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University of Southern Nevada Launches New Accelerated Second Bachelor's Degree Program in Nursing

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May 28, 2010 - The University of Southern Nevada (USN) is now accepting applications for its 14-month accelerated second bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). The program is expected to begin in October.

The United States is facing a critical nursing shortage even as thousands - nearly 50,000 in 2008 - of prospective students were turned away from baccalaureate nursing programs according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In addition, according to the PEW Charitable Trust, by 2015, the demand for nurses will exceed supply in every state, and, by 2020, nationwide, demand for nurses will exceed supply by more than 1 million.

In Nevada, the need for nurses from now through 2016 is just as urgent. According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the occupation will grow by 37 percent with an annual growth rate of 3 percent through 2016. Nearly 5,500 new nurses will be needed state-wide as early as 2016. As recently as 2006, Nevada had the second-lowest nurse to patient ratio behind only California while, ironically, hundreds of prospective nursing students have been turned away by Nevada nursing schools because of limited educational capacity.

"Limited educational capacity is a cause of the current nursing shortage," said Mable Smith, dean of and professor at the USN College of Nursing. "In addition, the convergence of two factors - an aging baby boomer population and an aging nurse workforce - will intensify the shortage's impact on patient care. Recent healthcare reform, which expands healthcare coverage to millions of Americans, will create a greater demand for healthcare services and more of a strain on an already tenuous situation.

"Although healthcare occupations remain some of the most impervious to economic downturns, the current recession has mitigated the immediate demand for nurses," Smith continued. "Experts agree that this is a temporary trend and the chronic nursing shortage still exists, particularly in Nevada. "

USN realized that a solution to the problem is to increase student capacity by offering an accelerated degree program in nursing for individuals who are seeking to change careers. Whereas a traditional bachelor's degree in nursing may take years, graduates of USN's accelerated online BSN program can earn their degree in just 14 months.

The USN accelerated online program blends the "anytime, anywhere" convenience and flexibility of online instruction with on-site clinical skill development taught by experienced nurse educators and clinical rotations in southern Nevada healthcare facilities, such as St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.

"Our three St. Rose Dominican Hospitals are well-known for providing quality, compassionate healthcare for the community, and our nurses are one of the main reasons we are able to provide that high level of care," said Rod Davis, president and CEO of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals. "We are looking forward to working with the USN College of Nursing on clinical rotations so that nurse-to-patient ratios can become better aligned in southern Nevada."

The program, which is approved by the Nevada State Board of Registered Nursing, is a second bachelor's degree program that is offered by USN's College of Nursing. Prospective students are required to have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing discipline from a regionally accredited college or university. USN is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities.

Not only will nurses be in demand for the next few years, but median salary estimates consistently rank higher than median salaries for other occupations. The median annual salary for Registered Nurses was $62,450 according to the May 2008 Occupational Employment Statistics report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Interested prospective students can visit www.USNnursing.com.

Source: University of Southern Nevada College of Nursing