LOUISVILLE — In order to help solve a shortage of nurses in the region, Bellarmine University’s nursing school has added a January start date for its one-year accelerated nursing degree program.

The additional start date will allow 50 people who already have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field to earn a second degree in nursing by the end of next year.

According to the school, graduates of the accelerated nursing program will be well-prepared to seek licensure through their state board of nursing, as Bellarmine grads are consistently above national, regional and local pass rates for the licensure exam, with a 93% first time pass rate over the last five years, according to the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

“We want to help people considering a career change make a swift transition into nursing so they can earn a degree, become licensed, and quickly make a difference,” said Lori Minton, director of the Accelerated Nursing Program in Bellarmine’s Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Clinical Sciences. “To help ensure our community has adequate nursing capacity once the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we decided to add this January start date, and increased the number of seats available from 30 to 50.”

Last month, the American Nurses Association urged the federal government to declare the nursing shortage a national crisis, writing: “ANA is deeply concerned that this severe shortage of nurses, especially in areas experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, will have long-term repercussions for the profession, the entire healthcare delivery system, and ultimately, on the health of the nation.”

Minton said that, locally, the severe shortage means there are many job openings for nurses with competitive pay and benefits, a trend that she expects to continue. Bellarmine’s program allows students to master clinical skills and the theoretical knowledge needed for success in nursing careers.

“Bellarmine is well-known for producing the best nurses,” said Kristin Pickerell, director of critical care and emergency services at Norton Healthcare. “As a nursing manager I always sought out Bellarmine nurses when I was hiring.”

Minton said that the accelerated nursing degree application process takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete. After January, the next start date for the Accelerated Nursing Program is in May 2022.

To learn more about the program, go to bellarmine.edu/absn.

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