Partnership results in new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

North Central Michigan College and Davenport University announced a partnership to expand nursing education in Northern Michigan. Leaders from both institutions formalized the partnership with a signing ceremony January 30 at NCMC in Petoskey. Their agreement streamlines the process for nurses with an NCMC associate degree to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from Davenport.

The program provides NCMC nursing graduates and other registered nurses with a convenient, more affordable path to earning a BSN degree. Under the agreement, NCMC nursing students would spend three years at North Central completing an associate degree before earning a BSN during a fourth year spent locally, but as Davenport students. Because the program content is delivered online with some components taking place on North Central’s campus, registered nurses can continue working while completing their last year of BSN education.

“Davenport is an ideal partner because their program is straightforward, and like North Central, they offer a robust, high-quality nursing education,” said NCMC Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Brent LaFaive, adding that other BSN completion programs in the state require additional credits — some of them general education courses.

“Our partnership with Davenport will improve patient care in Northern Michigan while allowing our nurses to remain actively involved in their careers locally,” LaFaive said.

Scholarships of up to $10,000 are available for the first 30 NCMC nursing graduates who apply and are accepted into Davenport’s BSN completion program. To be eligible to receive a scholarship, an applicant must be an NCMC nursing graduate within the last five years, must be enrolled in Davenport University's BSN completion program, and must have a current, unencumbered nursing license.

North Central’s collaboration with Davenport is the result of legislation approved in 2022 allowing Michigan’s community colleges to partner with four-year universities to offer BSN completion programs. Program funding was provided through a $2 million grant from the State of Michigan in Public Act 103 of 2023.

North Central has long been a champion of expanding BSN access, particularly in rural Northern Michigan, where local and regional hospitals support BSN attainment.

“North Central’s partnership with Davenport is about more than providing an educational pathway; it's about empowering our nurses with a convenient, affordable path to take the next step in their education and training,” said NCMC President David Roland Finley. “We thank area legislators Sen. John Damoose, Reps. John Roth and Ken Borton, and former Sen. Wayne Schmidt for their role in making this opportunity possible. Together, we are not only meeting the demands of the present, but actively contributing to the future of healthcare in Northern Michigan.”

Davenport’s BSN completion program allows for a seamless transition for nurses and the full transfer of credits between the institutions. Davenport President Richard J. Pappas said streamlining the pathway for students to earn a BSN from the university is key for students and the partnership’s success.

“This partnership is critical to the ultimate goal of producing more nurses with higher-level degrees to work in our hospitals,” Pappas said. “We know the North Central graduates who will be coming to us will be well educated and ready for the next steps in their education and their careers. This collaboration is an important step in closing the talent gap that exists in the nursing profession.” 

Davenport’s BSN completion program is available this winter. Interested students can attend one of two virtual information sessions to learn more: February 6 from 12—1 p.m. or February 8 from 5—6 p.m. Registration is required.

To apply for Davenport’s BSN completion program, students must apply for admission at Davenport offers a rolling admissions process and six semester start dates annually. Students who are interested in the BSN completion program should apply now, officials said.

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