Community Engagement

Making Program Entry Seamless for Nurses

Partnership offers BSN education opportunities for registered nurse

A group of nurses wearing face masks, posing for a photo

2020 nurse award recipients at McLaren Oakland. The SON - McLaren Oakland partnership makes it possible for nurses to complete their BSN.

icon of a calendarDecember 3, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Chris Lewis

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Oakland University School of Nursing created a pathway that makes completing a BSN Degree affordable and seamless for Associate Degree prepared nurses.

Nurses with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing might question if completing their Bachelor’s Degree is a possibility. With family obligations, hectic work schedules, and money being tight, many nurses put their own wants or desires aside. Thanks to Oakland University’s new affordable, seamless pathway model for BSN completion, this opportunity has become a reality for many.Most recently, Oakland University School of Nursing and McLaren Oakland Hospital partnered to devise an innovative option for the ADN-prepared employed nurses to have the option of returning to school to complete their BSN degree in a timely, flexible, and cost-effective way.

Jason Pennington,, Director of Advising for the School of Nursing, worked with his advising team and the School of Nursing faculty and administration to develop a roadmap for seamless entry into the RN-BSN Completion Sequence. “We optimize the number of credits that nurses have entering Oakland University and demystify the admission process,” said Pennington. “The SON wants to see nurses succeed in completing their BSN while being a partner who can lay out a program plan in easy-to-follow language, in a cost-effective way.”
The development of this new roadmap set the stage for a new partnership with McLaren Oakland Hospital and Oakland University. With the support of the Willyerd Medical Education Fund at McLaren Oakland, McLaren nurses are able to minimize the financial constraint of returning to school to complete their BSN. Oakland was there to provide the Nurses who are eligible can apply for an award through this fund which includes full tuition. To be eligible for the award, they must remain as an employee of McLaren Oakland for 24 months.

“I think our partnership with McLaren is a win-win; McLaren Oakland wants to have more BSN-prepared nurses and we can easily help them accomplish that goal,” said Carrie Buch, PhD, RN, Associate Dean of the SON. “As a part of the agreement, McLaren Oakland provides us with clinical placements and often, priority placement which has been a great experience for our nursing students.” Buch noted additional benefits that included having BSN-prepared nurses at McLaren Oakland who are now available to precept SON students with the possibility of being hired at McLaren as RNs. Judy Didion, the Dean of the School of Nursing adds, “ We are excited about this partnership and pleased to have the opportunity to support the advanced education of the nursing workforce in Pontiac.

Kyra Calicutt, BSN, RN, McLaren Oakland nurse educator, agreed. As a graduate of the BSN degree completion program, she knows the quality of programming. A part of Calicutt’s job is to let nurses know about the opportunity. She incorporates a lot of the information in the onboarding and new hire orientations. “That is a point of excitement for many of our new hires,” said Calicutt. “This is a huge advantage for staff who want to further their career, but did not think they could afford it. The 100% funding assistance through the Willyerd Medical Fund is a big incentive for our nurses.”

The incentive began last year and the number of recipients has already doubled for this year. Interest continues to be generated and support at every level is high. “I have loved watching this partnership grow. As our nurses go through the RN-BSN program, they are so proud of their accomplishments. For some, they were finally able to prioritize themselves and even set themselves up for leadership roles. Others wanted to show their children that they are never too old to better themselves,” Calicut said.

The OU BSN degree completion program can be completed in 12-18 months. For those who do not work at McLaren Oakland, the affordable program tuition is offered at a program rate that totals under $10,000.

For more information, please visit the School of Nursing or contact Jason Pennington at nrsinfo@oakland.edu, call (248) 370-4253. 

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