Providence College announced in Sept. 2022 the new addition of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The College now offers the new majors of nursing and health sciences, as well as incorporating the current major, health policy and management. The class of 2027 is the first to join the school, as PC received approval from the Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education in September 2022.
Current President of PC Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P. shared when he took office in July of 2020 that he had an interest in opening a nursing school as well as how it fits into PC’s strong liberal arts curriculum. The philosophy of nursing coincides with the school’s philosophy of helping others and service. Dr. Kyle McInnis, Sc.D. was named the inaugural dean of the school and works alongside Nancy Meedzan DNP, the inaugural chair of the department of nursing.
“Programs like nursing, which focus on the care of others, respect for the dignity of every person, and the importance of service to God and neighbor, flow naturally from and support the Catholic and Dominican mission of Providence College,” Fr. Sicard said.
The Bachelor of Science Nursing degree program consists of 76 credits in classes of anatomy, biology, chemistry, and specialized nursing classes as well as PC core curriculum. Nursing majors are also required to complete a clinical, and a capstone. The health science program is similar but also includes classes in epidemiology and the American healthcare system, that in total are 56 credits. Both programs aim to prepare students for the healthcare field as well as helping others.
“The nursing program distinguishes itself through its holistic approach to student development and moral formation, offering students the opportunity to experience the art and science of healing through nursing. This approach aims to professionally prepare nursing students as healthcare providers who practice with both passion and discipline while embodying reason and compassion. Similarly, the health sciences program adopts a dynamic, cross-disciplinary approach to prepare future health professionals who possess comprehensive knowledge, skills, and a holistic perspective focused on promoting and sustaining the health and well-being of individuals and communities,” McInnis said.
The school and its programs are currently located in the fourth floor of Feinstein Academic Center, which has been adapted adequately for the specialized classes. Laboratories, called Learning Labs, have been added to these classrooms with state-of-the-art technology. The three highlighted new spaces include an anatomy and physiology lab, nursing health assessment lab, and a nursing simulation. These laboratories are a placeholder while waiting for the new SNHS building to open.
“Working in Feinstein has been really cool because it’s a little glimpse of what our classes will look like in the new building which is so exciting. We are able to use anatomage tables and work with real bodies that were scanned and turned into virtual dissection tables. They are so cool and fun to work with. They have every part of the human body, and you can dissect the entire body all the way down to the tissues, muscles, etc.,” said Francesca Kearns ’27, a nursing major.
The building for SNHS is set to open in January of 2025. The 125,000 square foot complex is replacing Fennell Hall, located next to the Smith Center for the Arts with access to Eaton Street. The architectural firm SLAM designed the complex with construction starting in September of 2023. The building is set to have research labs, student study spaces, faculty offices, a dining facility, and a 7,000 square foot suite, which simulates a hospital floor, allowing students to complete some of the required clinical hours on campus. The building is named in honor of Ben Mordor, former community and business leader, who is noted for transforming the Pawtucket Red Sox. His wife, Madeline Mordor, gave $10 million as a contribution to the SNHS in honor of her late husband.
“I think the greatest joy so far has been welcoming our inaugural class this fall, and they have hit the ground running, excelling both in the classroom and on the sports fields, contributing to clubs and organizations, and actively participating in our community. This extraordinary group of students holds immense promise, and I am eager to witness their growth and success,” McInnis also shared.
PC’s new addition of the SNHS will provide students with the skills needed to join the nursing force following graduation as well as expanding PC’s academic options.