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KNOXVILLE — The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is making it easier for registered nurses with two-year associate’s degrees to get their bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN).

Starting this summer, upper-division nursing courses in the RN to BSN program will go online. The curriculum can be completed in three semesters or can be taken on a part-time basis.

Prerequisites can be taken at any institution, including UT Knoxville. Students can transfer into the program when ready to begin upper-division nursing courses.

“This online program makes earning a BSN more accessible,” said Gary Ramsey, chair of the undergraduate nursing program at UT Knoxville. “We will work with prospective students to assess their college credits and help them formulate a plan to complete any additional prerequisites they may need. This program makes good use of faculty resources and students’ time and will allow more BSN nurses to graduate from the university.”

According to a special report by the Tennessee Hospital Association, higher proportions of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses may help stabilize the workforce, because registered nurses are found to have higher levels of job satisfaction, which is key to nurse retention. The same report — “Curing the Crisis in Nursing Education: A Master Plan for Tennessee” — indicates that nearly 60 percent of registered nurses in Tennessee hold only an associate’s degree or diploma.

“There is a nursing shortage in our state, which is expected to continue to grow, but we can have a positive impact on the local and state nursing workforce if we’re able to produce more baccalaureate-prepared nurses,” Ramsey said.

The College of Nursing is working with local hospitals and local community colleges to help current registered nurses and students in community colleges to transition to the BSN.

Interested persons need to contact the College of Nursing Student Services Office at (865) 974-7606 for additional information and advising appointments.


Gary Ramsey (865-974-7623,

Kristi Hintz (865-974-3993,