Board approves School of Nursing

The University’s highest governing body approved a proposal to add a School of Nursing to GW’s Virginia Science and Technology campus Friday morning. The school is expected to launch next July.

GW currently offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing practice degrees through the Department of Nursing Education, a section of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The school will become the third school in the Medical Center.

The school is expected to fund itself through tuition from new students, and has submitted a budget of expenses totalling $3.2 million for the 2011 fiscal year.

The proposal projects 435 students will enroll in the fall of 2011, with $60,000 in proposed scholarships for the first year and $100,000 each subsequent year.

Johnson said the school will make money for the Medical Center and students’ tuition dollars will fund the school. In the proposal, a five-year summary has the school contributing over $3 million dollars to the Medical Center by fiscal year 2015. Fiscals years at GW run from June 30 to July 1. The school also hopes to bring in money through research; the department has brought in $5 million in sponsored funding since 2005.

Ellen Dawson, chair of the nursing department, said creating a full-fledged school is a way to respond to the nursing shortage around the country and will unite talented students and faculty. According to data from the State of Virginia, by 2017, there will be a 10,000 nurse shortage.

“Becoming a school gives us the ability to recruit nationally known researchers and will attract highly qualified students,” Dawson said.

Adding a School of Nursing is also a response to the need to increase enrollment in nursing programs, Dawson said.

“Nationally, in the past four years we have turned away 50,000 applicants because of shortages of faculty and clinical sites,” Dawson said.

Johnson said placing the new school at the Virginia campus is a way to respond to the state’s own nursing shortage as well.

“Placing it in the state of Virginia is important to address the needs of nurses,” Johnson said. “We are going to be part of that enterprise to address a state and national issue.”

Johnson said the Medical Center plans to give the new school $1 million to fund four tenure-track professors. According to the proposal, all faculty members in the Department of Nursing Education will transition into the School of Nursing. The proposal lays out plans to have 34 full time faculty by fiscal year 2014.

The Faculty Senate expressed some concerns over the financial demands of starting a new school, but in a meeting last Monday professors in the Senate voiced approval for the plan.

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