School of Nursing Welcomes Inaugural Class

Students arrive with RN to pursue BSN degree

Photo: Mike Peters

This semester, Montclair State University has welcomed the first class of students to its newly opened School of Nursing. The 54 undergraduates, who already hold RN degrees from associate and diploma programs, are continuing their education in the School’s RN to BSN degree program. The first cohort consists of 53 women and one man, and is a diverse group, identifying as Hispanic, Asian, African American, Alaskan Native/American Indian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. They live in 38 different New Jersey towns as well as New York.

“The BSN is the preferred – or even required – degree for generalist nursing practice,” says School of Nursing Dean Janice Smolowitz. “Our program provides working RNs with a course of study that enables them to refine and enhance their current skillsets at a pace designed to meet their individual needs.”

Beginning in January, the students will study in the newly renovated, state-of-the-art Partridge Hall, complete with mediated classrooms, an anatomy lab, as well as nursing lab spaces with dedicated areas where students can develop skills in specific medical procedures. A virtual simulation area and high-fidelity patient simulators will foster students’ decision-making, problem solving and patient care skills.

The School plans to expand its offerings with a full BSN curriculum and to eventually roll out graduate degree programs, such as the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP) and PhD.

According to Smolowitz, the future looks bright for the School of Nursing’s first class. “Nationally, it’s projected that employment for RNs with BSN degrees will increase 16 percent by 2024, which is higher than the average for all other occupations,” she says.