The upcoming Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a groundbreaking development in not only Armenia, but in the region. Internationally, the professional consensus suggests that in the current complex healthcare environment, baccalaureate education should be the entry-level requirement for professional nursing practice. However, almost no universities in post-Soviet nations currently offer a bachelor’s nursing program.
The innovative RN-to-BSN (registered nurse to BSN) program will be offered at the Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH), made possible by the generosity of the Turpanjian family, whose commitment to AUA has pioneered significant advancements toward the development and future of Armenia. The Republic of Armenia (RA) Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports and Ministry of Health are collaborating with the University to develop the BSN program. Its launch will advance the School of Public Health into a college and will revolutionize opportunities for present and future nurses in the post-Soviet region.
“This groundbreaking educational opportunity for nurses will not only significantly improve the quality of nursing education in Armenia, but will also emphasize the importance of nursing, bringing respect and recognition to the profession,” remarks Dr. Vahram Dumanyan, RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports.
The RN-to-BSN program is currently working on curriculum development. In order to develop the program, SPH and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing conducted a large-scale and comprehensive national assessment of nursing education, practice, and policy in Armenia and held multiple stakeholder meetings. An international group of leaders in nursing met in Yerevan to suggest solutions on improving nursing education and practice, including faculty from nursing schools of the University of Pennsylvania; the University of California, San Francisco; Johns Hopkins University; the American University of Beirut Hariri School of Nursing; and others as part of the AUA Nursing Project. The project was made possible with financial support provided by Edele Hovnanian, a University of Pennsylvania alumna and trustee of the Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation.
The global driving forces for the development of the BSN program are the growing complexity of healthcare, need for cost-effectiveness, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, aging population, increasing environmental threats, and lifestyle choices and habits. In this challenging time for Armenia, it is more important than ever to pioneer advancements in healthcare. Currently, vocational institutions in Armenia provide an associate nursing degree. Nurses with an associate degree will have the chance to receive a higher education through the upcoming BSN program, which will broaden their capacities and career-growth opportunities.
The program will result in much-needed specializations currently unavailable in Armenia. Opportunity for higher education in the nursing field will transform AUA into a faculty production hub for nursing colleges. Nurse managers with competencies in data science will become champions of E-Health and quality care implementation in Armenia. Furthermore, an increase of qualified gerontology and nutritionist nurses will service the Armenian population, 25% of which will be above 65 years old in 2050. Finally, multilingual nurse managers can contribute to the Armenian health tourism sector.
Overall, the upcoming BSN program will spearhead national and regional advancements in the nursing field, improving the capabilities and perception of nurses. With an increase in quality of education and career-growth opportunities in nursing, more will be incentivized to pursue the field, advancing Armenia as a pioneer of healthcare in the region.
AUA thanks the Turpanjian Family Educational Foundation, whose generous support made it possible to offer the RN-to-BSN undergraduate program at AUA.
The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve the health of the populace and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals and others to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.