ACC program trains registered nurses for BS degree to curb shortage


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hospitals and other health care providers say they’re seeing a shortage in the number of nurses applying for open positions, and now Austin Community College is working to help close that gap.

ACC is in the middle of its first year of the new RN-to-BSN program, which trains registered nurses already working in the field to get their bachelor’s degrees. The program includes more advanced courses on topics like research and leadership to help RNs advance their careers.

“There’s a need for all levels of nurses, but hospitals are specifically asking for BSN-trained nurses as well because of some of those additional components of research and informatics,” said Gwen Hanley, a registered nurse currently working as a manager for a health care company in Austin.

A 2016 report from the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies and the Department of State Health Services found by 2030, Texas will face a shortage of nearly 73,000 nurses of all types, the majority of which will be RNs.

Part of the reason is a lot of nurses are retiring and more will follow as baby boomers reach retirement age.

Hanley hires nurses but said she’s not getting nearly as many applications for open spots as she did a few years ago. She sees the shortage worsening as fewer qualified nurses on staff can lead to burnout for employees who are working longer hours and longer weeks.

She’s currently going through ACC’s BSN program and appreciates how the school works with nurses who already have full schedules.

ACC says there are around 7,500 nurses in the Austin area who can benefit from the advancement program.

“Increasingly, hospital organizations and health care organizations find a need to have nurses prepared at that baccalaureate level,” John Nation, an ACC nursing professor, told KXAN.

There’s an information session Monday, March 4, from 6-7:30 p.m. for anyone interested in the RN-to-BSN program. Nurses can attend in person at the Eastview Campus in east Austin, room 8358.

You can also attend online here, or call in at 1-844-621-3956 and use the access code 922 765 330 to get questions answered about pre-requisites, scholarships, and other topics.

ACC is taking applications for the program through early summer for fall classes.

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