UNMC implementing twice-yearly admissions in 2024


UNMC College of Nursing – Kearney Division. Photo by Kolton Maturey / Antelope Staff


Beginning in January 2024, the UNMC College of Nursing – Kearney Division will start offering twice-yearly admissions. 

This opportunity for nursing students to be admitted two times a year is in response to the lack of nurses currently employed in Nebraska. 

“It will graduate more nurses to be solutions to the nursing shortage in Nebraska, and particularly to the rural parts of the state,” said Julie Sebastian, the dean of UNMC College of Nursing. “I mean, they can walk into jobs right now because nurses are so desperately needed.”

The change in admission is expected to help employers with the flood of new graduates that historically graduated only in the spring semester.

“There are a lot of graduates in the market come May, so employers have to hurry to hire everybody at that point in time,” Sebastian said. “Which is a lot of pressure on orientation and preceptors in hospitals.”

The two-time admission would assist preceptors — experienced, licensed clinicians who supervise nursing students.

 “If they (employers) can do that twice a year, then it spreads everything out,” Sebastian said. “The number of people the preceptors are working with is different, the activities associated with recruiting, hiring, and onboarding are relatively stable throughout the course of the year then.”

In previous years, the only students being admitted in January were the ones that were a part of the accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. The students in this accelerated, 12-month program would graduate in December. While it does yield some graduates during the fall semester, this program is smaller than the traditional one.

In a couple of years, the goal is to increase the size of both graduation cycles — fall and spring. 

“By January of 2026, our goal is to have spring enrollment expanded to 44 students,” Sebastian said. “Once it gets fully implemented, we will graduate almost 60% more graduates than what we’re currently graduating right now.”

Before changing the program to offer twice-yearly admissions, UNMC is beginning preparations to make the transition easier for next year’s students.

“Our new building will not be open until August of 2025, so we’re looking at classroom space and collaborating with UNK to see what rooms we can work in,” said Cathrin Carithers, the assistant dean for the UNMC College of Nursing – Kearney Division. “We are hiring three new faculty to accommodate the increased class size, and working with our clinical partners to identify what our needs are for each semester and for our students.”

Carithers believes this new process will help many people, specifically students looking to continue their education.

“Students today are facing a lot of challenges, more than I think we did,” Carithers said.  “…With having to work, caring for family members and many different stressors, it allows students to progress through the program of study and reduces barriers for them at their own speed,” Carithers said.