The Dean’s Desk | Thoughts from Rutgers Nursing Leadership
County College Pre-Nursing Major Links with State Nursing Bachelor of Science Degree
Friday, February 26, 2016
William L. Holzemer, RN, PhD, FAAN
Rutgers University School of Nursing
Rutgers University School of Nursing was approached by Camden County College, Blackwood, New Jersey, an accredited public community college, four years ago to explore the possibility of collaborating on offering the Rutgers nursing bachelor degree on their campus. The County College had been working with a nursing program that linked the community college with a diploma program but when the diploma program lost GME funding, they decided to close the program. The leadership of the Camden County College went looking for a partner and while several private and for-profit nursing programs were very interested in collaborating, but the County College wanted to affiliate with a State university in order to keep the costs manageable for their students.
I have felt for some time that we needed models of collaboration that allowed full-time students to move through a community college and into a BS degree in nursing within a four year or 8 semester period. This had been almost impossible due to multiple factors. Community college students typically spend several semesters taking required prerequisites for the community college nursing program (Associate degree) and then are placed on a long waiting list to matriculate into another full two-year program to complete their AA degree in nursing which qualifies them to take the national licensure examination. Then, they realize that most employers will only interview Bachelor prepared nurses so they immediately return to school to earn the BS degree in nursing requiring another two years– this route to the BS degree in nursing may have 5-7 years or more of schooling before they reach the bachelor degree – which should be achieved in four years.
We began a process of exploring how we might develop a pre-nursing emphasis in the Associate in Science degree at the Camden County College that was four semesters in length and would fulfill all the prerequisites required for admission as a junior (upper division) to the Rutgers Bachelor of Science program. After much discussion, deliberation, and planning, each course offered at the Camden County College that might be required was reviewed and several course were required to be strengthened by upgrading some of their content and one new course had to be created. We now have consensus and approval for a pre-nursing major as part of the Blackwood community college majors. View details about the program.
The Rutgers at Camden County - Blackwood program is for Camden County College students with an Associate in Science degree or those with an equivalent number of credits obtained in previous years from Camden County College. Applicants with a preferred GPA of at least 3.3 out of 4.0 will be given full consideration during the application process. Individuals that are interested in the program but do not meet the preferred GPA are still encouraged to apply, but these applicants should keep in mind the increased importance of their supplementary application materials. The BS curriculum is the exact same curriculum that we offer at the New Brunswick and Newark campuses.
We admitted our first students in fall, 2013, and now in 2015, have reached our targeted goal of having admitted 50 students to this program from a highly qualified applicant pool that had completed their Pre-Nursing major. The NCLEX (RN licensure) for the Blackwood students is the same as that for Rutgers generic students. We believe this two plus two model, coordinated with the community college is of high quality and supports appropriate career counseling for students who may wish to enter nursing through a community college route.