The bridge program at the University Of Connecticut School Of Nursing is a shortcut, without cutting out any of the education, between Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing to a doctor of nursing degree.
The program offering is coming on the heels of legislation that made the news recently out of New York State in which nurses will be required to obtain an advanced degree within the next decade. A press release from the school states that they made the program available in response to an earlier recommendation by the The American Association of Colleges of Nursing stating that advanced practice registered nurses should be prepared through a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), instead of a Master’s Degree, by 2015.
The nursing school’s bridge program spans four years and is the only one of its kind in the state. A press release by the nursing school said that the program enables RN’s to work on an advanced degree while learning advanced clinical practices through the program.
According to the school’s publication, UConn Today, program coordinator Sandra Bellini said that the nursing school’s bridge programs will emphasize the goals of the subordinate degrees within the Ph.D. training, allowing students to reach a higher degree level in a shorter amount of time.
With RNs in high demand and the industry standards on the rise, it will be important for other programs to follow suit and offer bridge programs in the near future. Plans are already underway at other nursing schools and many already offer such a program to qualified students. Bridge programs can save time and tuition for students, so the programs are generally well received by students and faculty alike.
The industry benefits from more advanced registered nurses entering the depleted workforce as well. Nursing schools like UConn understand that the impact of advanced training can be felt throughout the healthcare system, creating better opportunities for graduates and better outcomes for patients.