For BWH nurses, lifelong learning is not an option — it’s the very foundation of their nursing practice. This commitment to scholarship is present in a variety of settings from the bedside, during team huddles, and in conferences, classrooms and simulation labs. The Department of Nursing has encouraged and supported educational advancement through two successful academic partnerships managed through the Center for Nursing Excellence by Patrice Nicholas, DNSc, DHL (Hon.), MPH, MS, RN, ANP, FAAN, director of Global Health and Academic Partnerships.
In the spring of 2009, BWH and Emmanuel College launched a program designed for BWH nurses interested in obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) while continuing to work full- or part-time. Among the unique features of this joint venture are onsite classes at BWH taught by Emmanuel professors, a direct tuition payment program in which nurses’ professional development funds can be used to pay Emmanuel College directly and a supportive cohort environment with fellow students who are clinical peers from BWH.
“I was hoping the BWH-Emmanuel program would reinvigorate the love I have for my profession, and it did that and so much more,” said Karen Brownell Lewis, BSN, RN, a clinical nurse in the Emergency Department, who graduated with a BSN in May 2015 alongside 14 other colleagues. “Not only did I learn about topics in nursing but I will take lifelong lessons with me.”
Around the same time, a similar academic partnership was established between BWH and Regis College. Whereas the BWH-Emmanuel partnership was initially a BSN degree program, BWH’s partnership with Regis offered nurses a master’s level track. Today, both academic partnerships provide BWH nurses with the opportunity to pursue either a BSN or MSN and master’s students can choose from a variety of concentration areas.
Beth Baldwin, MSN, MHA, RN, program director of Nursing Informatics at BWH, Regis alumna and ambassador for the BWH-Regis academic partnership, attributes the program’s success to support from nurse directors: “They accommodate scheduling needs whenever possible so that nurses are able to balance their responsibilities at work, school and home.”
Nadia Raymond, MSN, MHA, RN, a BWH Float Pool nurse who completed her master’s degree at Regis in May 2015, echoed that sentiment about her nurse director, Cathy Rumble Paccioretti, MS, RN: “I could not have done it without her tremendous support and flexibility.”
One final factor that draws BWH nurses to both programs is that they are designed for adult learners.
“The fear and anxiety associated with going back to college after a 16-year break were extremely overwhelming for me,” said Anthony Bianco, BSN, RN, a clinical nurse in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit who is taking courses toward an advanced degree through the BWH-Regis program. “The fact that there is a longstanding relationship between Regis and BWH helped me overcome this anxiety and focus on advancing my education.”
For more information on these programs, visit the Nursing Administration Suite on Tower 1.