Program targets nurses with associate’s degrees

At least 349 registered nurses have enrolled in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online program to earn a bachelor’s degree, said Luke Dowden, the university’s distance learning director.

“If that number holds, we will have achieved our program enrollment goal in less than two years,” Dowden said in a news release.

The program targets registered nurses with associate’s degrees who want to continue their education without having to carve out time to attend traditional classroom courses on a campus.

The additional course work in the bachelor’s degree program provides more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences and prepares nurses for a broader scope of understanding on issues of health care delivery, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

A bachelor’s degree could bump up a nurse’s salary by about 10 percent or more and open up more career opportunities, university officials said.

Working nurses may be eligible for a tuition discount.

The university has 43 academic partners that include hospitals, organizations and health care systems across Louisiana who offer the discount, said Gail Poirrier, dean of the university’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.

Classes begin Monday.

The application deadline for the next term, which starts in October, is Sept. 23.

The 11-month program launched in spring 2012 and so far, 26 registered nurses earned their bachelor of science degree in nursing through the online degree program.

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