USF System partnership creates Suncoast Nursing Accelerated Pathway

New program will shorten time needed for USF students in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee to complete two undergraduate degrees, helping meet region’s demand for well-prepared nurses

TAMPA, Fla. (May 17, 2017) – A new University of South Florida College of Nursing partnership with USF St. Petersburg (USFSP) and USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) will allow eligible students to complete two bachelor of science degrees – one in biology and another in nursing — in five years.

The Suncoast Nursing Accelerated Pathway program creates an opportunity for students from USFSP and USFSM to earn an undergraduate degree in biology from their respective institutions, followed by a seamless transition to the USF College of Nursing’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

Students enrolled in this five-year accelerated pathway can jumpstart nursing coursework in the third year of their four-year undergraduate biology program, and begin clinical training in the accelerated BSN program in spring of their fourth year.

“The science of the nursing profession is deeply embedded in the natural sciences combined with the humanity of caring,” said Victoria Rich, PhD, associate dean of academics at the USF College of Nursing. “Undergraduate students who invest in this enrichment of education will be well prepared to care for patients and their families.”

The joint effort by USF System institutions combines a science-focused background in the discipline of biology with the academic and clinical rigor of a baccalaureate nursing degree.

During the accelerated BSN program, students will take classes in Tampa but have opportunities for clinical rotations in their local communities (Pinellas, Sarasota or Manatee counties).  They can also engage in nursing research and global nursing experiences.

“This collaboration with USF in Tampa will allow us to begin addressing the need for highly qualified, well prepared nurses in Pinellas County.  Also, the accelerated pathway, in combination with the low tuition of a state university, substantially reduces costs for students,” said Martin Tadlock, PhD, regional vice chancellor of academic affairs at USFSP.

“The program will prepare our students to enter the nursing field right away, where they will be in great demand, or to continue their education to the master’s or doctoral level,” said Paul Kirchman, PhD, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at USFSM.

“Coming together as the USF System enables us to create this type of important educational program, optimizing the best elements of the component parts, maximizing the benefits of the system, and meeting compelling community needs across the Tampa Bay region,” said Donna Petersen, ScD, interim dean of the USF College of Nursing.

The new program will begin recruiting students this fall.

Story by Jessica Samaniego, USF College of Nursing, and Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Conmunications and Marketing