On Tuesday, Jacksonville University announced a new program in partnership with Baptist Health that will rapidly address the increasing need for qualified nurses in Northeast Florida.

The Jacksonville University and Baptist Health 12 Month Second Degree BSN Program offers qualified individuals an accelerated path to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in just 12 months with the opportunity to earn a work-promise agreement from Baptist Health upon graduation and licensure.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the demand for talented, qualified nurses to care for Florida’s growing and aging population, especially with tens of thousands of experienced nurses approaching retirement in the next 10 years in our state,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. “We want to close that gap, and it’s fitting that we will tackle this challenge with our long-time partners at Baptist Health, who first joined us in 1981 to develop and launch Jacksonville University’s school of nursing.”

The 12-month, second-degree program combines premier nursing education and faculty expertise from Jacksonville University’s Keigwin School of Nursing with hands-on skills training from Baptist Health’s experienced clinical nurses. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in any field are eligible for the accelerated degree program.

“This program represents one of the most unique and innovative academic program partnerships in our region, made possible by Baptist Health’s commitment to quality health care education and training,” said Dr. Christine Sapienza, the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Jacksonville University. “Partnerships like this one continue to drive our strategy for educating the next generation of students, and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our faculty, including Dr. Lindsay Wolf and Professor Amber Santos of the Keigwin School of Nursing.”

“We are honored to partner with Jacksonville University to grow tomorrow’s nurses for our community, prepared with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their dynamic profession,” said Brett McClung, the president and CEO of Baptist Health. “Our nurse educators teach students our exceptional standards for patient care and help them master the required health care delivery skills to make a successful transition into the workforce.”

This exclusive partnership assures students have access to Baptist Health facilities as they earn clinical hours, and the program pairs students with veteran Baptist Health nurses who will guide, mentor and prepare them for a nursing career.

“Nurses and the care they provide are catalysts for exceptional clinical outcomes,” said Mary Ellen Schopp, a senior vice president and chief human resources officer of Baptist Health. “That is what we want for Baptist Health patients and that is why we are investing in this program.”

Students in the program will learn essential health care delivery skills in a strategic, purposeful and flexible instructional model and can earn a work-promise agreement from Baptist Health by successfully completing all academic, clinical and licensure requirements.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools of nursing have spearheaded infection prevention and education initiatives to combat the spread of the virus,” said Tammy Daniel, the senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Baptist Health. “We look forward to welcoming nursing students through this program who will soon serve on the frontlines to provide comprehensive care to our patients and their families, as well as our community.”


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