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UToledo, Owens Launch New Nursing Education Partnership

A dual-admission agreement between The University of Toledo and Owens Community College provides a new approach for educating the next generation of nurses.

The new partnership — the first of its kind in northwest Ohio — allows students to jointly apply for admission to the nursing programs at both Owens and UToledo, establishing a seamless pathway for students to earn an associate in applied science degree in registered nursing from Owens followed by a bachelor of science degree in nursing from UToledo while having access to all the benefits of both institutions.

UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber shook hands with Owens Community College President Steve Robinson after signing a dual-admission agreement for nursing programs at both institutions. Dr. Catherine Ford, dean of the Owens School of Nursing and Health Professions, left, and Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UToledo College of Nursing, were on hand for the ceremony.

“This is a wonderful way to strengthen our relationship with Owens and provide even more opportunities for students in our region, ensuring their success in the workplace,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Having a baccalaureate degree increases opportunities for nurses, and it is important that we establish these types of partnerships to ensure individuals in our community have the strong educational foundation they need for a successful nursing career.”

“Creating pathways for student success is an important part of Owens’ strategic plan, and we are excited for what this dual enrollment agreement with The University of Toledo means for our nursing students,” said Owens Community College President Steve Robinson. “This seamless pathway from an associate to bachelor’s degree will help remove another barrier to student success, and we are proud to partner with The University of Toledo to make that happen.”

The agreement was signed during a ceremony at Owens March 5. The program is expected to enroll its first students this summer.

The new dual-admission program is designed to give students a sense of belonging at both institutions, while providing unique opportunities and support throughout their education.

Advisers from both Owens and UToledo will work with students from the start to ensure they are taking the courses needed to complete both degrees.

As students enrolled at both Owens and UToledo, individuals can receive free tickets to UToledo sporting events, access to UToledo libraries, and participate in programs and activities sponsored by the UToledo Office of Student Involvement and Leadership — all while working toward their associate’s degree at Owens. Students also have the option to take electives and general education courses at UToledo.

Upon completion of their associate’s degree from Owens, students have a guaranteed spot in the UToledo College of Nursing’s online R.N. to B.S.N. program, with no additional application or admission fee.

While a B.S.N. isn’t necessary for licensure, recent surveys from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have found that more than 80% of employers strongly prefer job candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

The percentage of employers who require new hires to have a bachelor’s degree also has risen sharply in recent years, from 30% in 2011 to 43% in 2019.

“We are thrilled about the nursing program dual admission and enrollment agreement with The University of Toledo,” said Dr. Catherine Ford, dean of the Owens School of Nursing and Health Professions. “Owens nursing students will now be able to complete the associate in applied science degree at Owens while dual-enrolled at UToledo. This allows students to purposefully prepare for transition to UToledo to complete the R.N. to B.S.N. program. The need for registered nurses continues to be very strong in northwest Ohio and nationwide, making these types of collaborations especially important for students entering the profession.”

“There is a growing body of evidence that indicates having a baccalaureate degree makes a difference in terms of patient outcomes, patient safety and quality of care,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UToledo College of Nursing. “The additional education students receive in a B.S.N. program adds skills in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, care coordination, critical thinking and problem solving, all of which are vital in today’s complex healthcare environments.”

UToledo’s R.N. to B.S.N. program can be done through a traditional online curriculum or through the University’s first-in-the-state Competency-Based Education Program, which provides students unique flexibility to pursue a B.S.N. at their own personalized pace.

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