By Anna Hoffman
Students from a historically Black university in Florida will soon have a dedicated pathway to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, or B.S.N., degree from the state’s top-ranked nursing program.
On Oct. 12, Edward Waters University, or EWU, and the University of Florida College of Nursing will enter into an agreement that allows up to five students from the state’s first historically Black college or university, or HBCU, to join the UF College of Nursing’s Accelerated BSN program at the UF Health Jacksonville campus.
EWU does not have a nursing program, and this partnership gives qualified biological sciences majors who are interested in a nursing career the option to pursue a nursing degree at UF’s Jacksonville campus, just minutes from the EWU campus. This is the first partnership between an HBCU and the UF College of Nursing.
As the nation faces a critical nursing shortage, the UF College of Nursing has taken steps to grow the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees by increasing enrollment at both the Gainesville and Jacksonville campuses. In Jacksonville, enrollment in the Accelerated B.S.N. program is expected to double by 2025 — from 40 to 80 students. The partnership will promote access to nursing education to highly qualified, underrepresented students while increasing the state’s nursing workforce.
“The UF College of Nursing is committed to promoting access to our Accelerated B.S.N. program in Jacksonville through this historic agreement with Edward Waters University,” said Anna M. McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, College of Nursing dean and the Linda Harman Aiken chair. “Consistent with our core values of caring, diversity, engagement, excellence in learning and service,this program will provide innovative, high-quality academic nursing programs to meet the growing workforce needs for baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the state of Florida.”
The Accelerated B.S.N. program is designed for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in another field to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The selected EWU students would take their prerequisite courses at EWU, followed by the rest of the required courses at the UF Health Jacksonville campus.
“As president and on behalf of Florida’s first HBCU, we are tremendously excited to enter this historic and incredibly impactful partnership with the University of Florida’s College of Nursing,” said Edward Waters University President and CEO, A. Zachary Faison Jr., J.D. “We believe that this first-of-its-kind focused academic and health-related collaborative initiative between EWU and UF will operate to positively address our state’s growing need for more nursing and health care professionals overall and support the increasing promulgation of the same, particularly amongst African-Americans and other communities of color.”
The state’s PIPELINE funding is helping expand enrollment at the College of Nursing’s Jacksonville and Gainesville campuses, as well as provide scholarships for EWU students with financial need. Under the program, UF will receive $3.6 million to increase enrollment across all programs, increase faculty numbers, provide student scholarships and more.
“We’re very pleased to partner with Edward Waters University to provide a pathway for under-represented students to earn a UF nursing degree and enter the nursing profession,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “Through this shared effort, we will help to improve health care through addressing a critical need for more Black nurses.”
A public signing ceremony with Presidents Fuchs and Faison at 3 p.m., Oct. 12 in Edward Waters University’s Milne Auditorium will officially launch the partnership.