New Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing Opens at St. Mary’s Campus

St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) today unveiled the new home of the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing located on the St. Mary’s campus. The opening of the school’s new location is the latest step in SPHP’s Troy Master Facilities Plan (MFP), a strategic multi-phase plan aimed at transforming the future of health care in Troy, Rensselaer County, and the surrounding communities.

Formerly located on the Samaritan Hospital campus, the state-of-the-art educational facility now occupies nearly 22,000 square feet of newly renovated space on the St. Mary’s campus. The school, which opened to new and returning students in August, offers enhanced design features including contemporary classrooms, expanded clinical and computer labs to accommodate more students, audio/visual capacity for instruction in the use of technology, private testing rooms, and improvements to other student areas.

Additionally, the school now features an enlarged skills learning lab equipped with patient simulation mannequin to help prepare students to make the best decisions and perfect performance competencies in “real life” scenarios. The lab mimics two hospital rooms, each outfitted with hospital beds, IV pumps, cardiac monitors, and other equipment for measuring vital signs and assessing various conditions.

“The demand for well-educated nurses grows daily, both here in our region and across the country,” said Norman E. Dascher, chief executive officer of St. Mary’s and Samaritan hospitals, and vice president of Acute Care Troy for SPHP. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a shortage of 800,000 nurses in the country by the year 2020.

“Here in New York state, the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health reported that in 2013, nearly 64 percent of New York’s active RNs were age 50 or older, more than 27 percent were age 60 or older, and less than eight percent of actively practicing RNs in the state were younger than age 30,” Dascher said.

“For more than a century, the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing has been the heart of nursing education in our community,” said Susan Birkhead, director of the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing. “We have nurtured generations of nurses providing comprehensive nursing education, training in practical skills, and instilling caring values to prepare new nurses for fulfilling and rewarding careers in nursing. We are so proud today to continue that tradition with a new leading-edge school that will help us grow the next generation of nurses to care for communities in need.”

A portion of the funding for the new school was provided through a generous gift from community leader and philanthropist Joseph A. Celeste and family, who donated $250,000.

“As a family, we are pleased to see St. Mary’s transformation to an outpatient campus that will provide so many critical services to the community and which also houses the new School of Nursing,” Celeste said. “We are looking forward to the advancements in education and the delivery of health care in Troy and surrounding areas that this project will bring.”

The Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing was chartered in 1903 by the State University of New York. It is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education.

The school offers both an associate degree program and a practical nurse certificate program. Most years, 100 percent of students completing the associate degree program obtain employment either prior to or within one month of graduation.

The opening of the new school is a part of SPHP’s comprehensive Troy MFP, a strategic multi-year plan announced in November 2012. In addition to the new School of Nursing, the new St. Mary’s Cancer Treatment Center also opened on the St. Mary’s campus in June, offering comprehensive medical oncology, hematology and infusion services, patient navigation, and a variety of integrative wellness programs. Additional outpatient and ambulatory services will be offered at the St. Mary’s campus.

Samaritan Hospital will become the single, inpatient hospital for the Troy and Rensselaer communities. Officials celebrated the completion of a new 570-car parking garage in August. A groundbreaking is planned next month for a new patient pavilion which will feature a new, expanded emergency department, intensive care, progressive care, and medical/surgical beds. Completion of the whole MFP project is targeted for 2017.

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