A Baccalaureate Weekend Program: Teaching/Learning Strategies

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:20 AM

Susan Chaney, EdD, RN, FNP-C, FAANP
Susan Sheriff, PhD, RN, CNE
College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Dallas, TX, USA

One of the most pressing problems facing health care today is the current and future nursing shortage. Texas Woman's University (TWU) has developed a model to reinvent nursing education through offering baccalaureate nursing education via a weekend/online program to individuals who already have earned a non-nursing baccalaureate degree. The innovative partnership between TWU and the hospital practice partners offers a six semester (including summers) upper division nursing program to individuals with a baccalaureate degree in another discipline.  All didactic courses are offered via distance education with 100% of course content online.  Clinical nursing courses are offered on weekends and the TWU nursing professors teach the didactic portion of the course on Friday evenings. Clinical experiences are offered at the partnership hospitals on Saturdays and Sundays with nurses functioning as clinical associates to preceptor the students.

            The goals of this project were to increase the number of registered nurses available for employment in Texas. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board awarded TWU $330,000 to implement this new program.  Twenty students were admitted in May 2008 and completed the Weekend/Online Nursing Program May 2010. The program was further expanded when TWU received a $744,422 Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) grant to expand the program over three years from 7/1/2010 through 6/30/2013. A one-year extension was given so that the program ended June 30, 2014. There were a total of 77 graduates from the program and currently 31 new students are beginning the program September (fall) 2014. The program is now funded by Texas Woman's University (TWU).   

This project offers three unique purposes for the future of nursing education:

  1. Create and implement an innovative model for undergraduate nursing education through distance education and weekend scheduling to increase nursing school enrollment with emphasis on recruitment of racial and ethnic minority students and students from underserved areas.

  2. Develop partnerships between a nursing program and health care organizations that would provide nursing students opportunities to serve vulnerable underserved populations in the clinical setting.

  3. Provide didactic nursing courses 100% online and schedule clinical experiences on weekends to extend educational opportunities for disadvantaged, unemployed, and underemployed citizens to achieve a baccalaureate nursing degree.