Today: Jun 25, 2024

Nursing school celebrates 50th anniversary

Haljit BasuljevicReporter

In light of their 50th year of educating students, the Nursing Program took a look back on their history of growth and achievement.

The celebratory anniversary will be hosted later this year.

Chairperson of the Nursing Program and professor Lisa Rebeschi, through email, stated this is an exciting time for the faculty and students.

Having been dubbed as one of the best programs at Southern, Rebeschi said what has remained the same for the nursing program throughout the years is the standard of “excellence in preparing the next generation of students.”

What began as one program with 14 students and three faculty members has evolved into one of the largest departments on campus, filled with students whom Rebeschi said are a “force to be reckoned with.”

In its current list of accomplishments, lies growth that yielded seven programs and 3,500 alumni.

“The biggest change is in the types of programs that we have,” said professor Susan Westrick, who said the Nursing Program has extended beyond traditional lecture rooms and into more innovative methods of teaching to ensure competence in a hypercompetitive field.

The program, according to Westrick uses labs and simulations more frequently.

She said, with these relatively new advancements, students are able to keep up an exciting pace where other schools are also seeing their enrollment numbers increase. She said for even undergraduate programs, the task has become much more complicated and complex for professors as a whole. No longer is it just preparing notes and lecturing.

She said she has been proud of what students from the program have gone on to do for their careers. Most notably, she said, many of the graduates have ended up prospering in administrative and leadership roles. She also said at least 20 percent of the staff are, or have been, graduates.

“We’re lucky in that way because the students really want to do this. It’s career focused, so they’re motivated, “ said Westrick. Rebeschi and Westrick both said physical space, which contains clinical placements and labs, remains limited and is a challenge the program faces.

Addressing this issue will be the new School of Health and Human Services building which, according to Westrick, has already broken ground.

The new building would also bridge the split between staff situated in both Jennings and the Nursing Classroom Building. Rebeschi added that she is involved in the program planning and building design and the building should be complete in a couple of years.

Westrick will act as co-chair for the anniversary event, which is prepared to host keynote speaker and early alumna, Leslie Mancuso.

“I have been privileged to work with some of the best students and faculty colleagues on the campus,” said Rebeschi.

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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