other local clinical agencies.
“This partnership will provide our students with exciting new opportunities,” Volunteer State President Dr. Warren Nichols said. “Our pre-nursing students have the foundation they need to succeed anywhere. We’ve had a great relationship with Belmont over the years. This new program will allow select students full transfer credit and guaranteed acceptance to Belmont’s fine nursing program. This agreement is also a prime example of the unique role community colleges play in public and private partnerships, designed to enhance economic development and quality of life for everyone.”
A task force of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) issued a January 2004 report, Securing Tennessee’s Future: Increasing Educational Capacity in Nursing, which projected a shortage of 9,500 nurses in Tennessee by 2020.
The growing crisis flows from a declining number of nursing school graduates, limited nursing program capacity, the aging of the current registered nurse workforce, declining relative earnings for nurses and increased demand for nursing services, according to TICUA. The nursing consortium is a long-term partnership to address that shortage and meet the needs of Middle Tennessee for quality health care professionals in nursing and other health sciences occupations through a dynamic, innovative and collaborative relationship between Belmont University and one of Nashville’s leading health care organizations.
“We welcome Volunteer State to this important and unique Partners in Nursing Consortium as we combine our institutions’ efforts along with industry partner HCA’s TriStar Health System to help meet the growing need for nurses and other health care professionals,” Dr. Robert Fisher, president of Belmont University, said. “Ours is the most ambitious effort yet taken by any Tennessee university to address the state’s growing shortage of nurses – a shortage that is growing toward crisis proportions.”
Construction is well underway on the new Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences Building, which is scheduled to open in August 2006.
Belmont launched an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the fall of 2003 and has increased enrollment in its nursing program from 131 students in 2002 to 256 this year. The goal of this consortium is to enroll 600 nursing majors.
“With this new partnership and health sciences building, we’ll have the opportunity to impact nursing education in this region for the next 50 years and beyond,” Dr. Debra Wollaber, dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing at Belmont, said.
Volunteer State students will be able to apply for entrance into the Belmont nursing program during the spring semester of their freshman year and up to 16 students will be officially accepted following the successful completion of that year. Currently 400 students are enrolled in the pre-nursing program at Volunteer State.
Trevecca Nazarene University is also a member of the Partners in Nursing Consortium.
Volunteer State Community College
Volunteer State Community College offers more than 45 programs designed to transfer to universities and 28 programs designed for direct entry into the workforce. Classes are held at the main campus in Gallatin, Tenn., and degree earning centers at McGavock High School in Nashville and the Livingston Center in Overton County. More than 7,000 credit students are enrolled for fall semester 2005. Volunteer State prepares students for challenging careers in diverse fields ranging from health care to computer information technology. Volunteer State also gives students the background necessary for competitive entry into four-year schools across the country.
From Today’s Press Conference:
Windows Media Version
The image at the top of this press release shows, from left to right, Belmont University President Dr. Robert Fisher and Volunteer State Community College President Dr. Warren Nichols. The second image shows the architectural rendering of the new Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences Building, which is scheduled to open in August 2006. The third image shows construction work underway on the Inman Health Sciences Building. Images are clickable for larger versions. Hi-res versions available from the Office of University Marketing and Communications.
Belmont, Vol State start nurse program, Nashville City Paper, August 16, 2005. PDF file here.