Nashville Institutions Expand Nursing Education, Opportunities

May 06, 2021 at 08:59 am by Staff

Belmont Introduces Early Entry Program for Graduate Nursing Degree

At Belmont University School of Nursing, high achieving Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students are now eligible to get a head start on an advanced nursing degree from Belmont by completing approved graduate level courses within their undergraduate program of study. The Early Entry Program provides opportunity to earn up to 14 credits toward either a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), saving students time and money in a graduate degree designed to prepare them to be Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP).

Eligible students must meet qualification requirements by the midpoint of their sophomore year to participate in the program during their junior and senior years. Students have the potential to complete a full semester of graduate coursework while at the same time earning undergraduate credit toward their BSN degree.

"There is an increasing need for nurses and nurse practitioners throughout our country, and our School of Nursing is at the forefront of meeting this challenge," noted Cathy Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, dean of the College of Health Sciences at Belmont. "We are happy to enhance the educational opportunity for future nurse professionals by connecting our undergraduate and graduate programs in this way. We hope many of our BSN students will take advantage of this great new option."

Graduate Nursing Program Director Linda Wofford, added, "The Early Entry Program is an exciting way to not only introduce Belmont BSN students to our graduate programs but also an innovative way to offer a seamless transition."

Belmont, Trevecca Nazarene Partner on Innovative Joint BSN Program

Trevecca Nazarene University students who wish to pursue a BSN may do so through the new Belmont-Trevecca joint degree program. In this program, students complete their first two years of course work at Trevecca and the final two years at Belmont University.

Graduates are known for high quality care, a standard modeled by their professors, both inside and outside the classroom. Student learning is enhanced through state-of-the-art simulation, allowing treatment techniques to be practiced again and again prior to caring for live patients. Clinical skills are refined through extensive practice experiences in hospitals and community clinics, including mission opportunities down the street and around the world.

VUSN Receives $3.2 million HRSA Grant to Increase Diversity in Providers

Mavis Schorn, PhD

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has launched a scholarship program for family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery and dual nurse-midwifery/FNP master's students that aims to increase diversity in primary healthcare providers, particularly in medically underserved areas.

Funded by a new $3.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration under its Bureau of Health Workforce Division of Health Careers and Financial Support Scholarship Program, the scholarship program provides economically disadvantaged students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority backgrounds with scholarships, support and education tailored for work in rural or underserved areas. The program's intent is to improve primary and maternity care outcomes for vulnerable populations.

"Diversity of healthcare clinicians is linked to improved access to care for racial and ethnic minority patients, improved cultural competence of the general healthcare work force, greater patient choice, better patient-provider communication, and better educational experiences as students," said Mavis Schorn, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FNAP, FAAN, the program's primary investigator. "Ethnic and cultural congruence between providers and patients -- primarily with vulnerable populations -- can result in better care and patient satisfaction. Ultimately, a more diverse advanced practice nursing workforce will improve cultural competency and the overall health of the country."

The scholarship program also is designed to meet the need for primary care providers in medically underserved communities. Currently, most VUSN students obtain their clinical experiences in rural or medically underserved communities. Many students express interest in employment at their clinical locations or similar settings, but student loan debt can be a roadblock.

"The investment in a master's program can be substantial," Schorn said. "We believe that with decreased debt load, graduates will be more likely to consider employment in rural and underserved areas where salaries are commonly lower than in other areas."

The scholarship program provides career assistance to help students find employment in rural or underserved areas. Because retention of students from diverse backgrounds can be a challenge, the scholarship program also incorporates additional enhancements for the students, including mentoring, peer-to-peer support and affinity student organizations.

Nashville General Hospital Launches Apprenticeship Program for CNAs

(Seated L-R): TriStar Health Division President Mitch Edgeworth and Director of NGH School of Health Sciences Craig Shepard.

Nashville General Hospital's School of Health Sciences was awarded national certificate of apprenticeship status for several in-house programs from the U.S. Department of Labor in early 2021 to create a pipeline of trained, motivated workers to fill healthcare needs. In launching an apprenticeship program for its certified nursing assistants (CNAs), NGH's School of Health Sciences is partnering with federally registered apprenticeship employers to train CNAs and fill positions in the Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky region.

"Not yet being a traditional Title IV school able to offer direct financial assistance, the Nashville General Hospital School of Health Sciences focuses on partnering with apprenticeship employee partners who can offset the cost of tuition for our students, who then are guaranteed employment with the business. This is a tremendous benefit for our students and a win-win for everyone," said Craig Shephard, director of Health Sciences Education at NGH.

Both future students and those currently enrolled in the program are eligible for the apprenticeship, which partners them with businesses in need of CNAs. TriStar Health is one of the NGH program's first apprenticeship-approved employer partners. Executive leaders from Nashville General and TriStar Health held an official signing in April documenting the public-private partnership.

"We are excited to partner with TriStar Health, the region's largest healthcare provider company. As an approved apprenticeship employer, TriStar Health has funding to provide a jump start to those in our community who want to enter the healthcare field. Through Nashville General Hospital's School of Health Sciences workforce development program, we can help meet the demands of future healthcare jobs," said Rubin Cockrell, EdD, who spearheaded this project and serves as program and community outreach coordinator for the School of Health Sciences.

"We are delighted to be one of the first health systems to partner with Nashville General Hospital's School of Health Sciences as they launch this CNA apprenticeship training program," added Bryan Sisk, chief nursing executive for TriStar Health. "This program opens the door to motivated individuals looking to step into a career in healthcare."

Lipscomb Pre-College Programs offer Health Care Academy June 7-11

Lipscomb University's pre-college summer programs are back for 2021 and include The Health Care Academy June 7-11. Sponsored by HCA TriStar, the program introduces rising sophomores through seniors in high school to a wide variety of health science professions. The program focuses on providing skills that are transferable across multiple health professions. Experiences are led by professional faculty from Lipscomb's nursing, physician assistant, nutrition, pharmacy and exercise science programs.

Students will have some online pre-work the week before the academy starts and will attend lectures each day in addition to the hands-on learning experiences. Students accepted to the program will be offered experiences including participation in the health sciences simulation center, learning about IVs and injections, stethoscope training, blood pressure training and practice, nutrition label evaluation and healthy meal planning, pharmacy compounding and research, gross anatomy lab, knot tying and suturing skills, and breath and heart sounds.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, this year's program will be a day program from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Housing will not be available on campus this year.

MTSA Launches for CRNAs

Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia has launched, a revamped website of practical resources to help anesthesia providers learn ultrasound for regional nerve blocks, announced Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, director of the MTSA Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship and DNAP Completion program.

Originally created by Jack Vander Beek, is now owned and authored by MTSA and includes free content, as well as opportunities for special access to fee-based continuing education modules. The site also features interactive anatomy illustrations and a range of content on subjects such as ultrasound, pharmacologic agents and local anesthetics.

In addition, enables CRNAs to participate in continuing education, including current information on acute pain management with options to take a quiz and receive AANA credit. Vander Beek developed the Neuraxiom textbook and website by documenting and illustrating a compendium of Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia (USGRA) techniques that have been successfully adopted by regionalists over the years. It applies an evidence-based approach in updating the vast amount of knowledge that has been published in USGRA in the last decade. For more information, visit


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Trevecca Nursing

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

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