6 | COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL AACC.NCHE.EDU
Nursing education is entering a new, dynamic period.
As a nursing educator and a leader at a community
college for many years, the importance of a commu-
nity college and the impact it plays is demonstrated
with each graduate that crosses the stage.
Community colleges have assisted in bridging the gap and assisted in meeting the needs
of underserved and diverse students. Associate
degree nursing (ADN) programs graduate more
African American, Latino and Native American
registered nurses than other types of prelicensure
nursing programs, according to data from the
Campaign for Action. In addition, these nursing
graduates most often choose to stay in their community and work. These graduates know, understand
and embrace the needs of their community, and
they personally benefit from the decreased cost in
tuition and length of the program.
Community colleges play a crucial role in educating individuals who desire to become a nurse.
Registered nursing graduates with an associate
degree also are choosing to continue their education
and acquire additional skills and competencies that
will serve their communities. Community colleges
are working diligently to ensure a seamless plan for
transitioning to higher degrees in nursing. Whether
it be a baccalaureate program at the community
college, dual admission, concurrent enrollment or
RN-to-BSN program, the key is seamless transition.
Removing the barriers to ensure students continue
the learning momentum is something we must
stress as community college leaders.
Most recently, Donna Meyer, CEO of the
Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN),
had the opportunity to testify to the National
Academy of Medicine on the future of nursing for
2020-2030. This represented the only testimony to
this blue-ribbon national commission exclusively
focused on the contributions of community colleges
to the national nursing workforce.
Over the years, OADN—an affiliate council of
the American Association of Community Colleges—
has been at the forefront and involved in the
transformation of nursing education. The com-munity-based institutions that OADN represents
educate more than 50 percent of all newly licensed
professional registered nurses, an average of 81,000
annually, according to the national Council of State
Boards of Nursing. Close collaboration with prominent national healthcare organizations ensures that
the interests of associate degree nursing programs
are represented in national policy decision making.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF),
for example, now officially cites the value and
important role a community college plays in
educating the workforce, noting the capacity to
provide individuals with the ability to launch
careers, setting them on path to achieve goals, and
helping our nation meet access needs for an aging
and chronically ill population.
As an ADN graduate myself, I can tell you that
without the opportunity to enter nursing through a
community college pathway, I am not certain I would
be here writing to you today as a dean of nursing at
Houston Community College’s Coleman College for
Health Sciences. I am thankful and very grateful for
the community college I attended so many years ago.
The foundation in nursing I received, as well as so
many others, is a proud accomplishment upon which
we all continue to build. The future of nursing education is bright and one with much excitement. We
are encouraged to embrace education, tear down the
walls in academics and come together to educate the
nation’s future nurses. The ADN will remain a strong
and much needed component of nursing education
AACC members can contact OADN with questions or concerns on these topics. We will continue
to progress together, in our shared spirit of collaboration and innovation. Visit www.OADN.org for
Donna Spivey is dean of nursing at Houston Community College’s Coleman
College for Health Sciences in Houston, Texas, and serves as president of OADN.
Associate degree nursing:
The national perspective
By Donna Spivey