UAA to expand capacity of the bachelor’s degree in its nursing program

University of Alaska Anchorage nursing students learning in class.
University of Alaska Anchorage nursing students learning in class.(Photo courtesy University of Alaska Anchorage)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 7:09 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Health care industry needs and workforce shortages are two problems facing nurses today, and in response, the University of Alaska Anchorage is expanding its Bachelor of Science in nursing program.

This new capacity expansion will let the school accept 40% more students who are wanting a four-year degree in nursing, according to a press release from UAA.

UAA School of Nursing Director Carla Hagen says the program, as it is, is getting more applicants than seats available.

Right now the bachelor’s program holds 96 students in Anchorage and eight students in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough every year. This increase will take that capacity to 160 students in Anchorage and 16 students in the Mat-Su.

Hagen said there is a prominent nursing shortage nationwide and over the next five to 10 years, there will be an anticipated 20% shortage in nurses in the workforce.

“Obviously being the largest public institution in the state of Alaska, we are trying very hard to be able to increase our support for that not only current but ongoing shortage,” Hagen said.

The change will end the associate of applied science in nursing option — a two-year degree — at the Anchorage and Mat-Su campuses, the release states. UAA will continue to offer that degree at School of Nursing “outreach sites” in Kenai, Homer, Juneau, Sitka, Dillingham, Petersburg, Bethel, Kotzebue, Ketchikan, Nome and Valdez.

“This change allows for a streamlined curriculum and more efficient use of clinical sites, which are currently shared by both the BSN and AAS programs,” the release states.

Those efficiencies will let the nursing program at UAA to produce 10% more registered nurse-eligible graduates, according to the release, which will be happening gradually over the next few semesters.

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