Research Article| Volume 67, ISSUE 2, P154-160, March 2019

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Accelerating Progress in Seamless Academic Progression

Published:November 28, 2018DOI:


      • Community colleges should partner with universities to create a shared baccalaureate curriculum providing more students at the community college the choice to enter a program where they complete their BSN before they are licensed as an RN.
      • Community colleges with RN-to-BSN programs should increase enrollment capacity and graduates from these programs.
      • Universities should increase enrollment capacity for and graduates from BSN and RN-to-BSN programs.
      • Educators and practice partners should use the BSN projection tool to set and evaluate mutual goals annually.



      The Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing (2011) report recommended nurses achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. The report cited evidence that a higher proportion of BSN prepared RNs in the workforce improves patient outcomes.


      An extensive network of funding and grassroots support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP Foundation generated a host of activities to advance progress in this recommendation. Community colleges and universities strengthened strategic partnerships and developed tools to address identified challenges. The community colleges and universities testing academic progression models developed a new model with the potential to accelerate progress by providing community college RN students an option to exit with a BSN (Gerardi,
      • Gerardi T.
      The academic progression in nursing initiative: The final year outcomes.
      ). Building on these successes and using a projection tool (Spetz,
      • Spetz J.
      Projections of progress toward the 80% Bachelor of Science in Nursing recommendation and strategies to accelerate change.
      ), this paper illustrates recommended next steps. Implementing the proposed changes would accelerate progress to 83.9% RNs in the workforce with BSN or higher preparation by 2025 rather than the predicted 64% at the current rate of progress.


      Accelerating progress to meet national academic progression goals will require targeted support for increased education capacity at community colleges and universities. Addressing faculty shortages, increased student and faculty diversity, and economic drivers will be essential for success. The strategic action proposal described in this paper can be the essential next step to accelerate progress in this important work.


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