Tennessee partnership covers tuition, offers jobs to students

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's College of Nursing is extending a partnership with Memphis, Tenn.-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare to assist students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

According to a Sept. 28 news release, the Methodist Le Bonheur Scholars program successfully completed its first year and has been extended for an additional three years. The partnership covers tuition and fees and guarantees students a job after graduation if the student commits to working for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare for two years post-graduation. 

The agreement applies to students in the accelerated BSN program, which is a rigorous 12-month program for students who hold a bachelor's degree in another field. 

Senior vice president and chief nurse executive for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Nikki Polis, PhD, RN, said the partnership exemplifies the organizational commitment to developing the next generation of healthcare professionals.

"The program covers tuition costs so nursing students can focus on their education. After graduation, program participants are employed within our nationally recognized healthcare system, with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our patients and families as well [as] the prospect of fulfilling career growth," said Dr. Polis. 

The partnership was initiated one year ago, with the first graduates earning their degrees in August. More than half of the accelerated BSN students who graduated from the Memphis-based University of Tennessee Health Science Center in August benefited from the Methodist Le Bonheur Scholars program, according to the release. 

Dean of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing, Wendy Likes, PhD, said she is grateful to the hospital system for making the partnership happen. 

"This important collaboration allows our college to help fill the need for registered nurses in our community and enables our students to pursue their BSN degrees without the burden of financial worry or debt," Dr. Likes said.

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