$1 million federal grant to help address nursing shortage
Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing has been awarded over $1 million in federal funds to expand the capacity of its Baccalaureate Accelerated Track (BAT) program. The program allows students with a baccalaureate or higher degree in another field to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nursing through an intensive 11-month course of study.
Dianne Miner, who prepared the grant proposal and will act as the project director, said the three-year $1,044,711 grant from the Nursing Division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide some relief for the national nursing shortage by adding a series of new elements to the University’s BAT program.
“The grant will allow us to enhance our efforts to recruit and train more students in a shorter length of time,” said Miner. “It will also allow us to hire more faculty, add to clinical experiences and realign the current curriculum.”
National projections suggest that within the next few years the nursing shortage will increase due to the aging of the nursing work force, the needs of a growing and aging population and decreasing enrollments in nursing programs. Adding to the problem is a shortage of nurses prepared at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral levels to teach nursing
“In New York State this problem has been compounded by the recent closures of four baccalaureate nursing programs, which makes our efforts at BU even more important,” said Miner. “Historically, graduates from our program enter the practice environment immediately after graduation, with many focusing on the more demanding areas of nursing such as critical care and birthing centers. Our students hit the ground running and are highly sought-after.”
The BAT program has been offered at BU since 1989 and in recent years has experienced both increasing applications and larger graduating classes. In 2002 there were 18 graduates and in 2003, 27 will graduate at the end of the summer session in August, the largest number ever. Forty-seven students are enrolled for fall 2003.
The recently awarded federal grant will help meet the increased interest by expanding the capacity of the undergraduate BAT program to accommodate 75 additional students over the next three years by enhancing recruitment activities, in particular those geared toward increasing the number of minority, disadvantaged and rural students.
“In addition, we will be reconfiguring the current BAT curriculum allowing for a better understanding of nursing science and research methodology,” said Miner. “A web-based course will also be added to serve non-traditional students and expanded clinical experiences in geriatric and long term care, and community based care settings will be added to a capstone leadership course. All of these elements build upon our core competencies, creating even more opportunities for our nursing students to acquire the skills they need.”