Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) nursing graduates have diverse options to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. One popular option is the BSN program at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) because University nursing classes are offered on the NVCC Waterbury campus in close proximity to where many graduates live and work. The partnership between NVCC and WCSU has been highly successful throughout the fourteen-year collaboration. Dr. Eileen George, Director of Nursing and Allied Health at NVCC, said the success of the program hinges on the fact that students can take additional general education courses needed for the BSN and the nursing courses at a campus they know well and within minutes to the two city hospitals (Waterbury and St. Mary’s), where many graduates are employed.
The availability of conveniently located and affordable education is a winning combination for NVCC nursing graduates. The longstanding partnership has benefited many nursing graduates who must obtain the BSN credential to remain competitive in the current job market, particularly for those interested in jobs in acute care (hospital settings). WCSU offers an expeditious path to the BSN credential. We are proud of the past collaboration and even more excited about future opportunities with WCSU as the $44-million transformation of Founders Hall into a state-of-the-art facility to house the Center for Health Sciences proceeds. The new space will be fitted with new technology: simulated adult and infant mannequins, new audio visual equipment, computers, Smartboards, and an energized Radiologic Technology laboratory. Beginning in April 2015, construction will take the longer part of 18 to 24 months, to be completed in a single phase with the building being completed for the fall semester of 2017 at which time the NVCC and WCSU nursing students will share laboratory and classroom space, allowing students in both programs to interact.
Each year, WCSU hosts a Tea Time for senior-level students to discuss the RN to BSN program at WCSU. The most powerful recruitment tool is the opportunity for current senior-level students to meet and speak with NVCC graduates who have completed the BSN program. According to Dr. Barbara Piscopo, Professor of Nursing at WCSU, “Approximately 42% of the students enrolled in the RN to BS program at WCSU graduated from NVCC's nursing program and 23% of the students enrolled in the RN to BS program, who did not graduate from NVCC's nursing program, took a course or courses at NVCC at one time or another.” Dr. Joan Palladino (Chair, Dept. of Nursing) added that, “WCSU is committed to providing Connecticut with a baccalaureate prepared nursing workforces and is committed to working with the community colleges to meet the complex healthcare needs of individuals and families in CT. We are especially proud of our success in Waterbury and the partnership with NVCC.”
Karla Acuna (NVCC Class of 2007/WCSU Class of 2013) and Osarugue Otasowie (NVCC Class of 2010/WCSU Class of 2014) stated that they chose NVCC’s nursing program because of its excellent reputation in the community. Both graduates live in the Waterbury area and identified the fact that NVCC and WCSU are in close proximity to the community in which they live and work; this made the choice for them to continue their education at WCSU on the NVCC campus an easy one. Both Karla and Osarugue plan to pursue a Master of Science degree (MSN) in the near future. Karla plans to continue at WCSU for the MSN with a focus on the Clinical Nurse Specialist role and Osarugue is interested in dual Masters Degrees (MSN/MBA). Both are currently employed at St. Mary’s Hospital on a busy medical oncology unit, located minutes from campus, which made attainment of their professional and academic goals possible.
Dr. Piscopo stated, “WCSU has offered the RN to BS program on the NVCC campus for 14 years. We started with just over a handful of students and today we have over 100 enrollees. WCSU's commitment to the program and our constant presence in Waterbury and on the NVCC campus has contributed greatly to our success; however, our partnership with the Department of Nursing at NVCC has been THE key factor for our success. It has been a winning partnership for both schools, with students having benefitted the most.”