LHU to create a school of nursing

Expand nursing program to main campus

LOCK HAVEN — Given the increasing demand for nurses in an ever-evolving healthcare environment, Lock Haven University announced plans to expand its nursing programs to the main campus and establish a school of nursing.

The idea is influenced by current trends in healthcare, primarily the consolidation of major healthcare providers into large systems, which provide the groundwork to form mutually beneficial partnerships and pipelines for their workforce.

At a recent meeting of the Council of Trustees, the university presented a proposal and resolution to establish a Lock Haven University School of Nursing — an administrative structure that provides for managing the challenges and capturing the opportunities in the current environment.

The proposed organization puts in place managerial support that provides administrative benefit for both the Clearfield and Lock Haven campuses, brings nursing expertise to support the faculty in geographic and programmatic expansion and extends capacity for building industry partnerships and revenue generation.

Since 1991, Lock Haven University has provided comprehensive nursing education to students in the Clearfield region, when the university established the Clearfield Campus. The university took in the Central Pennsylvania School of Nursing, an Registered Nurse (RN) diploma program operated by a consortium of four Clearfield area hospitals, and converted it to a two-year associate degree program in nursing (ASN).

The university has since added gateway associate degree and online RN to BSN degree programs.

The nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). They have served as the anchor of the Clearfield campus, representing approximately half of the enrollments and drawing primarily from Clearfield and immediate surrounding counties. Currently, 176 students are enrolled in university’s nursing program.

Recently, a state-of-the-art simulation lab opened through a partnership between Penn Highlands Hospital in Clearfield and the university’s Nursing Department, further expanding opportunities for university nursing students to experience hands-on learning in a true-to-life hospital setting.

University president Robert Pignatello believes that extending the nursing program to Lock Haven’s main campus and establishing a school of nursing is an important next step in the evolution of the University’s nursing and healthcare programs.

The recent redesign of the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) as a “sharing system” has the potential to increase opportunities for nursing students and faculty without increasing costs; and the opportunity to expand — both geographically and programmatically — to capture more of the nursing education enrollments in the Clearfield and Lock Haven markets and beyond.