On October 17, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) will award the BSN@Home program the 2016 Celebration of Excellence Award for Mature Program. UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing and online education and serves more than 400 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. The Mature Program award recognizes established credit or noncredit programs that have demonstrated sustained innovation.

BSN@Home is an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree-completion program that provides a flexible distance learning option for registered nurses (RNs) with a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing. The BSN@HOME Program is a collaboration of UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Extension.  Over the last two decades, 1,804 graduates have earned their BSN degrees through this program.  Each year, UW-Green Bay has had the highest enrollment among UW partners.

At launch, the primary goal of the BSN@Home program was to help address the shortage of BSN-prepared nurses predicted by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing. As the program matured, its goal became even more relevant. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce have a baccalaureate degree by 2020. This recommendation is based on evidence showing improved outcomes for patients cared for by nurses with higher education levels.

“According to the Wisconsin Center for Nursing 2014 RN Workforce Survey, a significant number of RNs still need to earn their BSN degrees for the state to achieve the national goals. A more educated nursing workforce equates with better patient outcomes,” says UW-Green Bay Dean, Susan Gallagher-Lepak, longtime chair of the BSN@HOME Steering Committee.

“When the program originally launched twenty years ago, many people thought a quality nursing program could not be taught from a distance; however, this innovative program has since become an enduring part of UW System,” says Sylvia Forbes, BSN@Home Program coordinator from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “The BSN@Home program has built partnerships with agencies and technical colleges throughout the state and we will continue to provide this quality program in an attempt to remove barriers to earning the BSN degree.”

Chris Vandenhouten, Chair of Nursing at UW-Green Bay said, “Patients, employers and the profession benefit when nurses advance their education. BSN@Home is an effective way for associate degree prepared nurses to complete a BSN degree. UW-Green Bay has been a strong partner in this collaboration and with online nursing education.”

For more information about the BSN@Home program, please visit http://bsnathome.com/.