SPSCC, Saint Martins ink deal

Students in the South Puget Sound Community College nursing programs now have an official pipeline to Saint Martin’s University.

SPSCC announced last month it has signed a formal agreement with SMU to offer dual enrollment.

The deal will give nursing students at
SPSCC a chance to apply for dual admission to Saint Martin’s Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) program.

SPSCC students who qualify for the program will receive advising from Saint Martin’s. They will also be admitted to Saint Martin’s RN-to-BSN program once they graduate from SPSCC and pass the registered nurse licensing exam.

SPSCC president Gerald Pumphrey and Saint Martin’s president Roy Heynderickx were on hand to sign the agreement at the event last month on the SPSCC campus.

“This was a dream just a few years ago,” Pumphrey said. “We know that nursing is a career with incredible pathways.”

Heynderickx said students and the region’s health care industry will benefit from the agreement by increasing the number of nurses with a baccalaureate education in nursing.

“It’s a huge advantage and it’s all about creating opportunities for students in the community,” he said before inking the deal.

Louise Kaplan, who leads SMU’s fledgling nursing program, told a small group of SPSCC nursing students that some healthcare institutions are only hiring nurses with a BSN degree.

Saint Martin’s Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) program was launched this past fall with a class of 8 students. Kaplan said the university hopes to admit two or three more students in the spring.

Kaplan is the only faculty member in the new program, but plans to add an additional instructor next year.

“This is just the beginning of some creative approaches to nursing,” she said.

One hurdle for SPSCC students may be the relatively high cost of tuition at Saint Martin’s compared with SPSCC. Tuition for a full-time student at SMU is estimated at $28,400 per year, according to the university’s website.

Kaplan said there are scholarships and financial aid available at Saint Martin’s for qualifying nursing students.

“We are trying to make the transition smoothly,” Kaplan said.