Two higher education institutions are partnering to help address a shortage in the U.S. workforce.
Eastern Iowa Community College and the University of Iowa announced a new program to help nursing students get their Bachelors degree.
The 3+1.5 partnership is designed to help them seamlessly transition between the two schools.
Students complete their associate studies at EICC, and that coursework allows them to continue through UI College of Nursing’s online program without additional general requirements or other classes.
One additional benefit the schools said is the students will be able to start their education in the Quad Cities area and stay here to continue that education while they are also able to work.
The agreement in part is because the schools said U.S. labor experts warn there will be a 15 percent increase in the need for RNs by 2026.
Director of EICC’s Nursing Program Lori Haugen said, “We have a very aging workforce right now. Just, a lot of nurses are getting to retirement, so the need for nurses is going to increase quite a bit in the next ten years and for those nurses that graduate from EICC, just to be able to get out working and then be able to continue with their education, it really benefits the community and our healthcare needs.”
Also, the higher degree is seen as a way to improve the overall care for patients.
“There are many studies that have shown that a Baccalaureate prepared workforce will actually reduce morbidity and mortality patient outcomes so the better education the nursing workforce is, the better it is for healthcare of Iowa,” said UI College of Nursing Dean Julie Zerwic.
The students said it would also make it easy for them to fit in the continuous learning, especially for non-traditional students.
Tayler Ackles will graduate this spring and has a goal of getting her doctorate in nursing.
For here, it will help her improve at what she loves to do.
Student Tayler Ackles said, “It’s a very good feeling that you get when you do have a good outcome and just going home and knowing that you were able to help somebody else that needed the work more than you did. It’s a very rewarding job.”