Notre Dame of Maryland University nursing students stand under one of the university's signs. Photo courtesy of Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Notre Dame of Maryland University nursing students stand under one of the university's signs. Photo courtesy of Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) and Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) are partnering to address the critical nursing shortage in the state and nationwide by making it easier for students at the Mount to enroll in NDMU’s fast-track Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

NDMU President Marylou Yam and Mount St. Mary’s President Timothy Trainor participated in a ceremonial signing of the joint agreement Wednesday at NDMU’s campus.

The new partnership between the two universities enables Mount St. Mary’s students in the Bachelor of Science in Health Science, pre-nursing track, to enroll in Notre Dame’s accelerated, second-degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) once they graduate. Eligible Mount St. Mary’s health science majors will be accepted into Notre Dame’s ABSN program, which can be completed in as few as 15 months.

Yam is looking forward to the schools’ collaboration.

“I am pleased for Notre Dame of Maryland University to partner with Mount St. Mary’s University to deliver our accelerated, second-degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing to students with a passion for healthcare,” said she said. “Notre Dame’s ABSN program and our collaborative agreement with Mount St. Mary’s will strengthen the pipeline for more professional registered nurses to provide life-saving and compassionate care to patients around Maryland and in the nation.”

Trainor is equally enthusiastic.

“In our traditional health science/nursing dual degree programs, our students have chosen not to leave the Mount to complete their degree at another university,” said Dr. Trainor. “Through this innovative program, students will complete their health science degree at the Mount before moving on to Notre Dame to earn an accelerated, second-degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Completing their nursing degree at Notre Dame also ensures that Mounties will continue to be educated in the Catholic intellectual tradition as they complete the coursework needed so they can join the ranks of nurses providing top-notch and compassionate care to patients.”

Once accepted in Notre Dame’s ABSN program, students can choose one of two educational options: in person at NDMU’s main Baltimore campus, or the hybrid option with online instruction and in-person clinical experiences at Notre Dame’s ABSN Learning Site in Elkridge.

“Students gain technical nursing skills through direct care clinical placements with the region’s most prestigious healthcare providers, as well as through simulation-based learning with life-like mannequins in on-site labs at Notre Dame’s main campus and Elkridge location,” according to NDMU’s press release.

There is a nationwide nursing shortage, and Maryland is feeling it. According to an NBC Washington report, the situation has achieved crisis status. The number of assignment despite objection forms, which nurses fill out when they document safety concerns, tripled between 2020 and 2022. Seventy-nine percent of the forms cited RN shortage as a factor in 2022.

According to the NBC Washington report, “there were nearly 100,000 open registered nurse positions nationwide before the pandemic began. By September 2022, that number jumped to 203,000. What’s more, a May 2022 report from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company predicts the U.S. could see a shortage of up to 450,000 registered nurses by 2025.”

Notre Dame’s ABSN program will begin enrolling new students in Baltimore in May, and the Elkridge site accepts students for September, January, and May.

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