Malcolm X College, Illinois State U. Offer Nursing Students Dual Enrollment

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Two Illinois institutions of higher learning are joining forces to create more options for nursing students. Malcolm X College and the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University have announced a new academic partnership to enable MXC students to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The Registered Nursing to BSN program provides MXC students with dual enrollment in the ISU program and allows them to get credit toward a BSN degree while taking classes through Malcolm X College. Formerly, MXC nursing students only had access to an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. MXC Nursing School Dean Tammy Scott-Brand said the BSN degree offers students better opportunities within the nursing job market.

“Having a Bachelor’s of Nursing is usually unquestionable when it comes to magnet institutions,” said Scott-Brand. “Those institutions that are pursuing magnet status, they typically will shy away from the ADN nurse.”

Magnet designation is a credential that recognizes hospitals that offer the highest level of nursing care.

The current nursing shortage is projected to intensify in the coming years with the National Institutes of Health reporting one third of the nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 15 years. Scott-Brand said keeping nurses in the workforce while they pursue their bachelor’s degree will help.

“With the nursing shortage, a nurse’s ability to pursue a degree – like a bachelor’s degree – without having to stop working is key, and this is what this opportunity provides,” said Scott-Brand. “They can still be contributing partners in meeting the needs of their community while going to school at the same time.”

Scott-Brand said the benefits of this dual-enrollment model include giving students early access to program resources, as well as learning about scholarship opportunities earlier. She said one important aspect of working in the field during their education is access to employer tuition incentives.

“Still being able to work gives them the ability to have tuition reimbursement from their employers,” said Scott-Brand. “So, there are many attributes that being able to work and having a license before they actually start the program will provide.”

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

Brett Peveto reporting

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