Building Nursing Pathways

Bellingham Technical College and its employer and workforce partners request funds to provide access to stacked and latticed credentialing and licensure for TAA-eligible workers, veterans and their spouses, long-term unemployed individuals and others in the high-wage, high-demand field of Registered Nursing (RN). The College will provide a streamlined nursing employment pathway by developing an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN, producing RNs), a Medication Assistant certificate, a targeted LPN-RN option for Licensed Practical Nurses seeking further education, and an accelerated (2+2) pathway to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) completion. The project will enable BTC to create a Simulation Laboratory, redesign clinical experiences, transform existing curriculum approaches, create technology-enhanced classrooms, answer employer demand for highly-skilled RNs, and address barriers for TAA-eligible, veterans, and other targeted student populations. The proposed program will train TAA-eligible and other displaced workers to provide nursing services in Whatcom County and surrounding regions, which were identified in 2012 as Federally Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas for Primary Care. By providing RNs an accelerated pathway to a BSN, Building Nursing Pathways will increase the number of nurses who can provide advanced practice and primary care degrees and roles in the target area. The program will rapidly move students to paid employment. Employers have committed to hiring ADN students as Nursing Aides and Nursing Technicians while students are enrolled in the program. The development of online and hybrid courses will offer flexibility and reach a broader geographic area, allowing working LPNs throughout the state to access the LPN-RN option. Shifting to a concept-based teaching curriculum and blended-learning environment will increase retention of students and enhance student learning. The new program will meet the changing standards of the Nursing industry and pursue accreditation through the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC). Innovative clinical redesign plans include developing a Simulation Laboratory for learners to safely practice realistic scenarios and working with acute care partners to pursue development of Designated Educational Units. Program and career navigators, tutors, supplemental instruction, and additional lab support will be added to assist students.

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