School of Nursing highlights current successes and future opportunities

December 04, 2023

Dean Larry Slater enthusiastically talking to a colleague in the North Haven Campus ceremonial court room

Quinnipiac’s first State of the School of Nursing address provided a comprehensive review of robust programs and accomplishments, and exciting plans for continued growth and development.

Dean of the School of Nursing Larry Slater shared his insights with faculty, administrators, students, alumni, community, and clinical partners during the inaugural address on December 1. Slater began his appointment as the school’s new dean in June.

“Visibility and transparency are critical, and that is one of the reasons for a state of the school report. For all of our stakeholders that were invited today, it is important to have that visibility and transparency if we are going to move forward with what we do,” said Slater.

Slater’s review recognized current successful strategies and improvements, and identified areas where the school can move forward with new initiatives and programming to continue to best prepare undergraduate and graduate students for rewarding careers in healthcare.

Quinnipiac’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Master of Science in Nursing program and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Many of the nursing programs also are endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.

Slater said the school’s mission to provide leadership in nursing and healthcare through innovative undergraduate and graduate education that embraces holism, interprofessionalism, and inclusivity creates an impressive foundation for future growth.

“We are starting from a great place, and now, collectively, we’re excited about what we can do moving forward,” said Slater.

The report reviewed areas including student statistics and numbers, faculty and staff, programs and curricula, diversity, budget and finance, gifts, grants and endowments.

Slater also provided an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and obstacles to success, as well as listing priorities for the 2024 academic and fiscal year.

Some impressive current statistics at the School of Nursing include a 98% graduate rate professional component, a 97.5% graduate employment rate six months after graduation (based on 2022 figures), and 87% of traditional and accelerated BSN graduates passing the NCLEX licensure examination on first attempt. In addition, over 300 clinical affiliation sites offer students practical experience.

The impact of COVID-19 creating declines in graduate enrollment was felt across all educational nursing institutions, including Quinnipiac, Slater noted. However, due to the foresight and proactive efforts of the School of Nursing team, lead by former Dean Lisa O’Connor, the school has rebounded quickly and is seeing continued improvement, he said. Despite COVID impacts, the school has maintained an average of 1,100 students over the last three years.

Slater also applauded O’Connor and her team for “skyrocketing” total gifts and grants received over the past five years to support the school’s faculty, staff, students and programs. Noting the total endowment value has more than doubled over the last five years, Slater said the school will endeavor to continue to accelerate its exponential growth.

Slater also discussed major curricula revisions in process. This includes the phasing out of some programs, and the exciting addition of others, such as the new acute care nurse practitioner program and mental healthcare nurse practitioner program. Additionally, the School of Nursing has revised its “essentials” programming to incorporate Level 1 (BSN and Accelerated BSN) and Level 2 (Master’s and Doctoral).

Existing online learning opportunities have recently grown with the addition of online nurse practitioner programs. These programs allow Quinnipiac to compete with the growth of online nurse practitioner programs throughout the country, and will help the school to increase enrollment, Slater said.

Slater also discussed immediate strategies for the 2024 academic and fiscal year which will prioritize growth opportunities in admissions, programs and curricula, and gifts and grants.

The coming months will also involve developing a new strategic planning process. Slater said the strategic planning will move the School of Nursing forward with continued new program development, building the school’s brand, identifying growth opportunities, and furthering areas of excellence to support student success and professionalism.

To help develop philanthropic directives and resources to foster continued growth, Slater is currently building a dean’s advisory council.

“This is going to be a critical visionary team going forward. It will be alumni, leaders in healthcare and leaders in industry coming together with me to think about how we can grow the School of Nursing,” said Slater.

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