A new dual enrollment program between Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College will allow nursing students chasing both a bachelor’s degree and a career in healthcare to achieve those goals more quickly.
Andrea Frederick, SVSU coordinator of the initiative that kicked off in fall 2014, said the program is “a wonderful opportunity” both for prospective nurses and the community’s healthcare partners.
“Recently, there has been increased pressure to have more BSNs (nurses with bachelor’s degrees) providing patient care,” said Frederick, an SVSU assistant professor of nursing. “This is one intervention that will help our area to achieve that goal.”
The new program fast-tracks the process by offering classes for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees concurrently. In some cases, SVSU classes are offered on Delta’s campus in an effort to centralize attendance.
Students who enrolled in the program during its inaugural semester are expected to receive an associate’s degree from Delta College in spring 2016 and a bachelor’s degree from SVSU that same December.
Jarrod Givens, a student in the joint program, already sees the advantages of the initiative.
“Most people who go the regular route would work as an RN (registered nurse) and go to school at the same time,” said the Linwood native who hopes to become a traveling nurse one day. “Right now, we’re not working, so it’s easier and it gives us more time to study.”
One of his classmates, Katheryn Howden, said the initiative creates a more efficient learning process. The collaboration synchronizes the academic requirements of the SVSU and Delta College nursing programs while also eliminating the challenges experienced when students attempt to juggle a nursing position with baccalaureate schoolwork.
“Because we are going year-round, we won’t lose our skills,” Howden said. “It’s nice to be able to keep your skills and refresh them. It’s a great program.”
Howden, who is pursuing a career as a neonatal intensive care nurse, said the program offers relevant coursework, coordinated instruction and supportive faculty.
“It’s been great,” the Ypsilanti native said. “They really want you to succeed, and everyone has been so helpful.”
SVSU and Delta recruit students for the concurrent program from the Delta Nurse Scholar Program, which typically selects 30 Delta students per semester, based on academic criteria and other factors, including work experience related to nursing.