The Academic Progression in Nursing program (APIN) supports strategies that smooth the way to higher degrees and employment, with the goal of creating a more highly educated nursing workforce able to deliver care in multiple settings.

Focused on the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that 80 percent of the nursing workforce have a bachelor’s degree by 2020, APIN has funded efforts on two fronts: initiatives that remove obstacles that keep nursing students from getting their Bachelor in Science of Nursing—for example, universities that partner with community colleges to allow the transfer of class credits—and employment: partnerships between schools and health facilities that provide students practice experience and employment opportunities.

APIN is a grant initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the Tri-Council for Nursing and is administered by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE).

APIN Staff
Pam Thompson, Director
Tina Gerardi, Deputy Director
Bryan Hoffman, Program Manager

States involved in the RWJF Academic Progression in Nursing program


  1. California

    Where and how Californians get health care is changing. Nurses play a tremendous role in delivering high-quality care. To that end, our goal is to increase the number of nurses in Los Angeles with higher degrees to better meet this changing environment.


    California is continuing to expand on the successful state university-community college collaborative model. California State University of Los Angeles (CSULA) provides a seamless ADN-BSN program for students from eight community colleges in the region featuring completion of prerequisites at the community college, courses at CSULA between community college semesters, and a final year of matriculation at CSULA to complete the BSN degree. This program strives to advance ADN to BSN academic progression and expand capacity by adopting the California Collaborative Model of Nursing Education’s core components of dual admission, integrated curriculum, shared faculty, BSN completion in one year, and permanence and sustainability.

  2. Hawaii

    Nurses are the backbone of health care in Hawaii. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act, models of care are changing as the complexity of our communities health needs are growing. Preparing our nursing workforce to meet these demands has prompted a state-wide effort to increase the number of nurses with higher levels of education.


    The long-term goal of the Hawaii Statewide Plan to Ensure Academic Progression in Nursing is to increase the percentage of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the state from 59 to 80 percent by 2020. The major initiatives that comprise this plan are:

    1. Collaboration between Hawaii universities and community colleges, both public and private, to create a shared, comprehensive RN to BSN curriculum.
    2. Establishment of academic and nursing employer partnerships working to develop employer supported on-site learning opportunities in various settings (e.g. acute care, long-term care, community health, etc.) to ensure the diversity of baccalaureate prepared nurses in the state by specialty.
    3. Increasing commitment from nursing employers to provide support and incentives for their RNs returning to school for a baccalaureate education.

    Currently Hawaii is working to expand its Executive RN to BSN Program, which provides on-site learning opportunities, to specialties other than acute care such as long-term care and community health. This expansion includes implementation of the program through various partnerships between facilities and academic institutions and increasing the diversity of the RN to BSN student by specialty.

  3. Massachusetts

    The Massachusetts APIN grant aims to increase the number of baccalaureate and higher degree nurses from 55% to 66% by 2020 through implementation of accelerated pathways to promote seamless academic progression, integration of the Massachusetts Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies (NOFNCC©) into academic and practice settings, and a plan to increase the number of qualified nurse faculty by addressing retirement issues and improvements in faculty recruitment and development. Through these measures, we are actively working to be the national model for nurses leading, advocating, and partnering to boldly reshape delivery of high quality, patient-centered health care.


    In January 2014, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved a Nursing Education Transfer Compact (NETC), making it easier to for students to transfer academic credits from associate degree to BSN programs at the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universites.

  4. Montana

    The frontier nature of Montana amplifies the challenge of providing accessible, quality health care and the great need for a strong nursing workforce. The project goal of preparing 80 percent of the RN workforce to baccalaureate preparation by the year 2020 initiated a statewide unprecedented movementto advance the health of all Montanans.


