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The Voice

Nursing news, changes, and concerns

Some students and faculty have produced concerns for the current state of the nursing department, with visions unclear and the future unpredictable as there are continuous changes over the years. The nursing department of the Bloomsburg campus, even before it was Commonwealth University, held a high-standard reputation and a competitive atmosphere for incoming nursing students.

A department rebrand

Kimberly Olszewski, Senior Associate Dean of the Breiner School of Nursing stated, “Due to the size of the nursing program with integration of the three campuses, the program was elevated to a School of Nursing.  The School of Nursing is now housed under the new College of Health Professions, and the School is led by a Sr. Associate Dean. This organizational structure allows for the opportunity for nursing students to be educated and trained in an interprofessional educational environment with other health related majors, such as medical imaging and communication disorders.”

The program has officially rebranded to the Breiner School of Nursing following a donation from Ed and Julie Breiner, a pair of 1977 graduates of the CU legacy institution of Bloomsburg University. The donation was for $5 million. Olszewski said, “The administration is working with Strategic Communications and Marketing on branding and marking initiatives surrounding the newly named Breiner School of Nursing.” The plan for the donation, or “gift”, will support new program development, course resources for implementing competency-based education, and faculty/student scholarships.

The curriculum reform for the “Breiner School of Nursing” is nearly complete to be put into effect in the fall of 2024. With instilling new resources that will open in the fall of 2025, the curriculum is innovative and goes above and beyond the requirements advised. It also satisfies the mandatory requirements for the Next Generation NCLEX State Board of Nursing Testing, which was imposed in April of 2023, says Olszewski.

Rumors and student concerns

In the fall semester, an issue occurred during a Senior Level nursing exam. Rumors were spread that nursing students staged a “walk-out” and did not complete the exam. The issue was a repetition of prior questions in the middle of the exam and the faculty worked on investing the cause. “Students did not stage a “walk-out”, but rather left the room because of the uncertainty.  The course faculty worked with IT to determine the glitch that occurred in Brightspace to cause this issue.  The issue was resolved and the questions that were duplicated were dropped,” Olszewski confirimed.

Changes being made

There have been numerous overall changes throughout the Breiner School of Nursing. The department has been transforming throughout its 40 year history, “Changes in curriculum, clinical experiences, and clinical partners have been appreciated throughout the years,” Olszewski stated. The repeated changes that the nursing department has gone through with the clinical partners is due to the highly competitive market for partners between different universities. Many of these clinical specialties are highly coveted by universities, which causes turnover for all involved. This turnover can be beneficial however, the ability for the University to be exposed to multiple clinical partners allows them to gain more information from a wider variety of professionals instead of stagnant information from a single source.

The growth of the nursing schoolhas been quite rapid especially with starting two new programs within the past year. The school of nursing’s rapid growth causes a need for high quality employees. According to Olszewski, this can be challenging “Like any academic major, there are challenges of hiring credentialed faculty to teach within the program, and the purchasing of equipment and tools to remain innovative in the nursing academic space”. These investments hope to improve the quality of education that is offered at the Bloomsburg campus.

The Breiner School of Nursing is working to revise the curriculum that is offered on the Bloomsburg campus. The department is in the final stages of implementing a new curriculum as mandated for the Next Generation NCLEX State board of Nursing Testing that was mandated as of early 2023. Looking forward, a $1 million simulation lab is scheduled to debut on the Bloomsburg campus in the fall of 2025, providing nursing students with cutting-edge capabilities for practical study.

As the University continues to try and improve throughout the campuses, they do seem to have an emphasis on the Breiner School of Nursing on the Bloomsburg campus. These advances will also help those on other campuses that may be taught by professors in Bloomsburg. Throughout their 40 year history, the ever changing Nursing Department attempts to be ahead of the curve of the healthcare field.

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Sydney Stokes, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Carly Busfield, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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