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Associate Degree to Master's in Nursing Bridge Program Announced

Nov. 12, 2007 -- Nursing pioneer Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) announces a new program designed to address California's nursing shortage by helping experienced Registered Nurses (RNs) who have two-year degrees earn master's degrees so that they can become educators of the next generation of nurses. The College plans to launch the program in fall 2008.

The ADN-to-MSN Bridge Program allows working nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to complete a Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) at night and on weekends at the College's downtown Doheny Campus. While strongly focused on the creation of nurse educators, the program also allows students to choose specialized master's tracks in topics from leadership to clinical nurse specialist training to community health studies.

"This new program gives nurses with associate degrees the opportunity to move on and grow," said Marsha Sato, director of all the College's MSN programs. "Mount Saint Mary’s University realizes that if you really want to increase the number of nursing students and combat the nursing shortage, you're going to have to increase your pool of nursing educators."

Nurses who enroll in the program would earn master's degrees in about three years. Bridge coursework examines the Roy Adaptation Model of Nursing—an internationally adopted, holistic approach to nursing first developed at the College in the 1970s by Sister. Callista Roy—as well as public health nursing, nursing research, issues of abuse, bioethics, leadership, and professional practice roles. Ideal candidates will have a minimum one year of experience as a RN and must meet certain academic criteria.

The establishment of the program has been supported by a three-year grant of $518,000 from the Los Angeles-based UniHealth Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well being of individuals and communities within its service area. Over the past six years, UniHealth Foundation has supported the expansion of the nursing program and nursing scholarships at Mount Saint Mary’s University.

In 2008-09, the program plans to enroll up to 20 students. By the 2010-11 academic year, the program is expected to expand to 40 students.

"We are committed to preparing nurses that have both the skills and the compassion to be exceptional professionals," said Jacqueline Powers Doud, president of MSMU. "And we're very proud that virtually all of our students—about 95 percent—practice in Southern California. In fact the Mount has about 3,000 graduates serving in healthcare in our city. This really has a transforming effect on the city when you consider how it eases the nursing shortage."

MSMU's nursing graduates are highly competent, qualified and caring nurses who have won numerous local, regional and national awards. The College has one of the largest and most comprehensive nursing programs in California, offering nursing degrees through four other programs in addition to the new ADN-MSN Bridge program: the Associate Degree in Nursing program; the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program; the accelerated BSN program; and the traditional Master of Science in Nursing program.

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