STANDISH, MAINE– Saint Joseph’s College announced today that it has successfully met the $3.5 million Alfond Foundation challenge for the new Center for Nursing Innovation on its campus.
Announcing the milestone, President Jim Dlugos said:
“Four years ago, almost to the day, the Harold Alfond Foundation challenged us to raise $3.5 million toward this $5 million project. Today we are proud to announce that, with the incredibly generous support of our alumni, friends, foundations, and businesses, we have met the challenge.”
“Once all pledges are paid, the Alfond Foundation will have provided $1.5 million toward the largest project focused on a single discipline—Nursing—in Saint Joseph’s history,” said Dlugos. “We are thankful to more than 300 donors from near and far for bringing us to this moment, and we are especially thankful to nursing alumna, honorary degree recipient, and board of trustees member, Jeanne Donlevy Arnold, ’83 and her husband Ed of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for the extraordinary leadership provided by their $2 million gift.”
According to President Dlugos, the new Center for Nursing Innovation was designed to respond to Maine’s critical needs to stem the huge shortage of BSN-trained nurses and doctoral-prepared nursing faculty that crested with nursing retirements in 2018, as well as add to the state’s training facilities for simulated practice in the face of shrinking clinical opportunities for nursing students.
To meet these needs, the new Center offers more than $500,000 in endowed nursing scholarships to encourage first-generation Maine students to pursue nursing as a profession, and it has created a pathway to the nursing Ph.D.—not offered in Maine—through an agreement with U. MASS Worcester. In addition, an innovative, accelerated three-year BSN program offered at Maine Medical Center is providing opportunities annually for 15-20 staff without nursing degrees to keep their jobs while studying onsite.
On campus, the Center for Nursing Innovation includes recently renovated labs for the nursing sciences, as well as a future major renovation of a building to offer a SIM hospital floor with two ICU rooms, a pediatric and a maternity room, and a community nursing room to simulate home care. The project also drew together more than 15 distinguished nursing and other health care related professionals to comprise the Nursing Ambassadors, a group focused on current nursing issues in Maine.
According to President Dlugos, “The Center for Nursing Innovation is a great example of how Saint Joseph’s on Sebago Lake in Standish can reach beyond itself to be part of the community that is working together to keep health care in Maine strong. This project reaches down into the College’s roots, back to a woman named Catherine McAuley, the first Sister of Mercy, who cared for the poor and the sick and who distinguished Mercy nurses as among the best practicing on wounded soldiers during the Crimean War in the 1850’s. Many people have told us that they can identify a Saint Joseph’s trained nurse from all others—that’s because we have continued to provide this kind of holistic education, which recognizes the inherent dignity of every person.”
Today the BSN program at Saint Joseph’s College enrolls 255 students, with an equal number in undergraduate and graduate online programs. The average pass rate on NCLEX exams has been between 100% and 96% over three years, and the program received a rare 10-year reaccreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education last June.