Tennessee Board Of Regents Plans Online Nursing Courses


SAUSALITO (ASRN.ORG)-- The Tennessee Board of Regents is hoping a new online degree program will help address the state's nursing shortage.

The Tennessee Board of Nursing voted last month to approve an associate of applied science in nursing degree to be offered through the Regents system's online program.

A federal report in 2004 had projected a shortage of more than 13,000 registered nurses by 2006 and a shortage of 35,000 nurses in Tennessee by 2020, the release said. The American Hospital Association estimates there are 126,000 registered nurse vacancies across the United States in hospitals alone.

"This program will help meet the current and emerging needs of the workplace for registered nurses, using alternative delivery methods and shared resources," Paula Short, vice chancellor for academic affairs in the TBR system, said in a news release. "We applaud and thank the Board of Nursing for its vision in approving the program, which will help improve the lives of many Tennesseans."

The program will be offered beginning in spring 2008 at nine of the 13 community colleges in the TBR system, spokeswoman Mary Morgan said, including Jackson State Community College and Dyersburg State Community College. Students will spend a minimum of 360 hours online, plus an additional 630 "on-ground" hours for the courses in the curriculum, not including general education and other major required credits.

Course material will be offered through the Regents Online Degree Program, while lab sessions and clinical experiences are offered on-site and supervised by faculty from participating institutions.

Program designers expect to have 300 students enrolled by fall 2009, with 50 graduates by fall 2009 and 100 per year starting in fall 2010, the release said.

The program will not be offered at Volunteer State Community College, Nashville State Technical Community College, Northeast State Technical Community College or Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Morgan said.

The Tennessee Board of Regents is the nation's sixth largest higher education system, overseeing 45 post-secondary educational institutions. The system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 26 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee's 95 counties to more than 180,000 students.


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