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UNC Offers New 14-Month Nursing Program

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is starting a new program that may help to ease the state's nursing shortage.

Fourteen months ago, Jeff Dudley was leading backpacking excursions. On Sunday, he will become a registered nurse and work in one of the intensive care units at UNC.

"There's going to be a lot to soak up here and I'm hoping to do that as fast as I can," he said.

Dudley is in the first class of nurses to complete UNC's new 14-month nursing program. It is designed to ease the nursing shortage and is intended for those who already have a bachelor's degree. Typically, it takes two years to finish the program. UNC trimmed 10 months off that by creating a brand new curriculum.

"We designed new courses and that's what makes it different," director Judy Miller said.

Miller said the nurses in the program are just as qualified as other registered nurses, which means it is intense.

"We would not compromise in developing this option," Miller said.

"I had no idea what I was going to get into when I started the program, but yeah, it was extremely intense," nursing student Meera Ganatra said.

The hospital sponsored more than half of the students, offering stipends from $10,000 to $36,000. In return, students agree to work at the hospital after graduation.

"They can commit anywhere from 18 months to two years to three years and the scholarship is tiered to that," said Sandy Evans, associate director of nursing.

Thanks to this program, there will be 31 more nurses taking care of patients. Another class of 39 is under way.

Students do have to fufill prerequisite requirements before entering the program, which include anatomy and statistics. Duke has a 16-month accelerated program. Some schools, including Johns Hopkins University, graduate nurses in 13 months.


Ken Bodine, Photographer
Andrea Moody, Producer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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