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May 08 2017

Academic Progression In Nursing: Highlighting St. Joseph’s College of Nursing & Le Moyne College


 stJoseph  leMoyne

St. Joseph’s College of Nursing


Department of Nursing



New York State adopted the 1+2+1 model as a pathway for seamless ADN to BSN mobility. The unique dual degree approach to nursing education was first conceived and implemented by St. Joseph’s College of Nursing and the Department of Nursing at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. This innovative partnership has been highly successful, has not cost either institution any increase in their operating budgets, and has been replicated by many other schools in the state and beyond.  Additionally, an accelerated program has been developed to satisfy unmet needs of adult learners with bachelors or higher degrees in other fields who were interested in becoming registered nurses. 


1. History and Description of the Dual Degree (1+2+1) Model  

A unique articulation model, known as the Dual Degree Partnership in Nursing (DDPN), is the first model of its kind in the country.  The DDPN was established in 2005 between the Department of Nursing at Le Moyne College (LMC) and St. Joseph’s College of Nursing (SJCON) at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York.  

This collaborative relationship, unlike the typical 2+2 agreements between Associate Degree (AD) and Bachelor Degree (BS) programs, is designed with a 1+2+1 sequence. The student satisfies the curriculum requirements of both the AD program and the upper-division BS program on a full-time basis at SJCON and LMC respectively.  They graduate with the AD degree at the end of Year III, sit for their licensing exam that summer, and return as a registered nurse for their final year of study for the BS degree. This innovative configuration of combining the two programs was accomplished without compromising the integrity of either one of these established programs of study.  

The initial goals in creating the DDPN were to attract a younger cohort into nursing, increase the retention rates of nursing students, and create an avenue for RN to BS mobility in nursing. Some key factors contributing to the success of this agreement include a long-standing mutual respect between the institutions, the excellent reputation of both colleges, the relative proximity of the two campuses, the willingness of the administrators at both schools to work together, and the congruence of institutional missions with similar values and shared goals.  The model was designed to attract high school students eager to pursue a BS in nursing and give them the opportunity to earn two nursing degrees (AD and BS) while experiencing a four-year campus living and learning environment like any other major at LMC.  

The number of applications from graduating high school students has risen dramatically since the model was initiated.  Applications have increased from 21 applicants in 2005 pilot year to over 700 applicants in the most recent entering class of 2016. The average number of students accepted for freshman enrollment grew from the initial 10 students to approximately 70 per cohort for the past 5 years. This progressive growth in applications and enrollment indicates the popularity of the DDPN and the growing interest by young people in pursuing nursing as a field of study and earning the BS degree as an immediate goal for practicing nursing as a professional career.  

The Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for nurses to achieve a minimum of a BS degree for practice as a registered nurse has had a significant impact on the success of this unique model. Configured in the 1+2+1 framework, this dual degree model is not only very timely in preparing nurses in a seamless fashion to obtain a BS in nursing, but combines the strengths of both the AD and BS degree levels of education. This partnership encourages and supports collaboration for the benefit of students as well as the educational institutions. Essentially, students receive the “best of both worlds”, the strengths of a strong theory and clinical practice foundation and the breadth of a liberal arts education.  

Given the significant and on-going changes in the U.S. health care system, strengthening the education of nurses both before and after they are licensed is essential.  Funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation via the Academic Progression in Nursing grant (only 9 states in the country were selected to receive APIN awards) made possible the replication of the 1+2+1 model across New York and neighboring states.  Altogether over the four-year funding period (2012-2016), six BS and eight AD programs have already partnered together and at least 20 other colleges in New York and beyond have sought consultation and are working on developing this type of dual degree curriculum.  Such a joint effort at articulation works between both private and public schools, between two or more partners, as well as between religious and secular colleges.  Also, the population of students being recruited at these various institutions ranges from strictly high school cohorts to adult learners and external transfer students depending on need and interests.  

2. Articles and Websites  

Susan B. Bastable, Founding Chair of the Department of Nursing at Le Moyne College, and Marianne Markowitz, VP/Dean at St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, are the co-creators of the 1+2+1 model. They also co-authored the following two articles on the DDPN to share with colleagues about the structure and success of this model:  

  1. Bastable, S.B., & Markowitz, M. (2012). Dual Degree Partnership in Nursing: An innovative undergraduate educational model. Journal of Nursing Education, 51(10), 549-555.
  2. Markowitz, M., & Bastable, S.B. (2017). An innovative academic progression model in New York state. Journal of Nursing Education, 56(5). [Accepted for publication and due in print in the May 2017 issue but page #s not yet specified].

For further information on the implementation of this model and details about the curriculum plan, see the two colleges websites at: or


3. Accelerated Dual Degree Partnership in Nursing (A-DDPN)  

In further response to the IOM’s report, St. Joseph’s College of Nursing and the Department of Nursing at Le Moyne College entered in to a second partnership.  Another major stimulus for this articulation agreement was to satisfy unmet needs of adult learners with bachelors or higher degrees in other fields who were interested in becoming registered nurses.  Also, establishing the A-DDPN created a niche for both SJCON and LMC, as did the DDPN when it was initiated almost 10 years earlier, because no other accelerated program of its kind existed on a college campus within a more than 50-mile radius of the Syracuse area.  

Students in the A-DDPN gain all the benefits of rigorous academic and hands-on clinical experiences, yet they do so in a condensed period of 18 months (three consecutive 6-month terms) while simultaneously enrolled at SJCON and LMC. They attend SJCON one evening per week and every other weekend and attend two classes per week throughout the entire year. At the end of Term III, students earn both the AD and BS degrees with a major in nursing.  To be accepted to the A-DDPN, applicants first must transfer in 30-33 credits (a 3-credit swing depending on whether they have high school or college chemistry) of liberal arts and science courses that are pre-requisites to either SJCON or LMC.  

The first cohort entered both colleges in July 2014 and graduated in December 2015.  Only one cohort per year is accepted.  To date, three cohorts have been accepted, two have successfully completed the A-DDPN, and the third cohort is slated to graduate in December 2017. For further information, the website links of both colleges listed above for the DDPN also include the description and curriculum plan for the A-DDPN.  

View St. Joseph's Website | Visit Le Moyne's Website



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