Apr 4, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

As demand for nurses with bachelor’s degrees continues to rise, and with traditional nursing programs unable to accommodate enough nursing students to fill the gap, universities and technical colleges are joining forces to create an innovate new route to a four-year degree. Here’s a closer look at the phenomenon, as recently reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Dual Enrollments Toward One Degree

While many two-year technical colleges have clinical training programs for nurses, experts assert that this training may longer be enough. At the same time, many universities that offer four-year nursing degrees have seating shortages. Enter a new breed of program which allows students to simultaneously enroll in two different colleges to complete their bachelor’s in nursing. This means students can get the courses they need from both schools leading up to the desired degree.

“The goal is to offer more options to both increase the number of students pursuing nursing and capture the tuition dollars they pay,” says the Journal Sentinel.

A Work in Progress

Because the programs is still in its inception, it’s unclear yet whether participants will enjoy cost savings, and/or just how quickly they’ll be able to progress. The program -- which eliminates breaks -- may not be for everyone, but for those looking to acquire their degrees and join the workforce as soon as possible, it represents a new and exciting opportunity. Says one student who may finish a four-year nursing degree in just five semesters, “I like the fast track. It allows me to knock it out faster. A four-year program is a long time….It’s well-paced, once you get into the pattern.”

And while the partnerships are still new, insiders speak to their potential as a solution for a serious problem. “Having options is always valuable,” says Froedtert Health talent business partner Shannon Probasco. “Any program that’s well-thought out and provides students with the information they need...if it can be condensed and they get the same value and benefit out of it, why not?”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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