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February 22, 2023 | Shannon Smith

New UTK program will graduate more nurses, help national shortage

The new Nursing Scholars Program is expected to graduate 100 more UTK nurses a year when the program reaches full capacity.

As the nationwide nursing shortage continues, another Knoxville area nursing program is working to expand its program.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) College of Nursing and the University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) are coming together to create the new Nursing Scholars Program, which will graduate more nurses directly into jobs at UTMC.

The new undergraduate program is an academic–practice partnership offering nursing students an opportunity to learn and train at UTMC.

“Through this innovative new program, our nursing students will graduate with the skills and experience they need to make an immediate impact for their patients and their community,” UTK Chancellor Donde Plowman said in a release.

The program provides college juniors with an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) curriculum, spanning 15 months, with the first class expected to graduate in fall 2024. When the program reaches full capacity, it is estimated that 100 additional nurses a year will graduate with a BSN from UT Knoxville and go on to work directly at the bedside at UTMC.

Students in the program are awarded scholarship tuition from UTMC with a three-year work commitment post-graduation. All classes will be taught by College of Nursing faculty whose positions will be funded by UTMC.

Students accepted into the new program will attend class and complete their clinical rotations at UTMC with access to an onsite learning lab and simulation center at the satellite campus, located in the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm.

“We are very excited about this collaborative partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Nursing, and believe the Nursing Scholars Program is a unique model for the country as it strategically creates a consistent conduit to increase the number of BSN nurses who will provide the highest quality of care to our regional community,” said Joseph R. Landsman Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of UTMC.

This announcement comes just a few weeks after Covenant Health gifted 10 acres of land to Roane State to build the new Knox Regional Health Science and Simulation Center, which will help double the enrollment of Roane State’s registered nursing program.

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