Rutgers Plans a School of Nursing

Rutgers Plans a School of Nursing

The Philadelphia Inquirer

September 10, 2009

To respond to a shortage of nurses regionally and nationally, Rutgers University-Camden yesterday announced plans to start a school of nursing on its campus next school year.

The campus already has an upper-division nursing major and department within its College of Arts and Sciences, with about 80 students enrolled.

Creating a separate school, which must be approved by the university board and the state, will let the program grow to 345 students, add faculty and a dean, and expand offerings, officials said.

It would be the fourth school at the campus, in addition to law, business, and arts and sciences. And it will help the 6,179-student campus achieve its goal of growth, officials said.

“This announcement signals Rutgers’ full commitment to advancing nursing education — and, indeed, the overall quality of health care — in southern New Jersey,” university president Richard L. McCormick said yesterday. “We look forward to working closely with hospitals and other health-care agencies throughout the region as we build a school that addresses the needs of their vital profession.”

Officials at Cooper University Hospital in Camden praised the move.

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“This proposed new school should help to address the critical shortage in the field of nursing that is being projected,” said John P. Sheridan Jr., president and CEO.

Nationally, the nursing shortage is expected to grow to 260,000 positions by 2025, university officials said, citing statistics from the July/August issue of Health Affairs.

“We have a growing and aging population in South Jersey. We expect we will be at the norm, if not ahead of it,” said Wendell Pritchett, chancellor of the Camden campus.

Rutgers-Camden officials plan to take the proposal to the university’s board of governors this fall and then seek approval from the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Pritchett said he doesn’t expect any snags.

“In this case, there really isn’t much duplication of programs,” he said.

Rutgers-Camden is one of only two institutions south of Trenton that grants baccalaureate and advanced degrees in nursing, the other being Richard Stockton College, Pritchett said.

Within two years, the university plans to add a master’s program in nursing, and then a doctoral path within three to four years, Pritchett said.

Graduate nursing programs are planned in the clinical specialities most needed in the region, including clinical nursing practice in community health settings and home care. The doctoral program will turn out “top-tier nurse scientists and scholars,” helping to address the shortage of nursing professors, officials said.

© YellowBrix 2009

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