An expansion of programs leading to increased capacity and robust academic-practice partnerships are just a few of the elements that helped Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation secure the No. 29 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings of undergraduate nursing programs.
“We’ve been working strategically and diligently at Edson College over the last few years to increase capacity in our Bachelor of Science nursing programs by developing strong academic-practice partnerships in order to meet the demands of the nursing workforce,” Edson College Dean Judith Karshmer said. “It’s rewarding to see these efforts paying off with this type of national acknowledgment from our peer institutions.”
In 2021, the college saw its largest BSN graduating class to date, with 794 students earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing between the prelicensure and post-licensure nursing programs.
Most recently, Edson College once again started offering the BSN program on the West campus. In 2021, the college also launched its first-ever program at ASU Lake Havasu with the goal of helping to address the nursing shortage in rural communities. The first Havasu cohort graduated this summer.
In addition to seeking out opportunities to grow the nursing programs, college leadership has embarked on a new approach to the ever-important clinical experience for nursing majors. With the introduction of the “teams model,” students now spend the majority of their clinical time at the same health care organization.
In describing the advantages of the teams model, Salina Bednarek, senior director of prelicensure nursing programs and a clinical assistant professor at Edson College, called it a win-win.
“The benefit of this model is that the facilities get to know them as students, the students get to know the facilities, and they’re able to focus more on learning the concepts that we’re trying to instill in them,” she said.
The college has successfully partnered with health care organizations to meet their workforce needs in cohort models that are now reflected in the teams model. The first was the establishment of the Mayo Clinic cohort in 2002 and then later with the launch of the dedicated education unit with Phoenix Children’s. However, this is the first time this model has been instituted program-wide.
Ultimately, the teams model seeks to create a stronger workforce pipeline and cut down on some of the time it takes for new nurses to transition from student to new graduate registered nurses at their first job. So far, academic-practice partner facilities like Dignity Health and Banner have embraced the innovative approach and are seeing the benefits up close.
“For physicians and staff, they get to know the students very well,” said Alexis Warren, education specialist at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. “They get very comfortable. There’s this really well-oiled relationship. And it just all ultimately creates a better, safer environment for our patients.”
Seeking out partnerships and opportunities to grow the BSN program while providing the best evidence-based education possible is a top priority for leadership, adding to the college’s legacy of care and future of discovery.
“This ranking is certainly a recognition of the hard work of our program leadership, faculty and staff and the innovative approaches we’ve implemented to prepare the best nurses possible while maintaining our rigorous curriculum,” said Katherine Kenny, associate dean of academic affairs. “It’s also a reflection of our graduates practicing around the country and representing Sun Devil nurses through their high level of care.”
This is the second year that U.S. News & World Report have ranked undergraduate nursing programs in the Best Colleges rankings. In the first year that rankings were provided, Edson College came in at No. 76.