With interest in Niagara University's nursing programs booming, the institution is turning to one of its longtime partners to help it increase enrollment by offering additional clinical placements for accelerated students.
Beginning this summer, students in NU's accelerated B.S. program in nursing will have greater access to clinical rotations in the behavioral health unit at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. In addition, the university's students will be granted clinical opportunities in the area of community health when Memorial's new Golisano Center for Community Health Center opens next year. This is especially important with the current national emphasis on wellness, prevention and primary care.
Identifying clinical rotations for this unique group of students - who have already earned a bachelor's degree (or higher) in another major from an accredited university/college - had been a pressure point for the university, according to Fran Crosby, Ed.D., program director.
Due to the partnership, Niagara University expects to be able to increase capacity in its accelerated nursing cohort by 50 percent, from 20 students this year to 30 in 2016. NU received 83 applications for the program last fall.
"We are extremely grateful to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and President and CEO Joseph Ruffolo for helping us address this critical need for hands-on learning experiences, which is an essential element of nursing education," Crosby said.
"Educating, innovating and preparing today's workforce for tomorrow's health care careers are important parts of the DNA that shape Memorial's mission and vision," Ruffolo said. "We embrace this opportunity to expand this partnership - a partnership we cherish - with Niagara University."
Ruffolo noted that, in addition to coordinating clinical rotations for nursing students, Niagara University and Niagara Falls Memorial share a robust student internship program that offers hands-on opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students in a number of academic disciplines. They also collaborated on the design of the medical center's innovative Tenth Street Café and are currently working together on a patient satisfaction and customer service initiative.
Since re-establishing its cadre of nursing programs in 2012, Niagara University has enrolled 250 new nursing students. It offers three nursing programs: a traditional four-year B.S., an R.N.-to-B.S. track, and the accelerated curriculum.
Along with Niagara Falls Memorial, NU has relationships for student clinical rotation placements with several area health care facilities, including all of the Catholic Health System sites, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Kaleida Health, the Niagara County Health Department, Heart, Love and Soul soup kitchen and food pantry, and Brothers of Mercy.
The United States Department of Labor projects employment of registered nurses to grow 19 percent from 2012-22, faster than the average for all occupations. Thus, NU's expansion is timely in meeting present and future workforce demands for B.S.-prepared nurses.
The B.S. in nursing began at Niagara with the formation of a College of Nursing in 1946, when the education of nurses in a university setting was visionary and forward thinking.
For more on Niagara University's programs, visit www.niagara.edu/nursing or call 716-286-7358.