The Westminster College School of Nursing will launch its inaugural program in Fall Semester 2017 in a collaborative agreement with the UPMC’s Jameson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in New Castle, leading to both a nursing diploma and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree in the new four-year program.

First-year students will take pre-nursing and liberal arts courses at Westminster and matriculate to UPMC Jameson’s School of Nursing. For years two and three, students will follow the UPMC Jameson program while earning credits at Westminster toward the BSN degree. At the completion of the UPMC Jameson program, students will test for the licensing examination for registered nurse (RN) licensure. During the fourth year students will complete higher level nursing courses at Westminster to earn the BSN.

“The bachelor’s degree in nursing is now considered the gold standard for entry into nursing practice within health care,” said Tricia Ryan, newly appointed School of Nursing director at Westminster. “With the collaboration between Westminster College and UPMC Jameson’s School of Nursing, our students will experience the ‘best of both worlds’ in nursing education with this brilliant combination of nursing and the liberal arts.”

“The health care needs of the communities in and surrounding New Wilmington and New Castle are diverse and unique in many ways and provide rich opportunities for these future nurses to develop specialized skills to serve patients in rural areas,” said Linda Kmetz, PhD, executive director of UPMC Schools of Nursing and director of UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing. “During their time at UPMC Jameson School of Nursing, students will have rare opportunities to study and gain practical experience in telemedicine, behavioral health, obstetrics, pediatrics and Amish health customs and practices, in addition to rural medicine.”

Other highlights of the partnership include opportunities for students to study Spanish medical language; a nursing licensure exam pass rate of current UPMC Jameson students that is consistently above the national average; a strong pipeline to nursing positions in home care, primary care offices, in case management and in traditional settings at UPMC’s community hospitals including Horizon, Hamot and Jameson; and opportunities to experience global health through Westminster’s mission programs in the Dominican Republic.