McKendree University and BJC Launch RN-to-BSN Partnership

Classes to Begin at Alton Memorial Hospital in January

Lebanon, Ill. — A new academic partnership between McKendree University and the BJC Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) will enable nurses employed by BJC to take RN-to-BSN classes at Alton Memorial Hospital (AMH), starting in January. BJC nurses who work at or live near AMH will have a convenient option to complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“We will tailor the course work from the perspective of the BJC system, to meet their needs according to their policies,” said Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, chair of the nursing division at McKendree University. “Partnerships such as this can assist organizations, such as BJC, in ensuring their RNs have the opportunity to obtain a BSN degree.”

“We are pleased to support BJC in its efforts to ensure a highly educated workforce, and we appreciate the confidence that BJC has in McKendree’s nursing programs,” added Dr. Christine Bahr, provost.

“The demand for an RN-to-BSN program that is convenient for BJC nurses in the Alton area has been on the rise,” said Amy Pollock, CLL senior manager of learning partnerships and assessments at BJC. “Many nurses at AMH are already enrolled in McKendree’s program, so it’s a natural fit to strengthen a relationship that exists.”

The goal of McKendree’s RN-to-BSN program is to facilitate the educational advancement of RNs to further enhance safe, quality patient care. The program builds on the core competencies and knowledge the student brings from previous academic nursing programs, and expands on professional nursing values, resulting in a deeper and broader scope of professional practice and professional role identity. Graduates of the program are generalists with the necessary base for graduate education and continuing professional development to be leaders in practice and in the nursing profession.

Debbie Turpin, AMH patient care services vice president and chief nursing officer, said offering an option that allows nurses to get off work and attend class close to home makes it easy to encourage nurses to go back to school, helping to meet the Institute of Medicine’s call for an 80 percent BSN-prepared workforce by 2030.

“McKendree can offer classes close to home for the Illinois nurses who find it hard to travel to the BJC Learning Institute,” said Turpin, a graduate of the university’s nursing program. “And with 21 nurses who are McKendree students already, we thought it would be a great opportunity for BJC to partner with the university.”

Thursday evening classes at Alton Memorial will begin in January. For more information, call 1-800-232-7228, ext. 6834 or visit