Tuesday, June 14, 2011
NEW BRUNSWICK – The creation of a comprehensive Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden was approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors during its regularly scheduled meeting at the Rutgers–New Brunswick Campus today.
The Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden will begin operation this summer, contingent upon the approval of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. The school will transform the existing Department of Nursing within the Rutgers–Camden College of Arts and Sciences into an academic unit that will develop master’s and doctoral programs while building upon Rutgers–Camden’s long-standing undergraduate program.
“There is a critical need throughout New Jersey, and especially in southern New Jersey, for high-caliber nursing education that combines a research-based curriculum with top clinical experiences,” says Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. “This announcement signals Rutgers’ full commitment to advancing nursing education – and, indeed, the overall quality of health care – in southern New Jersey. 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.”
The creation of the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden will address the overwhelming demand for a Rutgers baccalaureate nursing education in southern New Jersey through the expanded enrollment of 300 pre-licensure students and 150 registered nurse students over a six-year period. Graduate nursing programs are planned in targeted clinical specialties with functional minors that are most needed in the southern New Jersey region, including clinical nursing practice in community health settings and home care. A nursing PhD program also will be created to develop top-tier nurse scientists and scholars, thereby addressing a critical need for additional nursing professors in New Jersey and across the nation.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the United States is suffering from a severe shortage of nursing professionals, even as the “baby boomer” generation ages and colleges and universities struggle to expand enrollment. In the July/August 2009 issue of Health Affairs, Peter Buerhaus and coauthors found that the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025.
Rutgers–Camden currently enrolls approximately 6,400 undergraduate, master’s-level, and PhD students in the College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School, the School of Business, and the School of Law. The establishment of the Rutgers School of Nursing will promote innovative research and learning opportunities on the campus, explains Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett.
“Rutgers–Camden is home to southern New Jersey’s only law school and first internationally accredited business school, as well as the only nationally accredited public policy program in the Delaware Valley and the nation’s first doctoral program in childhood studies. As a result, the opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaborations will provide a unique and rich experience for Rutgers nursing students,” says Pritchett.
For decades, the undergraduate Rutgers–Camden nursing program has maintained a consistently high passage rate for the NCLEX exam, which is required for licensure as a registered nurse. During the past two years, the average passage rate for graduates of the Rutgers–Camden nursing program has been 91%. In fall 2010, Rutgers–Camden introduced a four-year undergraduate nursing program, which provides students with immediate immersion in the rich coursework and experiences typically offered later in the student’s education.
Recently, Rutgers–Camden updated its specialized RN-to-BSN program that allows registered nurses holding associate’s degrees or hospital nursing school diplomas to earn their baccalaureate degrees in order to remain competitive as hospitals and other health care agencies increasingly demand that nursing professionals hold the BSN degree. The Rutgers RN-to-BSN program is offered throughout southern New Jersey on the Rutgers–Camden Campus, at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, and at Camden County College in Blackwood.
Another updated offering is Rutgers–Camden’s school nurse certification program which matches today’s demand for these specialized nurses.
According to Joanne Robinson, chair of the nursing department, the important advantage Rutgers–Camden nursing students enjoy is access to the Rutgers research faculty who are nurse scientists and active leaders in the profession, which provides students with cutting-edge knowledge and exposure to the full range of challenges and career opportunities in nursing.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, also delivers high-quality nursing education through the Rutgers College of Nursing, which is based on the Rutgers–Newark Campus and offers programs on both the Newark and New Brunswick campuses.
The Rutgers–Camden nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the New Jersey State Board of Nursing.
Media Contact: Mike Sepanic