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School of Nursing Announces Major Expansion to Double Capacity

New $7.8 Million Education Wing Part of $13.3 Million Capital Campaign

Sunday, March 28, 2004

The University of Rochester School of Nursing is unveiling plans for the largest expansion in its 75-year history. A 19,500-square-foot expansion will create the new, $7.8 million Loretta C. Ford Education Wing, which will help the School increase its student enrollment by 60%.

The improvements will include a high-tech auditorium, along with the latest in education innovations: facilities for wireless computing, distance learning, and laptop docking stations.

The Accelerated Nursing Program, which enables people with Bachelor’s degrees to become nurses in as little as one year, will double in capacity, to 100 students. Many of these students are displaced workers looking to enter a profession in huge demand. In the first year of enrollment in 2002, students came from backgrounds in the computer industry, engineering, business, health care and other professions

            Groundbreaking will begin in October 2004. The new wing is expected to be completed in late summer 2005.

The School’s expansion is a direct response to the national nursing shortage, which is projected to worsen. Right now, there are 126,000 nursing vacancies nationwide. By 2008, estimates project a shortage of 575,000 nurses. Many nursing programs have had to turn away qualified applicants because of capacity restraints. A widely reported study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association linked a lack of nurses in hospitals to a 14% increase in mortality among patients.

The expansion also means new jobs at the School. Ten new faculty members will be hired, which helps address a related shortage of qualified nursing faculty to educate nurses. In 2003, U.S. nursing schools turned away 18,105  qualified applicants because the schools didn’t have enough faculty to teach.

A capital campaign is underway to raise $13.3 million for the expansion and to help fund new centers at the School, including the Center for Nursing Entrepreneurship and the Center for Aging. The new wing’s namesake, Loretta C. Ford, was the School’s first dean and is world renowned for co-inventing the role of Nurse Practitioner, which has changed the way nursing care is delivered. She is an outspoken advocate for the vital role nurses play in health care.

The capital campaign also will help fund scholarships, faculty chairs, additional renovations to the existing Helen Wood Hall building that houses the School of Nursing, community nursing programs and several research and practice centers within the School.

One center, the new Center for Nursing Entrepreneurship, will provide seed funding for startup businesses related to nursing. The first such business, Health CheckPoint, allows employees to check their health conditions on site at their place of employment and establish routines to improve their health. Remote computer technology connects the medical tests to a health-monitoring center, where RNs and other clinicians check results and advise as needed.

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