The Institute of Medicine introduced a new initiative in 2010 to increase the number of baccalaureate-educated nurses by the year 2020. The recommendation is that 80% of the nursing workforce holds Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees by that time. This stated goal has caused Utah to form its own initiatives designed to implement these new higher standards.
The Utah Action Coalition is dedicated to implementing the new IOM recommendations within Utah. Its goals are to increase nursing education levels, remove barriers to practice and provide residency training for new nurses. The coalition has successfully received backing from the director of the Utah Medicaid Office to expand reimbursement for RN to BSN programs. It also plans to create more accessible pathways for everything from entry-level to doctorate-level degrees, with a focus on increasing the number of baccalaureate and doctoral educated nurses in the state.
The coalition has formed two work groups to help facilitate its work:
- Education and Practice
- Leadership and Collaboration
Data from both groups has already been gathered and published in Utah’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Workforce Report, which shows the importance the state is placing on the RN to BSN initiative.
The BSN degree also opens up new career advancement opportunities for nurses working in Utah. Examples of nursing jobs made available to BSNs internally include:
- Clinical Communications Director – Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City
- Nurse Educator – Quintiles Transnational, Salt Lake City
- Clinical Nurse Coordinator – University of Utah Health , South Jordan
Enrolling in an RN to BSN Program in Utah
Online education has made it possible for RN’s to complete the RN to BSN program while still holding employment. Additionally, Utah offers several traditional classroom environment colleges in which the BSN can be completed. Hybrid programs are also available that incorporate a mix of online and classroom coursework.
BSN programs approved by the Utah Board of Nursing are offered online and onsite in the following cities:
- Salt Lake City
- Cedar City
- South Jordan
Nursing schools in the state of Utah have certain requirements that must be met before enrollment in RN to BSN programs. While each institution will have its own set of requirements, the general requirements include:
- Minimum 2.8 GPA on a 4.0 scale for all core and prerequisite courses.
- Minimum 2.8 GPA A.S. or A.A.S in a nursing program.
- Minimum 2.8 overall GPA
- Current RN license
Several scholarships have been created in the state of Utah to help offset the costs of pursuing advanced education in nursing. Grants and scholarships like the CampusRN Utah Nursing Scholarship are available to qualified applicants.
Components and Structure of RN to BSN Programs
Students of the RN to BSN program can choose from an online, classroom or hybrid program which combines online and classroom instruction that covers:
- Care of the Older Adult
- Health Assessment
- Clinical Reasoning
- Nutrition for Contemporary Society
- Professional Roles and Values
- Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
- Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research
- Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing Field Experience
- Leadership and Professional Image
- Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership
- Information Management and the Application of Technology
Approved hospitals for clinicals by the Utah Board of Nursing include:
- University of Utah Health Care – Salt Lake
- American Folk Hospital – American Folk
- Dixie Regional Medical Center – St. George
Hospitals that Facilitate RN to BSN Progression through Incentive Programs
The new IOM recommendation means that many hospitals within Utah are offering incentives for RN’s to complete a BSN so as to remain highly valued employees within the health network.
Examples of hospital systems offering incentives to RNs looking to pursue the BSN include:
Intermountain Health Care
Intermountain Health Care includes a series of hospitals within the state of Utah which all have tuition reimbursement programs and the ability to move up in positions within the hospital system. Employees can receive up to $2,000 per year towards their BSN degree.
Davis Hospital and Medical Center
In its commitment to provide expert healthcare, Davis Hospital offers nurses with an RN tuition reimbursement to help pay for the BSN degree which most hospitals in the state of Utah will require by 2020. By doing this the hospital will be prepared with a competent BSN staff of nurses per the IOM requirements.
University of Utah Health Care
The University of Utah Health Care system offers opportunities for continued education as well flexibility of scheduling to attend classes. It also has an excellent tuition reduction program which allows offers a 50% tuition reduction for eligible employees and their families. Full time employees are eligible after six consecutive months employment, spouses are eligible after the employee has one consecutive year of employment and children after three consecutive years.