Historically Black Alcorn State University in Mississippi has entered into a partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi to address the shortage of nurses in the state.
Lachel Story, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Southern Mississippi, reached out to nursing directors/deans at Alcorn State University and two other educational institutions to explore creative solutions in helping more students achieve nursing degrees, and subsequently, help alleviate the ongoing nursing shortage. “We, like many programs, turn away high-quality applicants every semester because we have more qualified applicants than we have the capacity to enroll,” Dr. Story said. “These students need and should be enrolled in a nursing program. These partnerships will provide those students an opportunity to complete their initial nursing degree with these schools and return to the University of Southern Mississippi for a bachelor’s degree in nursing.”
Pre-licensure BSN applicants not accepted into the USM program will be offered an opportunity to apply to associate degree in nursing or practical nursing programs at Alcorn State University. Previously, students not accepted into USM’s program could have applied to the other schools but customarily found themselves forced to wait until the following semester. “This will be a seamless process where they will be considered as a part of our decision making and then offered to them as an option, instead of denying them initially,” said Dr. Story. “The enrollment process becomes just another pathway.”
Alcorn State and the University of Southern Mississippi are also partnering in the establishment of the Rural Health Scholars Program. The program’s purpose is to increase the number of doctoral-prepared nursing faculty from diverse backgrounds; prepare nursing scientists to improve rural health outcomes and improve the health of the communities surrounding Alcorn State.