UTEP Online Nursing Program Offers Working Nurses Greater Flexibility, Convenience

Nurses who want a flexible and affordable way to advance their education while still working will soon benefit from The University of Texas at El Paso’s expanded online Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program.

The UTEP School of Nursing has joined efforts with Academic Partnerships (AP) to offer all core, elective and professional courses online in seven-week terms instead of the traditional 15-week offerings. The first cohort of students will start in May.

“Students can take the classes from anywhere that they have a computer and Internet access,” said Deborah Sikes, RN-BSN director. “Assignments can be read and completed at the time of day that is most convenient for the nurse who is working multiple shifts. Students can complete the program in one year because it is 100 percent online and offered in shorter terms.”

The new collaboration between UTEP and AP is expected to increase the visibility of the RN-BSN program nationwide. Enrollment is also expected to grow by 100 percent over the next five years.

“Making this high-demand degree program even more flexible allows UTEP to deliver on its commitment to inclusion and access while increasing its ability to meet the workforce needs of the region and the national demand for BSN candidates,” said AP Vice President and Managing Director Susan Dukes. “We are delighted to be collaborating with the University on this important effort.”

AP is one of the largest higher education partners for the delivery of online learning in the United States and around the world.

The RN-BSN program was designed for associate degree and diploma nurses to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree online. The state-of-the-art curriculum builds upon the education and professional experience of registered nurses.

Since 2004, more than 400 nurses from around the globe have obtained their BSN degrees through the UTEP program. In 2004, the RN-BSN program offered the first online course at UTEP. Sikes estimates that 50 percent of students are from outside El Paso, including members of the military who have the flexibility to participate in the program from anywhere in the world.

Academic coaches will work with instructors to assist with larger class sizes. Students also will benefit from enhanced online access to UTEP’s academic services, including the admissions and registrar’s offices.

The RN-BSN program is a strong indicator of the nursing school’s efforts to promote baccalaureate education among nurses through its Believe in BSN Education Initiative.

The Institute of Medicine has recommended that by 2020, 80 percent of the registered nurses in the workforce hold BSN degrees.