Joint Enrollment Pathway students find success

Photo of Joint Enrollment Student

By Laura Gasque

Since 2019, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has partnered with Jefferson State Community College and Wallace State Community College to offer students a seamless pathway from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree in nursing, earning both at the same time. For the 2023 spring cohorts, of all the students who have taken the National Council Licensure Examination, there is a 100% pass rate.

The 47 graduates from these cohorts started their journey during the COVID-19 pandemic with masking and social distancing as well as remote learning, making their success even more meaningful, according to UABSON Assistant Professor and Joint Enrollment Pathway Director Nanci Claus, DNP, CRNP, CNE (MSN 2016, DNP 2018).

“They overcame those challenges, and it will make them a stronger person and a stronger nurse,” Claus said. “Joint Enrollment students juggle classes, labs, simulations and clinicals at Jefferson State or Wallace State, while completing online classes at UAB to finish this program strong and earn not one, but two degrees—making them rockstars.”

After completing general education and nursing pre-requisite courses, students in the Joint Enrollment Pathway can earn both degrees simultaneously in five semesters and receive a diploma from their community college and UAB.

“Being able to have both schools’ reputations was a deciding factor for me in being able to do the joint pathway,” said Alyson Farley, RN (BSN 2022), a recent graduate of the UAB and Jefferson State Joint Enrollment Pathway. “Knowing that it would be close to home so it would be easier travel for me, and we were able to get our financial aid through UAB, we saved a lot of money in the long run, and it has been such a great benefit.”

In addition to the geographical and financial benefits of the pathway, students also receive a broader education.

“As our institutions planned this program to increase the BSN-prepared graduates in the state of Alabama, I’m not sure that we really appreciated or anticipated the unique benefit that these students would experience with completing two nursing programs simultaneously,” said

Deborah “Pepper” Hoover, MSN, FNP, RN (BSN 1974, MSN 1977), Chair of the Wallace State Community College Department of Nursing Education. “These students have gotten to know faculty members from very diverse backgrounds and have been introduced to collaboration with students from multiple perspectives. These graduates are special.”

Recently, Bevill State Community College was added as the third community college to join in this educational partnership—adding another opportunity for students to begin their nursing career and be prepared for success for the next steps in their careers.

“The best thing about nursing is there are so many pathways you can take,” Claus said. “You have a world of options.”

Deadlines are approaching to apply. You can find more information here:

Upcoming Events