The University of Missouri is opening a new online pathway to help address the shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Missouri.  

MU has developed an accelerated curriculum that allows two-year RNs to earn bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in nursing online in three to four years. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, by 2020, America will need an additional 1.2 million registered nurses to meet the country’s health care demands.

Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MUJudith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU

“We need more nurses and the educators to prepare them,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU. “Nursing schools around the country lack the faculty to keep up with the demand for degrees as it is, and that is only going to grow for the foreseeable future,” she said. 

The shortage of nurses and instructors is due, in part, to age. Registered nurses and nursing faculty both have an average age of 50. As nurse educators retire, nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants because they lack instructors. 

“Our goal is to grow our own faculty – not just for Mizzou, but for all nursing programs in Missouri,” Miller said. 

The program is supported by a grant from the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The grant also provides scholarships for full-time and part-time students in the first year of the new program.  

“This scholarship, which is only available to students who start in 2018, is the perfect opportunity for nurses who want to share their experience and love of nursing in the classroom,” said Gina Oliver, faculty member in the School of Nursing. 

Scholarship recipients will have to agree to teach in nursing programs for three years after graduation. 

“The shortage of nurses in Missouri is at an all-time high,” said Heidi Lucas, director of the Missouri Nurses Association. “But to graduate more nurses, our colleges and universities have to have more capacity. When programs like this produce nurse educators, nursing programs can hire more instructors. In turn, the state can educate more future nurses.” 

On the job market faster

Mizzou’s new online RN-MSN curriculum removes four undergraduate-level courses typically required of students and instead includes six graduate-level courses covering similar topics. In addition, credit for two courses will apply to both undergraduate and graduate course work. 

Applicants will be admitted to the existing online BSN program and will apply to MU Graduate Studies in the last semester of their undergraduate course work. Those with minimum grade point averages of 3.0 will be admitted to the master’s program. Nurses will have earned their BSN and MS in three to four years.

MU is currently accepting applications for the summer 2018 semester that begins in June. Application deadline for both the program and the scholarship is April 1, 2018.

Are you an RN interested in becoming a nurse educator? Learn more about the accelerated online nurse educator track.

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