Streamlined pathway at MU designed to prepare registered nurses to teach

The University of Missouri is opening a new online program to help address the shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Missouri. The Sinclair School of Nursing has developed an accelerated curriculum that allows RNs to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing online in three to four years.

“We need more nurses and the educators to prepare them,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU. “Nursing schools around the country lack the faculty to keep up with the demand for degrees as it is, and that is only going to grow for the foreseeable future,” she said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, by 2020, America will need an additional 1.2 million registered nurses to meet the country’s health care demands.

The shortage of nurses and instructors is due, in part, to age. Registered nurses and nursing faculty both have an average age of 50. As nurse educators retire, nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants because they lack instructors.

“Our goal is to grow our own faculty — not just for Mizzou, but for all nursing programs in Missouri,” Miller said.

The program is supported by a grant from the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The grant also provides scholarships for full-time and part-time students in the first year of the new program.

“This scholarship, which is only available to students who start in 2018, is the perfect opportunity for nurses who want to share their experience and love of nursing in the classroom,” said Gina Oliver, faculty member in the School of Nursing.

Scholarship recipients will have to agree to teach in Missouri nursing programs for three years after graduation.

“The shortage of nurses in Missouri is at an all-time high,” said Heidi Lucas, director of the Missouri Nurses Association. “But to graduate more nurses, our colleges and universities have to have more capacity. When programs like this produce nurse educators, nursing programs can hire more instructors. In turn, the state can educate more future nurses.”

Mizzou’s new online RN-MSN curriculum eliminates redundant course for those in the special pathway. Students can opt out of four required undergraduate-level courses and take six graduate-level courses with similar topics instead. In addition, credit for two courses will apply to both undergraduate and graduate course work.

Applicants will be admitted to the existing online BSN program and will apply to MU Graduate Studies in the last semester of their undergraduate course work. Those with minimum grade point averages of 3.0 will be admitted to the master’s program. Nurses will have earned their BSN and MS in three to four years.

MU is currently accepting applications for the summer 2018 semester that begins in June. Application deadline for both the program and the scholarship is April 1, 2018.
For more information about the accelerated online nurse educator track, visit online.missouri.edu/RN-MSN .