NAU expands nursing education programs to meet growing demand

NAU nursing students

Nov. 22, 2019

In order to address a growing health care workforce shortage in the state, NAU is expanding its nursing education programs.

The need for nurses is growing by about 12 percent a year, a more accelerated rate than the average 5 percent for other professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This shortage and demand for degrees has led NAU to expand a number of programs.

“With more than 2,150 pre-nursing and nursing students pursuing a variety of nursing programs at NAU in a variety of locations or online, NAU is proud to address the health care workforce today and provide opportunities for our students to enter a high demand career with growth options,” NAU President Rita Cheng said.

Starting in winter semester 2020, the Bachelor of Science (BSN) nursing program is accepting an additional 20 students a year at its Tucson campus. With this expansion, NAU expects to graduate 200 BSN degrees per year by 2023.

NAU currently offers BSN program options in Flagstaff, Tucson, Yuma and Fort Defiance, graduating an average of 180 new pre-licensure BSN graduates a year. 

NAU also will offer a new program for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields to earn a master’s of entry to the profession of nursing (MEPN). 

This new degree option allows individuals with bachelor of science degrees to enter the highly sought-after nursing profession with a master’s degree. This program will begin in Tucson in Fall 2021.

In addition, a new Clinical Nursing Specialist Prescriptive Authority Course Bundle will provide clinical nurse specialists in the state of Arizona the ability to obtain limited prescriptive authority. The Arizona State Board of Nursing has recently moved forward a requirement for the completion of three advanced practice courses to obtain prescriptive authority. The final legislative approvals are anticipated in early spring.

NAU currently offers a variety of RN-BSN programs online and accepts 90 transfer credits from a community college, making degree completion to the BSN accessible to a broad range of students at an affordable price.

The RN-BSN program also is offered in a Personalized Learning format, allowing students to perform competency-based learning and progress at their own pace.

In addition to the RN-BSN, NAU currently offers a Concurrent Enrollment Program with most Arizona Community Colleges RN Programs, allowing students to graduate with associate and bachelor degrees at the same time.

NAU also offers an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program option, and several graduate degrees, including a Master’s of Science with a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nursing Generalist track, a Post Master’s Certificate Family Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).