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NU expands nursing program to include B.S., accelerated B.S.

by jmaloni
Tue, Oct 11th 2011 10:25 am

Nursing is back in a big way at Niagara University. As a Catholic and Vincentian institution, Niagara is pleased to announce that it has received formal approval from the New York State Department of Education to offer two new nursing programs, a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and an accelerated B.S. in nursing.

The four-year program will provide a major in nursing to students entering NU as freshmen or transfer students without any specialized nursing background.

Meanwhile, the accelerated program admits those already holding a bachelor's degree or higher, and enrolls them in nursing courses on a concentrated, full-time track. The accelerated program may be completed within a 12-month timeframe.

The curricula for the new programs have been developed following guidelines published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the New York State Council of Deans and the most recent Institute of Medicine report on nursing competencies.

The programs will be offered through the Department of Nursing, part of NU's College of Arts and Sciences. The four-year track will commence in fall 2012 while the accelerated program will begin in May.

Since 2006, Niagara has offered a nursing degree completion program that caters to students who are already registered nurses. The new B.S. programs have been designed to build upon the resources already in place and in response to the critical shortage of nursing professionals that is projected to continue well into the future.

"We are thrilled to expand the diversity of programs that we are able to offer to those special people who are interested in pursuing nursing careers," said the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of Niagara University. "Niagara possesses an extensive history of excellence in educating nurses, and nursing is a program that aligns directly with our mission of serving those most in need.

Nursing at Niagara dates back to the establishment of its College of Nursing in 1946. The college graduated more than 3,500 professional nurses before closing in 2002 due to a steep decline in market demand for nurses. Graduates of the College of Nursing have maintained very close ties to the university, forming an alumni council and assisting with the implementation of the degree completion program, which was accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2008.

A 2009 survey of NU's nursing degree completion program graduates found that 100 percent are employed, currently earning salaries that range from $50,000 to more than $70,000.

Additionally, the department has established a strong relationship with Catholic Health, a non-profit health care system that provides care to Western New Yorkers through a network of hospitals, primary care centers and other facilities. Catholic Health currently sponsors a cohort of 24 nursing staff members in the degree completion program, with a second cohort of 30 students planned to start in January 2012.

"The demand for nursing education in Western New York is at an all-time high," stated Dr. Fran Crosby, a 1967 Niagara University graduate who chairs the Department of Nursing. "Niagara's reputation and the loyalty of its alumni body have served it well, especially once the RN-to-B.S. program opened in 2006. Since word of the state's approval began to trickle out, we have been really impressed with the quality of nurses who have indicated interest in faculty positions and are looking forward to this expansion."

For more information, contact Crosby at 716-286-8155 or [email protected].

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