Web site spotlight: College’s plan to phase out nursing program raises concerns

Nurse Leader Insider, May 11, 2009

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The State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz will say goodbye to 167 graduating nursing students over the next couple of years, and then, goodbye to its nursing program.

Due to a $6 million deficit under the state's recently-enacted budget, the university will phase out its nursing program by May 2011—when all currently enrolled students complete their course of studies. SUNY New Paltz announced it will also eliminate 70 jobs and delay admission for other education courses at the university.

According to an article in the university's student newspaper, The New Paltz Oracle, President Steven Poskanzer stated the program, which is offered only to licensed RNs or transfer students eligible for RN licensure, was "expensive" and had low enrollment. Poskanzer also wrote in a campus e-mail that SUNY New Paltz had "difficulty recruiting, retaining, and awarding tenure to fully credentialed nursing faculty."

Still nursing faculty and students are upset with the university's decision to cut the program that has been in place for 30 years—a decision that may limit nurses' opportunities to expand their knowledge in the profession and further complicate the nursing shortage.

"All faculty and students are disappointed and shocked. There is no justification for this," says Eleanor Richards, PhD, RN, associate professor and chair of SUNY New Paltz's nursing department. "Many of the graduates of the master's program are recruited upon graduation to teach at area community colleges and students enroll in our RN to BSN program from seven community colleges in the Hudson Valley."

Editor’s note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, “College’s plan to phase out nursing program raises concerns” featured in The Reading Room on HCPro’s online resource center,

Do you need continuing education (CE) credits? Check out this month’s CE article to find out how one health system lowered ventilator-associated pneumonia rates with an eICU or visit our archives and view a compilation of CE articles (marked with an asterisk).

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