The inaugural class of the Integrated Nursing Pathway program at the Community College of Aurora has embarked on its future. The program’s creators say the students’ specific path of instruction will be among the first in the country and is the first in Colorado.
The first group, or cohort, of nursing students is simultaneously enrolled in the Community College of Aurora and the University of Colorado College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus, CCA’s partner institution in the program. The program was crafted to pave the way for community college students to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“Now that classes have started, there is a lot of excitement surrounding this collaboration,” said Nancy Kiernan Case, CCA dean of health sciences. The program—its full name, the Integrated Pathway to Baccalaureate Nursing Education Program—will benefit students looking for a meaningful career as well as health care providers who seek to hire baccalaureate-prepared nurses. Students accepted into the program will earn an Associate of General Studies degree from CCA before moving seamlessly to the University of Colorado College of Nursing to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, where they will continue their education at the new, state-of-the-art University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
“This new approach to nursing education in Colorado has culminated in an exciting program that capitalizes on the strengths of community college education, builds on the academic resources at both institutions, and transitions community college students to the baccalaureate degree in less than four calendar years,” Case explained.
CCA students will enjoy the benefits of working together with their University of Colorado College of Nursing classmates to share experiences, questions, best practices, challenges, and successes in a demanding curriculum designed to prepare them for a rewarding career.
Case adds that the Pathway emphasizes the value of a diverse student population as a way of achieving excellence in practice that is reflective of the cultural diversity of health care recipients. Program creators say that the diversity of these nursing students will help to prepare them to better serve the patient populations they reflect.
She added that bachelor’s-prepared nurses have a distinct advantage in the workplace. “They are in high demand, have greater employment opportunities, and are more likely to move into leadership roles with the possibility of higher salaries,” she said.