Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder named chair of National Health Professions Workgroup

INDIANAPOLIS — Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder has been named to chair the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges Nursing and Allied Health Professions Workgroup.  He is joined on the group by Montana University System Deputy Commissioner John Cech, Arkansas Associate of Two-Year Colleges Executive Director Edward Franklin, New Jersey Council of Country Colleges President Lawrence Nepoli and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Director of Health Professions Policy Roxanne Fulcher.  The National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges is an affiliated council of the AACC.

The importance of community colleges in preparing nurses and allied health professionals to meet the nation’s need is strong and growing. Community colleges already educate the majority of these essential health-care workers and are vital to ensuring the quality and availability of healthcare.  New laws and policies call for new academic and career pathways.  This workgroup will examine such laws and policies as well as facilitate discussion among community colleges about how to strengthen the capacity of associate degree programs to supply their communities with high quality health care professionals .
Community colleges provide accessible, affordable education to millions of health care professionals in every state. Without associate degree program graduates, communities would face an immeasurable health-care crisis, making patient care and safety virtually impossible.

“A small contingent of special interest groups is advocating that certain hospitals—those seeking to attain “nursing magnet” status—restrict employment only to RNs with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Their efforts would have catastrophic results not just for RNs holding an associate degree in nursing (ADN), but for our nation’s healthcare system as a whole.  And this may result in increased health care costs,” Snyder said.  “One of my greatest concerns is that their position is supported by claims that just aren’t true.  Those promoting the BSN as a necessary prerequisite to a nursing career infer that ADN-prepared RNs provide a diminished quality of care as compared to BSN-prepared RNs. However, evidence does not support these claims. Even a well-publicized study conducted in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, found no causal relationship between the educational preparation of RNs and patient outcomes.   Perhaps of equal concern is the fact that policy is not being driven by evidence.  Patient care improves when more nurses care for fewer patients, yet focus is on RNs attaining a second undergraduate degree (BSN) that adds not a single new nurse to the workforce.”

Ivy Tech has nearly 2,000 students enrolled in its RN programs in any given term across the state.  The school graduates 1,300 nurses a year, more than any school in the state of Indiana.

Below are some additional national facts around nursing as provided by AACC’s examination of federal data.

  • Associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs educate nearly 57 percent of RNs.
  • Both 2- and 4-year schools of nursing teach the competencies necessary for successful RN practice, as measured by RN licensure exam pass rates and shared workplace roles.
  • Only graduate-level nursing programs provide RNs with the competencies required for specialty, advanced practice, and faculty roles.
  • ADN-prepared RNs represent a solid economic and social investment, since they are more likely to work and reside in the states where they earn their degrees.
  • Three quarters (74.8 percent) of RNs in rural settings received their initial nursing degrees through either an ADN or diploma program, at 57.2 percent and 17.6 percent respectively.
  • Primarily due to shortages of faculty and clinical sites, in the 2009–2010 academic year ADN programs rejected 46 percent of qualified applications, compared with 37 percent of bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs and 21 percent of diploma programs.
  • ADN schools of nursing provide the nation its greatest nursing workforce diversity, graduating about 71 percent of Black and Hispanic RNs.
  • ADN schools have educated nearly 70 percent of RNs caring for geriatric and long-term care patients.
  • The majority of medical military corps workers (61.1 percent) choosing to become RNs have become ADN-prepared RNs.
  • ADN- and BSN-prepared RNs are equally competent to serve in leadership roles in management or administration positions at 33.6 percent and 34.8 percent, respectively.
  • More than 1 million health-care workers have chosen to become RNs through ADN programs, making ADN-prepared RNs the largest cohort of RNs with health occupation experience prior to becoming nurses.
  • Nearly 25 percent (341,025) of ADN-prepared RNs held academic degrees prior to earning their nursing degrees. Of that percentage, 42 percent (142,789) held bachelor’s degrees.
  • Employers are equally likely to hire ADN- and BSN-prepared RNs, with 75 percent of all RNs working in nursing.
  • Hospitals employ comparable numbers of BSN- and ADN prepared RNs at 646,695 and 626,119, respectively.
  • About an equal percentage of ADN- and BSN-prepared RNs are employed in public or community settings, at 33.7 percent and 36.4 percent, respectively.
  • ADN-prepared RNs are an excellent solution to the faculty shortage, because they are poised to achieve graduate degrees via approximately 173 RN to Master of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN) programs.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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