Eduardo Acevedo, Contributing Writer
A new partnership between VCU and John Tyler Community College, or JTCC, would provide nursing students a way to accelerate their baccalaureate degree and jump-start their education at a four-year university.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession will grow to 371,500 jobs by 2028, creating a huge demand for certified nursing professionals.
“We have a dire need for more nurses,” Kim Butler, a JTCC third semester nursing major said. “Because we have such a demand for good quality nurses, guaranteed acceptance allows somebody to go further in their education. It allows you the ability to continue your education and grow as a medical student and therefore a medical professional.”
In addition to offering guaranteed admission to students seeking their baccalaureates, JTCC and VCU have entered into a co-enrollment agreement for nursing students. While JTCC students are completing their final academic year, they can co-enroll in VCU’s School of Nursing.
JTCC will be the third community college with co-enrollment and guaranteed admission into the School of Nursing. VCU opened its doors first to nursing students from Southside Virginia Community College in 2018 then Rappahannock Community College in 2019.
Charles Smith, the dean of health sciences at Rappahannock Community College, said there’s a benefit to having students complete their associate degree and then transfer to VCU to further their education. He said it gives students different perspectives on issues and puts them in different learning environments.
“We know that if they move forward, they’ll benefit from early admission, early completion of the baccalaureate degree, and they can continue right on into their master’s program,” Smith said. “So it will accelerate their education quite a bit.”
JTCC has guaranteed admission agreements with more than 35 four-year universities in Virginia, with VCU joining its roster for bachelor’s degrees in nursing in the fall of 2020.
“I think co-enrollment should be available with more four-year partners, but to have it with VCU is extremely valuable because of where VCU is and its notoriety around the country,” Smith said.
In order for JTCC students to take advantage of guaranteed acceptance to VCU, they must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. They must also have earned at least a B in all required JTCC nursing courses in their first year at the school.
“This new arrangement builds on our longtime partnership with VCU and supports John Tyler Community College’s efforts to make continuing educational opportunities available to our students and to grow a strong workforce for Central Virginia,” said Carole Graham, dean of science, health and human services at JTCC.