Partnership eases financial burdens of nursing degree

Bridget Janis, Staff Reporter

Nurses with associate degrees might want to expand their education. Oakland University’s partnership with McLaren Oakland Hospital provides a seamless and affordable Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

“Getting a Bachelor’s degree provides you such a broader world view of people and history and the ability to communicate and create change and lead,” Judy Didion, the dean of the school of nursing said.  “This kind of course work is not really emphasized with an associate degree.”

McLaren is providing a limited number of scholarships for their nurses to complete their Bachelor’s Degree through OU’s programs. OU is also working closely with McLaren nurses to help them get into the program and meet all the requirements. OU representatives also attend McLaren once or twice a year to inform the nurses of the program and the opportunities it provides. 

“The seamless part is that our advising works with the nurses to make sure they meet the requirements,” Carrie Buch, associate dean of The School of Nursing said. “They have to have an associates degree from somewhere and then transfer credits to Oakland. Oakland itself has a lot of affiliation and articulation agreements with community colleges.”

Three years ago, OU approved a flat rate tuition of $9,995 for the BSN program. Once the nurses start the program, they can do it full time and complete it within 12-20 months. Nurses need to complete 32 nursing credits to earn their BSN, and all the classes are online.

The program provides people with options. For two semesters, nurses are able to take two seven-week classes the first half of the semesters and two more seven-week classes the second half of the semesters.  The third semester is a 14 week long class, this method completes the BSN in 12 months.

Additionally, for two semesters, nurses have the option of taking two seven-week classes the first half of the semesters and two more seven-week classes the second half of the semesters. 

For those that want to go to school part time, they can take one class every seven weeks and then finish in 20 months. 

“We revamped this this program three years ago and we made it seven weeks and eliminated some of the additional requirements and we made it much more competitive and much more friendly for the nurses so they don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops,” Buch said

By going through this program faster, it allows the nurses to be able to go onto graduate school faster. 

OU grants nurses that already have their nursing license to receive 30 credits right away, this makes OU’s program more appealing to nurses. With more nurses wanting this benefit, the program is more competitive in comparison to others.

McLaren also takes a lot of OU’s traditional graduated students for clinical rotations. This partnership is an example of the Oakland-Pontiac initiative, which encourages community engagement and creating connections within the community.

“It’s like they are helping to educate our nurses and we are helping to educate their nurses,” Buch said. “That’s just really fostering that whole connection.”

To be eligible for this program, nurses have to be licensed in MI and have an earned and associates degree.

“It’s been very gratifying because we’ve worked hard to strengthen that relationship with McLaren Oakland,” Didion said.