University partners with Atlantic Health System to introduce a new academic program that addresses the critical regional and nationwide need for nurses with advanced training.
Hackettstown, N.J., June 27, 2022—The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the increasing demand for nurses with bachelor’s degrees in New Jersey and across the nation. Responding to this challenge, Centenary University is partnering with Atlantic Health System to introduce a new academic program that creates a pathway for registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Through the new 30-credit RN to BSN program, licensed RNs can enroll at Centenary to complete the requirements necessary to attain a BSN. The program is designed to assist nurses to adapt to rapidly evolving medical technologies and the complexity of the healthcare system, said Craig Fuller, Ph.D., assistant professor of health science and director of Centenary University’s health sciences and medical laboratory science programs.
“As a result of the pandemic, we’ve witnessed firsthand the increasing demand for nurses across the nation,” Dr. Fuller explained. “Nurses with bachelor’s degrees are highly sought after to step into leadership roles at healthcare institutions. We need well-trained professionals with strong analytical and leadership skills, who can think critically and react with empathy to the emerging healthcare needs faced by our nation.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nurses is projected to increase 7 percent over the next decade. The average age of U.S. nurses was 50 in 2020, with an average retirement age of 62, as reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. In addition, pandemic fatigue has caused many nurses to depart the field. Centenary University and Atlantic Health System have a shared commitment to addressing this critical need.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important to promote community partnerships between respected institutions like Atlantic Health System and Centenary University,” said Trish O’Keefe, Ph.D., RN, president of Morristown Medical Center and senior vice president and chief nurse executive of Atlantic Health System.
Through our shared philosophy regarding education, advancement, and diversity, this partnership will prepare nurses to meet the healthcare needs of our community, in the present and the future.
The new RN to BSN program is the latest in a series of new healthcare degrees and concentrations at Centenary. Under Dr. Fuller’s direction, the University now has programs in medical laboratory science, health science, public health, and exercise science. President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., noted that partnerships with industry leaders such as Atlantic Health System ensure that the University’s educational offerings are highly relevant: “We’re extremely fortunate to partner with Atlantic Health System on this new RN to BSN program and help to address the ongoing need for highly-educated nurses in northwestern New Jersey and beyond. This program is one of several ways Centenary University and Atlantic Health System are partnering to improve healthcare in our community.”
The new RN to BSN program has begun enrolling students for the fall 2023 semester. For more information, click here.
Photo 1: From left, Ophelia Byers, DNP, RN, APRN, chief nursing officer at Overlook Medical Center; Ginell Walker-Way, BSN, MAS, MBA, interim chief nursing officer at Chilton Medical Center; Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., president of Centenary University; Trish O’Keefe, Ph.D., RN, president of Morristown Medical Center and senior vice president and chief nurse executive of Atlantic Health System; Donna Watridge, RN, BSN, MBA, CCRN-K, chief nursing officer at Hackettstown Medical Center and Newton Medical Center; Amy D’Olivo, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs at Centenary University; Mary Pat Sullivan, MSN, RN, CNS, director of nursing education and professional development at Atlantic Health System; and Brandee Fetherman, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, chief nursing officer at Morristown Medical Center.
Photo 2: From left, Craig Fuller, Ph.D., director of the medical laboratory and health sciences program at Centenary University and Lauren Bergey, Ph.D., dean of the School of Natural, Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences at Centenary University.
ABOUT CENTENARY UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township.