An accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will begin in the fall 2023 semester.
The launch of the accelerated program was made official after notifying the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
An on-campus announcement took place Monday, Feb. 27, in the UTC Metropolitan Building Learning Resource Center/Skills Lab (Room 121).
The accelerated BSN program is intended for those who already have bachelor’s degrees in any field and are seeking to transition to nursing careers. Students accepted into the program will face a rigorous three-semester, 59-credit-hour curriculum enabling them to graduate within one calendar year.
“The need for the accelerated program stems from a critical nursing shortage impacting health care not only in the Chattanooga community but across the region, the state and the country,” said Dr. Jerold L. Hale, UTC provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The benefit of an accelerated program is that it effectively addresses workforce demands by increasing the number of desperately needed nurses. UTC will be playing a role in helping put nurses out there in a much quicker time frame.”
The new, accelerated program will accept and enroll a new cohort of students each semester—fall, spring and summer—creating a continual admission and graduation cycle.
Of the 59 credit hours required by the ABSN program, more than a third—21 credit hours—will be completed in clinical settings, giving essential hands-on experience.
“The program is designed for those individuals who have the right skills to be successful: They have to be highly motivated; have an intense desire to learn and become competent as a BSN-prepared nurse; understand and appreciate time management; and be able to handle rigor and stress,” said Dr. Chris Smith, director of the UTC School of Nursing and the University’s chief health affairs officer. “They will need to possess the financial ability to be out of the workplace for a year and have a support system which understands the requirements of an accelerated program.
“The good news is you don’t have to have a degree in the medical field to enter this program,” Smith added. “For example, if a person with a degree in business wanted to return to college and be a nurse, that would be great. The same for someone with a degree in a field like psychology; they just have to have a proven track record in having earned a bachelor’s degree and meeting the prerequisites.”
Applicants must submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions and meet the prerequisite course requirements, which include English comp 1 and 2, statistics, chemistry with a lab, anatomy, physiology, psychology and microbiology. All prerequisites must be completed either at UTC or an accredited institution; be in progress or planned at the time of the application; and be completed before the semester in which the student’s ASBN program starts. These courses must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.75—including a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of previous degree work.
Faculty who are experienced researchers and leaders in nursing and health care will teach the ABSN students during the 12-month format.
“These students will come in, take our nursing-specific courses—including pathophysiology and pharmacology—and participate in clinical experiences at the major hospitals, community clinics and other health care facilities in the Chattanooga and Hamilton County region,” Smith said.
Chattanooga health care officials lauded the announcement of the new program.
“Parkridge Health System leaders are doing everything we can to staff patient care teams to provide safe, effective care to the people we serve,” said Dr. Deborah Deal, chief nurse executive at Parkridge Health System. “As it’s a well-known fact that all of health care faces a critical shortage of nurses and nurse leaders, we’re excited UTC is helping meet this important demand by offering accelerated opportunities for nursing students to meet their educational goals.”
“We are so excited to partner with UTC; this is a significant advancement for the University, our area hospitals and for our community as a whole to support prioritization of a strong health care workforce,” said CHI Memorial Senior Vice President of Surgical Services and Chief Nursing Officer Sherry Fusco. “Thank you so much for integrating innovative and creative opportunities.”
“We are thrilled with this announcement from UTC’s School of Nursing,” said Rachel Harris, chief nursing executive for Erlanger Health System. “Accelerating the BSN program to help fill needed nursing roles in our community will have a lasting positive impact on the health and health care available.”
Students interested in the ABSN program may contact April Anderson (April-Anderson@utc.edu or 423-425-4670) for more information.
The UTC School of Nursing is an academic unit of the University’s College of Health, Education and Professional Studies.