Sacred Heart University’s nursing program just got a bit larger.
The Fairfield-based university announced that it’s finalized its merger with St. Vincent’s College and will be assuming operation of the two-year nursing school and its programs. The school is now being called St. Vincent’s College at Sacred Heart University and promises to add new program offerings and expand existing education pathways.
St. Vincent’s College has been around for 115 years, graduating 4,500 students in that time.
“Sacred Heart University and St. Vincent’s College are two institutions with a strong Catholic identity and similar missions and core values, and we are confident that joining together will benefit the students in both programs,” said SHU President John Petillo in a press release.
SVC’s associates of science degree in nursing and radiography programs along with other certification tracks have been transferred to Sacred Heart. According to SHU, the school will be expanding program offerings to include areas of study that will make graduates more competitive to prospective employers.
The agreement will also allow St. Vincent’s students to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sacred Heart while expanding access to inpatient clinical sites, considered a crucial component to the nursing programs.
Both serve as benefits toward meeting the growing needs within the nursing field.
While Saint Vincent’s will keep a presence in its current Bridgeport facilities, it’s expected the school will move to SHU’s main campus after two years. SHU has around 270 students slated for the fall semester while SVC’s programs will have roughly 300.
SHU Spokesperson Deborah Noack said in an email to Hearst Connecticut Media that the merger is in response to growing trends in the from the nursing workforce.
“The Institute of Medicine is recommending — and some states are insisting — that nurses with an associate’s degree earn a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of entering the work force,” she said.
Health care and social assistance continue to be one of Connecticut’s, and the nation’s, fastest-growing job markets, but hospitals report a continuing struggle to meet the demand for trained nurses. That task has fallen in large part on local colleges and universities, which are looking to graduate as many nurses as possible.
At the same time, many of the nursing programs in the state are regularly at capacity with an overflow of applicants annually. Hospitals and medical centers are also raising the bar on education requirements for nurses.
While hospitals are still accepting registered nurses with associates degrees, Elizabeth Beaudin, senior director of population health for the Connecticut Hospital Association, said employers are starting to ask nurses to complete bacehelor’s programs after hiring them.Read Full Article
“For many years the community colleges in Connecticut have worked on articulation plans for students to start in a two-year school and then go into a four-year college,” Beaudin said. “Lots of associates programs want to help their students have a means and (preparation) to go to the next level of their careers.”
Now, two-year institutions like St. Vincent’s College and the former Bridgeport Hospital nursing school have begun transfer their programming and faculty to schools like SHU and the University of Bridgeport, respectively.
Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing, which was limited to an associate’s degree level, became a part of UB’s Health Sciences program in fall of 2015 in response to rising demand for nursing candidates to graduate with baccalaureate degrees.
“They want to promote opportunities for their students and make sure that they have good opportunities for robust and advanced education so they can move forward in their careers,” Beaudin added.