Submitted by Nina M. Riccio on March 15, 2012

Partnerships with institutions offering associate degrees in nursing have long been the norm at Fairfield; such partnerships make it easier for those completing an associate degree to seamlessly transition to Fairfield to earn their BSN.

Now, Fairfield University has added Bridgeport Hospital as a new partner, joining other area two-year colleges.

“These partnerships encourage RNs to come here to earn their BSN degree while working,” says Carole Pomarico, assistant professor of nursing. “Unlike other area BSN programs, ours is a hybrid, allowing students to take some classes online if that suits their needs, while scheduling the majority of nursing in the classroom so students benefit from relationships with other students and can network with faculty.”  Fairfield is also known for its commitment to individualized advisement, so students have the opportunity to devise a customized program that best meets their needs and goals.

Partnerships like these which guarantee admission to Fairfield University upon completion of the ADN are important to helping nurses meet the standards set forth by the 2010 IOM Future of Nursing Report, which urges all nurses to have a bachelor’s degree by 2020. “We partnered with these institutions because of the quality of their programs, and continue because of the past success of their graduates in our program,” says Pomarico.

For new nurses, the bachelor’s is essential. “Younger nurses are just not getting hired into acute care in Connecticut without a bachelor’s degree anymore,” says Pomarico.

It’s not at all unusual for those in the RN-BSN program to continue on to the master’s level, says Pomarico. In fact, Fairfield’s first DNP graduating class boasts one student, Nancy Andrews, who initially came to Fairfield for her BSN from a partnership school. She finished that in 2010, and “was thrilled when Fairfield began the DNP,” she says. “I always wanted to be a nurse practitioner, and I went right to the information session when I heard about it. I think I may have been one of the first to enroll.”

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