The President’s View – Spring 2015
Nursing education at Norwich did not originate on the Hill; it began at Vermont College and became part of our academic offerings after the merger in 1972. And because caregiving is at the heart of Norwich’s guiding value of service before self, nursing fits in perfectly with our mission of producing “moral, patriotic, efficient, and useful citizens.”
Today our undergraduate Nursing School is housed within the College of Professional Schools—along with Architecture + Art, Business and Management, and the David Crawford School of Engineering—headed up by Dean Aron Temkin. Fully accredited at the highest standards by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the program offers a four-year, Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with an RN designation for those who pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses) administered by the Vermont State Board of Nursing.
Many of our nurses go on to serve in the armed forces. In fulfillment of the NU2019 strategic plan’s priority of internationalizing the campus, one of our goals is to graduate “global” nurses, in other words, nurses with multi-cultural experience. This past winter we sent two nursing students, along with our nursing program director, to the Philippines on the first of four NU VISIONS Abroad service-learning trips to that island nation. In the future we are looking to send larger contingents of nursing students overseas or to other parts of the United States for a summer or a semester, so that they can be exposed to more diverse patient populations.
At the graduate level, our online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is helping to meet the desperate need in this country for more nursing educators. Boosting this effort is a $250,000 federal grant administered by individual state nursing boards. These funds can be applied toward the repayment of student loans to our MSN graduates who go on to teach at an accredited nursing school upon graduation.
As president of Norwich, I have witnessed the grueling regimen nursing students subject themselves to while preparing for the NCLEX. And from a purely personal perspective, I have also witnessed how nurses take care of entire families during a prolonged, terminal illness. These experiences have taught me that the unique combination of caring, compassion, scientific knowledge, and practical and technical expertise required of those wishing to become nurses is unmatched in the professional realm. Perhaps that is why nursing students approach their studies with such passion and determination—they want to be nurses and only nurses, and nothing will stop them from reaching their goal.
Florence Nightingale said, “The progressive world is divided into two classes — those who take the best of what there is and enjoy it [and] those who wish for something better and try to create it.” The latter is what Alden Partridge did in 1819, and it is what Norwich nurses do every single day.
Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (Ret.)