Catholic Health and NU Nurses Work Together
November 23, 2010
Local Nurses from Catholic Health and NU’s Nursing Department Represented at Prestigious RWJF Conference
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, widely recognized for its leadership in health care and nursing initiatives, in collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs, recently convened a conference in Virginia, “Enhancing Nursing Undergraduate Teaching and Learning in the Clinical Setting: What Do We Know and How Do We Move Forward?” This national conference focused on nursing education with emphasis on creative approaches in a time of shortage of faculty, clinical settings and increased demand for more nurses.
Western New York was well represented. A poster presentation entitled Catholic Health/Niagara University RN to BS Nursing Collaborativehighlighted the recent partnership between the two organizations. The partnership was launched to enable registered nurses to advance their education. Catholic Health and NU joined forces to offer a flexible schedule which accommodates the busy life of a working professional nurse. The poster was created and presented by M.K. Vause, who is the nurse education specialist for Catholic Health, A.M. MacIsaac and C. Jozwiak Shields, faculty, and F. Crosby, Chairperson of NU’s Nursing Department.
A cohort of 25 nurses began Niagara’s RN to BS nursing program in January 2010. Barriers of cost and accessibility were eliminated when Catholic Health agreed to cover tuition, books, fees and a laptop computer. A rigorous selection process was designed to maximize each nurse’s success. Commitment was made to adjust the nurses’ work schedules in order to secure time needed to attend classes. Niagara agreed to hold classes on a single day, primarily at a location convenient to the nurses. This was supplemented with several online classes.
Catholic Health viewed this educational opportunity as a way to invest in its future. With the impending shortage of nurses and predicted demand for increased services as a result of health care reform, it was time to support a strategy for preparing its next generation of nurse leaders. As the nurse scholars begin their final internship course, Catholic Health will reap the rewards of their investment. In this final capstone course, nurses incorporate all of their recent learning into conducting a project to improve quality and safety of patient care in the clinical arena within the system. They will be guided in this effort by an NU Nursing faculty member and an experienced Catholic Health nurse preceptor, in preparing and presenting executive summary to the Catholic Health leadership team.
As of this date (Dec. 13, 2010), the nurses in the first cohort have completed about half of the program. They have experienced the rigor of working, studying, attending classes, and tending to their families. Coupled with their own hard work and commitment and the support forthcoming from the Catholic Health/NU partnership, the students have been successful in their progression toward their degree. This creative model exemplifies an effective approach to aligning industry and academia to address the future of the health care delivery system and the nursing profession.