UNK, UNMC launch early admission pathway program for nursing students

A new agreement between the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Kearney streamlines the process for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The partner institutions recently launched an early admission pathway program for students who start their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at UNK and finish it at the UNMC College of Nursing Kearney Division, conveniently located on the UNK campus.

“We are thrilled about this opportunity for students and to work with UNK to help boost the BSN pipeline in Nebraska,” said UNMC College of Nursing Dean Juliann Sebastian. “The program will strengthen opportunities for seamless progression from pre-nursing coursework to the baccalaureate degree.”

Students in the Rural Pathway Program will complete their first two years in UNK’s pre-nursing undergraduate program, with UNMC offering guaranteed early admission for qualified applicants. UNMC’s traditional BSN program includes another four semesters of training completed over two years with no summer classes.

The early admission pathway is open to both in-state and out-of-state students.

In addition to standard criteria, early admission requires undergraduate students to:

  • have successfully completed required prerequisite courses at UNK
  • apply to the BSN after one semester at UNK
  • have a minimum 3.3 GPA
  • taken no pass/fail courses in the sciences (except laboratory components)
  • meet with a CON-K student services coordinator each semester

Other features of the BSN program include joint advising, rigorous coursework and co-curricular activities with UNK and UNMC faculty.

Cathrin Carithers, assistant dean of the UNMC College of Nursing Kearney Division, said the college is excited to continue its collaboration to increase the number of nurses, particularly those who will practice in rural areas.

“Our goal to remove potential barriers for students who desire to become a nurse through this early admission collaboration with UNK is a strategy for success and one that will ultimately benefit Nebraskans and beyond,” she said.

Going back to its time as Kearney State College, UNK has a long history of training nurses to serve rural Nebraska. UNK and UNMC have worked together for more than two decades. The institutions opened a Health Science Education Complex in 2015, allowing the UNMC College of Nursing to expand its undergraduate and graduate programs on the Kearney campus. The second phase of that project – an $85 million Rural Health Education Building to be located directly north of the Health Science Education Complex – will further address the ongoing need for nurses and other rural health care professionals in Nebraska.

Nearly 200 current UNK students have expressed interest in a nursing career.

“The Rural Pathway Program allows us to strengthen our relationship with UNMC and provide UNK students an opportunity to connect with UNMC earlier in their education,” said Peggy Abels, director of UNK Health Sciences. “By engaging with students early on and encouraging them to commit to rural health care, we can ensure the state’s workforce needs are met now and into the future.”