Identification of the Partnership Model

The four models of academic progression identified by the CCNA Learning Collaborative provided the initial framework for program development and were subject to change over time. 

  • The RN - MSN was fairly well established at the outset of APIN, and no project site selected this model for extensive development or evaluation.  This model continues to be a successful pathway for educational advancement; in 2015, more than 200 programs were available across the U.S. (AACN, 2015).  
  • The model in which an RN - BSN degree is conferred by a community college has continued but expansion has been limited to specific geographic regions with small impact on BSN proportions overall (Farmer, Meyer, Sroczynski, Close, Gorski & Wortock, 2017 - In press, link pending).  There is some evidence that limited dissemination is the result of legislative barriers and university resistance, rather than lack of interest (OADN, 2017b).
  • The competency – based model came to be viewed as an important component of coordinated curriculum or accelerated models, but was not in and of itself seen to increase the proportion of BSN prepared nurses.  Several APIN states and other academic progression projects used the associated tools and process to further their work. 
  • Virtually all APIN projects and other identified leaders in academic progression nationally focused on programs which evolved from the shared curriculum model, in which a collaboration between community colleges and universities allowed students to “transition automatically and seamlessly” (Campaign for Action, 2012).  As each project site developed the model in differing ways it has undergone substantial evolution.  A critical commonality across all sites is close partnership between a community college and university, which led program leaders from CCNA and APIN to consider the broader title of partnership model.

This partnership model has shown the best potential to accelerate progress broadly due to several important advantages.  Most critically, it moved the dialog between academic institutions from one of competition and conflict to one of cooperation.  Developers of the model acknowledged and built upon the existing community college infrastructure, including improved access for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students. Simultaneously, program leaders recognized and incorporated the expertise of university faculty in delivering baccalaureate content.  The model provides a robust opportunity for practice partner engagement and support.  Practice partners in rural areas who have historically been reliant on local community colleges for workforce development were able to appreciate the value of this approach.