To streamline healthcare education as well as increase the supply of graduating nurses, Westfield State University has partnered with Holyoke Community College in allowing simultaneous enrollment for both associate and bachelor’s degrees. Students will then experience accelerated programs designed to prepare them for the workforce at a much faster rate, as they undergo academic rigors of both degrees at the same time. Once students have earned an Associate’s at HCC, they will then be registered as nurses while also completing their bachelor’s degree at Westfield State.
Jessica Holden, Executive Director of Nursing at Westfield State said, “This pathway makes more seamless for the student. Some organizations require a bachelor’s degree for hire. The bachelor’s degree allows more flexibility for nurses who may want to take on managerial or leadership roles.”
With this partnership, students will be able to save money on classes and resources and the two schools will be more efficiently utilized, increasing overall accessibility for prospective students.
Holyoke Community’s Director of Nursing, Teresa Beaudry, commented on how the joint program will prevent nursing applications from being declined at academic institutions due to a lack of functional bandwidth, stating, “We're looking at any student who is interested in getting their bachelor's, but especially students who are not getting into the bachelor's program."
The program will be implemented in 2024. Westfield State President Linda Thompson looks forward to the partnership, stating this is the best option to help educate and prepare healthcare workers in a timelier fashion.
“We really have to look at ways that we educate young people without causing them to feel like they have a burden when they graduate. I think this is the way of the future.”