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Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is launching a new self-paced program for registered nurses who are ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

The competency-based education (CBE) program, which is completely online, will launch in January with a pilot of five students. WSSU is seeking applications through Oct. 15 for the initial cohort. The program is the first RN-BSN CBE offered at a North Carolina-based university.

“This exciting program allows nurses to study at their own pace,” said Peggy Valentine, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Winston Salem State University. “An ambitious student could potentially complete the program in less than a year. It is a win-win for the university, hospital systems and health providers across the state.”

Valentine said the CBE program will help WSSU address the nationwide shortage of baccalaureate-trained nurses. A landmark study by the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation purports that by 2020 at least 80 percent of nurses should be prepared at the baccalaureate level. As hospitals across the nation seek magnet certification and recertification, the BSN degree is becoming the minimum degree requirement for many magnet hospitals in the state.

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Originally published Sept. 12, 2017.

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