    To increase the number of nurses in Montana with baccalaureate or higher degrees, the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing (MT CAHN ) has developed a statewide plan to increase the number of hospitals offering financial and other incentives to RNs with a BSN or to RNs seeking a BSN or higher degree. Additionally, MT CAHN is working to establish common admission standards for ASN programs and to ensure seamless transition from ASN to BSN programs. MT APIN met with all schools of nursing to share information about APIN. From these meetings, common barriers and facilitators of academic progression in nursing were identified and shared with stakeholders throughout the state. Quarterly discussions with nursing program directors led to a common objective across programs: develop a statewide nursing education model that maximizes academic progression toward BSN and graduate nursing degrees to meet the changing health care needs of Montanans. Registrars from Montana colleges and universities developed an electronic roadmap of nursing education developed by MT APIN. APIN staff also facilitated an examination of admission standards for ASN and BSN programs that will be incorporated as a statewide model currently in development. MT CAHN continues to offer a mentoring program for RNs enrolled in state baccalaureate nursing programs. To provide support for mentors, MT CAHN produced an interactive continuing education workshop called “The Art of Mentoring in Nursing.” This workshop describes the process of mentoring and focuses on interactions between the mentor and mentee. Additionally, Montana is piloting an online course for preceptors scheduled to work with students enrolled in two RN to BSN courses. These modules will be offered to cohorts of preceptors working with different programs throughout the state.

  5. New Mexico

    The New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) is a collaborative of every state-funded nursing program across the state. The consortium has created a statewide curriculum in nursing that provides a direct path for students to receive a baccalaureate degree through their hometown community college or their local university expanding this opportunity throughout the state.


    The New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) Model is implementing and evaluating a statewide nursing education plan in New Mexico with an overarching goal to increase the educational preparation and diversity of the nursing workforce. The three goals of this project are to increase 1) the number of BSN and graduate educated nurses in New Mexico, 2) the number of under-represented minority nurses in New Mexico with BSN or graduate degrees, and 3) employer demand for BSN-prepared nurses. Extensive data collection is underway to provide baseline data as well as measurements to meet these three goals.

    In a November 2013 press conference, Governor Susana Martinez announced the readiness of the statewide common nursing curriculum paving the way for seamless transfer throughout the state saving precious time and resources for students. The implementation of this concept and competency based common curriculum will be delivered through university and community college partnerships and will roll out throughout the state over the next few years. The first partnership between a community college and a university began classes in January 2014. The NMNEC student is dual-enrolled in an ADN and BSN program and upon graduation receives both degrees. This statewide program increases the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and increases the educational level of the nursing workforce, which is currently made up of 46 percent ADN-prepared*† RNs.

    The NMNEC partnerships create opportunities for underrepresented minority students from rural areas to achieve a BSN degree within their home communities. NMNEC is committed to educating a diverse nursing workforce that reflects the population demographics of the state. New Mexico’s focus on diversity is twofold: a short-term approach is recruitment and retaining underrepresented minority students. A long-term focus is to increase the number of underrepresented minority nurses earning BSN degrees and graduate degrees in nursing.

    The state’s first meeting of employer-partners was called by the New Mexico Action Coalition in October, 2013. Employers gained an understanding of the NMNEC-prepared nurse with conceptually-based training. They discussed the differences they will observe during preceptorships and the consistency of training the students will experience. This was the nurse-employers’ first opportunity to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of this statewide program as well as understand the timeline for rollout throughout the entire state.

  6. New York

    The demand for high quality patient care in New York State is increasing. Ensuring access to that care requires the rapid expansion of the number of baccalaureate prepared nurses who can work across health care settings.


    New York Academic Advancement in Nursing (APIN) project is increasing the number of RNs securing the baccalaureate degrees in the Empire State, thus facilitating achievement of the Institute of Medicine’s “80/20” recommendation. The project focuses on attracting high school graduates into nursing by offering a partnership in which applicants are admitted simultaneously to both an associate degree and a baccalaureate degree nursing program. Students maintain matriculation and reside at the senior college throughout all four years. They complete a foundational year of liberal arts and sciences at the senior college, followed by two years at the associate degree granting campus focusing on attaining clinical skills, and complete baccalaureate requirements in year four. Licensure is attainable at the conclusion of the third year. A collaborative with public and private sector colleges and practice partners has been created to implement this model in rural and urban areas of the state. Best practices will be shared, common marketing materials developed, and a standardized data collection methodology implemented.

  7. North Carolina

    North Carolina embraces nursing’s transformation, an imperative for the state’s health. The goal of improving health outcomes through a higher educated nursing workforce leads the transformation work.


