First Batch of Accelerated Baccalaureate Students Graduate from the OHSU School of Nursing

12/09/03    Portland, Ore.

The first group of Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing students in the Accelerated Baccalaureate Program will graduate Friday, Dec. 12. The pinning ceremony is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Founders Auditorium at the School of Nursing, Marquam Hill Campus.

The class of 11 women and one man finished the eight-quarter program in six quarters. They entered the program in July 2002 and will be finishing six months earlier than their classmates.

The accelerated program was created because of the nursing shortage and because the demand was there, said Christine Tanner, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., associate dean of undergraduate programs.

"With the nursing shortage, there is a need to get well-prepared people into the work force as quickly as possible, and the other reason was the demand from the students. About half of our applicants have a baccalaureate degree, have shown excellence in academic work and have a career. They are like all of our students: bright, very motivated, but they are also very eager to get back into the work force. The program is just as rigorous, but these students take more credits each quarter," she said.

That description fits Miriam Volpin, 46, who is one of the graduates.

"I wanted to finish faster. I wanted to get out there and work sooner," she said. Volpin, however, has decided to continue her studies. She's just been awarded a John A. Hartford Foundation Scholarship, which will allow her to go from a bachelor's to a master's to a doctorate in five years at OHSU School of Nursing. Volpin wants to work in gerontological nursing, research and teaching.

The Accelerated Baccalaureate Program students first are admitted as entering students in the School of Nursing. The criteria to enter this program include: a bachelor's degree; a record of exceptional academic performance, and a statement from each that they can be fully engaged in this rigorous, demanding program of study, said Kim DeRienzo, the OHSU School of Nursing undergraduate program manager.

Eighteen students were admitted in July 2003 to the second class of accelerated bachelor degree students.

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