Fairfield’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies is joining Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University, and Southern Connecticut State University for a groundbreaking partnership with Yale New Haven Health System.
FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS) recently announced a groundbreaking partnership with four local universities. Fairfield University, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University and Southern Connecticut State University all signed agreements to partner with YNHHS to help more qualified nursing student candidates become enrolled and subsequently employed.
Pictured: (Left to Right): Fairfield Egan Dean Meredith Wallace Kazer, Gateway Community College Division Director of Nursing and Allied Health Sheila Solernou, YNHHS Chief Nursing Executive Beth Beckman, YNHHS President Chris O’Connor, Quinnipiac University Dean School of Nursing Lisa O’Connor, Southern Connecticut Dean University College of Health and Human Services Sandra Bulmer.
Yale New Haven Health has had long standing partnerships with nursing schools around the state but after discussions not only about the need for nurses at the hospital but the desire of the universities to be able to accept more students, this formalized relationship was created. The collaboration creatively solves two big problems in nursing—the shortage of faculty to instruct and the large need for nurses in the healthcare workforce.
“This is a true partnership in every sense of the word,” said Beth Beckman, chief nursing officer, YNHHS. “We are solving for two main challenges—adequate student clinical placement and ample faculty to oversee their clinical learning. In this partnership, we intend to increase the pipeline of nurse graduates, with a special push to encourage more diverse candidates. We will make every effort to innovate solutions so that we no longer turn away qualified candidates who want to become a nurse.”
This partnership promises to graduate at least 557 additional nurses over the course of the next four years, in addition to those already enrolled. YNHHS is committing approximately $1.7 million over the next four years to the collaboration to provide scholarships and books to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend school.
“Fairfield’s Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies could not be more proud and excited to join Yale in this important partnership,” said Dean Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN. “Within this initiative, we will collaboratively engage in the next education of nurses to ensure high quality healthcare for the patients and families we are honored to serve.”
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Dean Kazer was working in partnership to find innovative ways to combat the nursing shortage that only worsened with Covid-19. She said, “We couldn’t have known back in 2019 that our nurses would bear witness to the deaths of almost a million individuals across the United States. We couldn’t have known that the pandemic would catapult the nursing shortage into a nursing and healthcare crisis.”
Universities including Fairfield Egan are experiencing an increased number of qualified students applying to nursing programs. “We weren’t sure how the pandemic would impact interest in the nursing profession. Nurses were heroes during this entire pandemic. We saw them masked up with goggles, working intense hours. We thought that may deter people from interest in the profession but it’s the opposite. People want to come and want to be nurses. It’s up to us to increase that educational capacity to ensure we have that opportunity to fill the pipeline and put more nurses into the profession.”
Fairfield University is a modern, Jesuit, Catholic University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools. In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.
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