    North Carolina Foundation for Nursing Excellence is increasing the number of baccalaureate educated nurses practicing in the state by expanding partnerships between community colleges and universities to implement a four-year dual admission while developing a seamless BSN curriculum through the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) project. APIN is helping to expand and sustain the RIBN model of dual enrollment and seamless progression four-year nursing education track between community colleges and universities. This option offers an economically feasible option for more students to achieve a BSN degree at the beginning of their nursing career, thereby expanding the pool of BSN-prepared nurses and the pipeline for future faculty and advanced practice nurses is in process. Project. Additionally, North Carolina is continuing to develop a uniform, statewide academic progression agreement between the public university and community college systems to promote educational advancement opportunities for RNs to complete BSN or higher degrees, while also promoting the diversification of the future workforce through RIBN expansion to create a workforce more representative of the communities being served.

    Project expansion continues with momentum surpassing all expectations. The project now includes eight regional partnerships anchored by eight universities that are aligned with 26 private and community college associate degree nursing programs. With the inaugural cohort on target to complete year 4 and their BSN spring 2014, total enrollment is approaching 200 students and diversity enrollments are trending toward regional demographics. Seamless transition to practice plan development is a current focus as the second cohort in year 3 is on target to graduate, become licensed as a registered nurse and move into the final year of the RIBN pathway Spring 2014. Aligning their transition to employment clinical experience with a supportive clinical practice site in final semester of year 3 will facilitate a successful transition during the most vulnerable period of their RIBN journey.

  8. Texas

    Regulators, legislators and nursing leaders are increasingly concerned about the barriers to academic progression in Texas. Our APIN project aims to address these challenges to create a more educated and diverse Texas nursing workforce to meet current and future health care needs.


    The Texas Nurses Foundation and Texas Team Action Coalition have developed the Consortium to Advance Baccalaureate Nursing Education in Texas (CABNET), a multi-focused statewide model to assist all RN to BSN programs in the state to increase the number of associate degree prepared nurses graduating each year from 1,826 in AY2010- 2011 to 4,200 in AY2013-2014, a 230 percent increase. Statewide commitment to achieve the grant goals has been generated from both education and practice sectors, while implementation of the model’s shared statewide competency-based curriculum at the associate degree level is already demonstrating success through 1+2+1 community college and university partnerships. Texas will implement and track the progress of the CABNET model, and the grant team also will evaluate quantitative and qualitative measures through data analysis, using statistical methods or qualitative analysis methods as appropriate. The Texas APIN Team has developed an ethnic and gender diversity mentorship program that assists RNs to obtain their BSN in eight regions of Texas. Diversity Champions and mentors are tasked with engaging students in all regions to confront their barriers in order to pursue higher degrees. Diversity scholarships have been donated to APIN and all nursing scholarships are compiled on our website,

  9. Washington

    Health care for Washington state residents across our diverse regions is changing. Well educated nurses are key to providing quality care. Our goal is to the increase the number and diversity of nurses with higher degrees in order to meet the needs of our people.


    The Washington Center for Nursing’s (WCN) Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) grant is focused on developing a streamlined pathway to a BSN through shared competencies, reduction in curricular variation, supportive systems for minority students, and direct transfer agreements between community colleges and universities.

    Since 2012, WCN’s program has helped fund four new RN to BSN programs in the state: Saint Martin’s University (Lacey), Bellevue College (Bellevue), Western Washington University (Bellingham) and Wenatchee Valley College (Wenatchee).

    After assembling nurses for two “Safe Table” forums in Spokane and Seattle, the APIN-WA team produced a briefing paper, “Moving from ADN to BSN: What Works for Washington RNs?” that describes incentives and barriers for Washington RNs pursuing a BSN.

    To identify best practices for the recruitment, retention, and graduation of current and future minority BSN students, WCN launched a yearlong Diversity Mentoring Program pilot. Seasoned nurses are working with minority nursing students and novice nurses to help support them as they navigate the first few years of the profession. The pilot will undergo evaluation in summer 2014, and the program will launch in the fall.

    As a result of solid nursing leadership and interprofessional collaboration, Washington’s community and technical college system and four-year universities have reached a landmark agreement to create a new statewide associate in nursing transfer agreement that standardizes the way credits are awarded and accepted between and among Washington’s community and technical colleges and four-year universities. The community and technical colleges that plan to make use of the agreement are now working to ensure their programs align to the new transfer pathway.

    Through the implementation of these activities, the program is working to increase the number of nurses working in Washington with a BSN from 55 to 80 percent by 2020 and ensure that the nursing workforce better reflects the rich diversity of the state’s population. For more information, please visit