Leadership at Alvin Community College and the University of Houston-Clear Lake have expanded their longstanding partnership to help address a workforce shortage of nurses with bachelor’s degrees, the colleges announced in media releases the week of June 7.

UHCL President Ira Blake and ACC President Christal Albrecht signed an expanded articulation agreement at UHCL’s Pearland campus June 10, streamlining the transition process between the community college’s associate degree program for nursing and UHCL’s RN-to-BSN program.

Students who complete their associate degree at ACC will be able to fast-track the completion of their Bachelor of Science in nursing degree at UHCL, college officials said in media releases. The agreement was developed over the past year despite pandemic-induced delays and challenges, according to a June 10 ACC media release.

“Creating a pool of educated nursing professionals is key to our healthy economy, community and workforce,” Albrecht said in a June 10 ACC media release. “This collaboration will help meet our local health care workforce needs and provide new opportunities for the graduates of both programs.”

Those enrolled in ACC’s associate degree nursing program can enroll concurrently in UHCL’s baccalaureate program, culminating in a BSN in a shorter amount of time. Under the terms of the new agreement, ACC students will be able to receive their BSN from UHCL’s Pearland campus one semester after receiving their ADN from ACC.

The curricula were aligned to build on each other so that a nursing student could complete the BSN degree within six semesters, UHCL’s Director of Nursing Karen Alexander said in a June 11 UHCL media release. Without joining the ACC and UHCL programs, completing a BSN could take four to five years, she said.

Students may apply for the program starting in fall 2021 and can enter during a fall or spring cohort. They have a maximum of four years from the start of their ADN to BSN program to complete the BSN, and they can attend part- or full-time.

The schools plan to enhance their programs and community partnerships and make sustained workforce contributions in Texas’ Gulf Coast region and beyond, Blake said in the ACC release. The completion of a BSN will make ACC’s graduates stand out in the job market, the college’s Nursing Director Debbi Fontenot said in the ACC release.

Experts said nursing students have been coping with the realities of COVID-19 in the field while doing coursework, and these realities have led to the exacerbation of an already-present nursing shortage across the Gulf Coast region. Read more
here about other ways in which nurses and nursing educators are responding.