Storrs, CT, January 04, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- In a step toward easing the nursing shortage in Connecticut, the recently approved expansion of UConn's full-time accelerated master's entry into nursing (MbEIN) program opens this weekend in Waterbury, the first of two regional campuses to which it is expanding (Stamford opens in 2009).
This is a critical effort, as Connecticut will face the second-highest shortage of registered nurses in the country by 2020, according to the Connecticut Hospital Association. Connecticut will be short 340,000 nurses.
"Anything we can do to add quality nurses into the work force, the better it is," said Carol Polifroni, Associate Dean of the School of Nursing. "Our main program began in Storrs in 2003, and we've never been able to meet the demand for seats within that curriculum."
The expansion is expected to bring 16 more nurses this year into the work force, and by 2009, the program is expecting 32 students. So far, the program will have graduated some 150 students.
"There's no other program in the country that can say that," Polifroni said, adding that the Department of Higher Education had lauded the program, calling it "a very good model." They have shown support by providing a grant to fund the program.
The program has attracted attention from applicants as well. Though the Storrs program admits only 32 students annually, the MbEIN program program receives approximately five times that number of applications.
The Waterbury and Stamford campuses were chosen for the expansion because of significant interest in the MbEIN program from the applicant pools in the western and southern portions of the state.
Ninth-semester nursing major Jessica Fraley thought the move would be good for people in other parts of the state, especially those who have families.
"It's hard for some people to travel to Storrs," she said. "Especially with the MbEIN program, it's not just [traditional] students."