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The UCF College of Nursing has formed a hospital partnership with Health First to offer an on-site Registered Nurse to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.

While the traditional BSN program is offered in a classroom setting, the RN to BSN program is the first in the state to be offered fully online. However, to ease students into the program, RN to BSN will be taught in a hybrid format of face-to-face classroom and online classes, according to a press release.

"Throughout its history, UCF has sought out strategic partnerships in its community to provide innovative educational opportunities," said Dr. Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing, in a release. "By partnering with Health First, we are able to answer a national call for more BSN-educated nurses and make it easier for RNs in Brevard County to obtain an advanced degree."

The partnership with Health First, Brevard County's largest private employer, will meet a national objective set by the National Academy of Medicine in its "The Future of Nursing" report.

NAM aims to take nursing to a more critical role in order to create a higher educated workforce in the future.

Due to the partnership, Health First will provide classroom space for the program at its education center located in Melbourne and fund a faculty member to serve as an instructor and adviser.

"We are pleased to be able to provide our nursing associates convenient access to the nationally ranked program at UCF," said Connie Bradley, DNP, RN, FACHE, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Health First, said in a release. "This is an exciting partnership that will benefit not only our nurses, but also the communities we serve by providing a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses to care for our patients and members across our integrated delivery network."

Students can apply Sept. 1 to Oct. 1 and classes will begin in the spring. The program is available to all RNs in the community.

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Bridgette Norris is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @blogginbridge or email her at BridgetteN@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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