MU School of Nursing starts new online nursing program

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COLUMBIA - It will now be easier and less expensive for those with an associate's degree in nursing to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in the field. 

The MU School of Nursing, in conjunction with Mizzou Online, is now offering a 3-4 year online nursing program to address the shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Missouri. 

"The reason why this program option is so important is because currently there's a nursing shortage and also a nursing faculty shortage," said Robin Harris, the Interim Associate Dean for Academic affairs. "We need to have educators prepared to take in more students, to provide the state of Missouri and the nation with the nurses that we need to take of ourselves, our loved ones and our community as a whole."

The nursing shortage is partly due to the age of nurses. Registered nurses and nursing faculty have an average age of 50. 

"The baby boomer population is growing so as they retire and as we get older, we tend to have more healthcare needs and so when you have this large population who's going to need more healthcare, we need to fill that gap," Harris said.

Typically, nurses with associate's degrees are practicing, full-time nurses, so the online nursing program is convenient for those busy nurses wanting to further their careers.

"The goal is to take someone who has an associate's degree in nursing who is a registered nurse," Harris said. "We're trying to catapult them from that associate degree to a master's degree. So instead of having some stops and gaps in your education, we're trying to provide a faster track for nurses."

"The program allows a nurse who has an associate's degree to earn both their bachelor's and master's degree in a faster timeline," said Stacy Snow, Director of Marketing at Mizzou Online, "so it reduces their student debt and the amount of time they have to spend in school."

Anyone in the country with an associate's degree in nursing can enroll in the program. There is a scholarship available to students in Missouri. If a student receives the scholarship, they are required to become a nurse educator for 3 years in Missouri.