Thursday, November 29, 2012

[168] MTSU, Columbia State sign nursing transfer agreement

MTSU News and Media Relations contacts:
             Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or
Columbia State Community College contact:
      Amy Green, 931-540-2516 or

MTSU, Columbia State sign nursing transfer agreement

MURFREESBORO — Middle Tennessee State University and Columbia State Community College administrators formally agreed today (Nov. 16) to facilitate the transfer of Columbia State nursing students seeking to upgrade their associate degree to a bachelor’s degree through MTSU’s program.

The document, signed by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Columbia State President Janet F. Smith, will provide for specific advisement for Columbia State students who intend to transfer to MTSU and encourage academic and administrative coordination between the institutions. The signing was held in the President’s Executive Conference Room in the new Student Union Building.

“This will help students and provide a critical need,” McPhee said. “The Tennessee Board of Regents wants to increase the number of graduates in critical areas, and this program will help take out the hassle, allowing for an easier transition. This pact with Columbia State is a true win-win for the students and faculty at both of our institutions.”

“The signing of this innovative articulation agreement is a first and has occurred because of institutions joining together, partnering, to find the best way for associate degree RN’s to obtain their BSN,” Smith said. “It is an example of the commitment of MTSU and Columbia State to be a team in providing educational access for our citizens, workforce responsiveness for our agencies and industries and a stimulus for achievement of the higher education goals of our state.” 

Nursing and academic officials at both schools praised the agreement and how it also involves Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia.

“There are so many of their graduates who wish to obtain their BSN and this agreement will provide for seamless progression from the associate degree to the BSN,” said Dr. Karen Ward, interim director for the MTSU School of Nursing, which has one of the leading programs in the Southeast. “We also are happy to have Maury Regional involved, thus assisting with clinical placement opportunities and, perhaps, additional faculty that will be needed. It’s a win-win-win-win situation: for the students, for Columbia State, for Maury Regional and for MTSU.”

Deborah Lumpkins, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer from Maury Regional, attended the signing.

Barbara Blum, director of the Columbia State nursing program, called the agreement “a significant milestone” that helps students at both schools because it presents opportunity for career advancement as well as promoting excellence in patient care.”

Dr. Kae Fleming, dean of the Health Sciences Division at Columbia State, said her college’s nursing program is a “centerpiece of the educational experiences available for students.”

Fleming said the associate degree RN is workforce ready and performs a critical role in meeting the care excellence expectations of patients and the medical community.

“Many associate degree RNs have obtaining a BS degree as a personal goal and the RN to BSN agreement between Columbia State and Middle Tennessee State, with Maury Regional Health Systems collaborating to provide advanced level nursing clinical experiences, offers a path to achieve this educational dream at in-state tuition rates with no commute,” Fleming said. 

Fleming said the BSN will be earned through a blend of courses at Columbia State, with the community college benefits of lower tuition, smaller class sizes and personal attention, followed by online classes through MTSU. 

“On-ground sessions will be incorporated throughout the enrollment to maintain a sense of community and deliver support services,” she said. 

“Degree advancement opens doors for career advancement for nurses,” Fleming added. “Additionally, many acute care providers have established goals for increasing the number of BSN level nurses providing bedside care in response to the IOM (Institute of Medicine) initiatives outlined in ‘The Future of Medicine: Nursing Education.’

“This articulation allows nurses in the service area to pursue lifelong learning, a habit directly aligned with the college’s mission.”

Connie Gellinger, a senior, nontraditional MTSU nursing student who commutes from Thompsons Station, called it a “fabulous” partnership.

“This is great,” Gellinger said. “It will allow for seamless transition from the associate degree into the bachelor’s program. The benefit is (being able to take) online courses, which is more flexible. You can still work and maintain a family life while you pursue advancement in your nursing career.” 

Included in the agreement is a “Program of Study” that includes the MTSU RN to BSN course requirements and outlines courses that must be taken at Columbia State for transfer to MTSU. Also provided is a listing of the MTSU upper division nursing courses that students will be required to complete in order to earn the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing through MTSU.
The agreement will be reviewed, amended, updated and/or expanded by mutual consent by representatives of each institution.

Photo cutline

MTSU Columbia State signing.jpg

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, and Columbia State Community College President Janet Smith shake hands following a signing of a transfer agreement involving both schools’ nursing programs on Friday, Nov. 16, at MTSU. The signing took place in the President’s Executive Conference Room in the new Student Union Building. (Photo by Andy Heidt/MTSU Creative and Visual Services)

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