Memphis, Tenn. – Imagine becoming a nurse in just one year – with tuition and fees covered – and going to work at a guaranteed job upon graduation. This is reality for some Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing, thanks to an agreement with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

The agreement applies to students in the accelerated BSN option – a rigorous, 12-month program for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has agreed to cover the tuition and fees for students who successfully complete the program, if the students commit to working for the health care system for two years upon graduation.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and the UTHSC College of Nursing initiated their partnership one year ago, and the first graduates received their degrees in August and went to work. Methodist has extended its partnership with the college for the next three years – opening this opportunity to incoming students.

“This important collaboration allows our college to help fill the need for registered nurses in our community and enables our students to pursue their BSN degrees without the burden of financial worry or debt,” said College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAANP. “I am grateful for the efforts of the hospital system in making this partnership a reality.”

More than half of the accelerated BSN students who graduated from UTHSC in August benefited from the Methodist Le Bonheur Scholars program. “The MLH Scholars Initiative is an example of our commitment to developing the next generation of health care professionals,” said Nikki Polis, PhD, RN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. “The program covers tuition costs so nursing students can focus on their education. After graduation, program participants are employed within our nationally recognized health care system, with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our patients and families as well the prospect of fulfilling career growth.”

Even before graduation, Anne Marie Van Cleve of Covington, Tennessee, knew she would go to work for the Methodist University Cardiovascular Step-Down Unit. “It was extremely helpful to be a part of the MLH Scholars program because it allowed me to focus on school, instead of worrying about how I was going to pay for school,” she said. “I was excited to join the MLH Scholars program because it meant I had a guaranteed job at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, which was where I wanted to work after finishing nursing school.”

As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook:, on Twitter: and on Instagram:

Photo caption: These students are recent graduates from the UTHSC College of Nursing’s Accelerated BSN program, who are participating in the Methodist Le Bonheur Scholars program.