The state of the nursing department leaves students unsure of its future

Novalea Verno, Co-News Editor

Bloomsburg University’s nursing department is widely recognized as a leading accredited program in Pennsylvania. Despite this esteemed reputation, the program has found itself coming under much scrutiny since Bloomsburg’s merger with Mansfield and Lock Haven.

Rumors regarding the department’s future, or lack thereof, have made their way to students and supporters raising the alarm for many involved in the program. On one occasion, an unidentified professor shared with their class that the nursing department was possibly going to close due to a lack of staffing and improper class sizes. The comment sparked a frenzy that resulted in a non-mandatory meeting being held almost immediately after.

Kimberly Olszewski, the dean of the school of nursing, confirmed that several faculty members have retired in recent months, but assures students that the department is actively hiring “specialty[-]specific nursing faculty” to start in the fall.

“The nursing department is fully staffed, as it has been all year, to support all students across the 5 instructional sites where Commonwealth University students are having nursing courses,” said Olszewski.

Despite the promises given to students, many still feel unsure about how much the department can actually deliver. Their worry stems from what they’ve already witnessed in the last two semesters, specifically as clinical group sizes and class sizes increased after being told they would remain small in number.

The School of Nursing will be gaining a $2 million simulation center in the new McCormick renovation. The department believes this development will help students feel more confident about the nursing program’s future. Photo by Novalea Verno.

“This semester was really rough for the nursing department [f]rom issues getting into our clinicals to integration screwing us over. Many unpredictable and extraordinary outside problems hit the nursing department which took a toll on the faculty and the students,” said Cheyenne Holdren, a sophomore nursing major.

For students new to the nursing program, seeing these issues and how the department has been handling it has been frustrating.

“I really don’t like what they are doing. It is complicated and confusing enough as a nursing student…” said freshman nursing major, Christelle Belly

In the face of all these raised concerns, the nursing department remains confident in its ability to deliver on the experiences and education associated with the program’s distinguished legacy.

“The future of the nursing department is strong and certain. We are growing and not going anywhere,” said Jessica Bower, the chair of undergraduate nursing.