Local hospitals partner with UTC to address nursing shortage

UTC's announces their new accelerated nursing degree program at a press conference Feb 27.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – In the fall of 2022, leaders from both UTC and our local hospitals came together to solve a nationwide issue.

“It’s almost at a crisis, where they can’t open wards because they don’t have enough nurses,” Chancellor Angle said at the press conference.

UTC’s response was to create an accelerated nursing degree program.

This program enables students to graduate with a BSN in just one year.

“It is a very intense program. But we’ve compacted it so we can get students into the program, get them out into the field, help us combat that nursing shortage that is happening across the nation,” Jason Peter, Asst. Professor of Nursing said. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, you know, we’ve had a lot of nurses that have left the field. And this will kind of replenish what we’ve lost.”

The program admits students every semester.

“They’ll have three cohorts a year, so we’ll be able to get students on a continuing, ongoing basis which is very exciting for us,” Sellers said.

There’s only one change between the accelerated and traditional program.

Traditional students have to take over 1,000 clinical hours, whereas the accelerated students take 945.

However, Dr. Smith says students from both programs will still meet all of their educational goals. “There’s been some concern that maybe we’re taking a shortcut in this accelerated program, but I assure you we are not. Every course that these students who are sitting in this room today are taking, are accelerated students are taking as well.”

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