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Manhattanville College Opens New Nursing School

Manhattanville College officially marked the opening of its new nursing school at a ceremony attended by state and local officials, healthcare leaders and the college community.

The school’s new nursing students participated in a traditional white coat ceremony, in which they took an oath to service and received a white coat. “This is an exciting day for Manhattanville as we officially open our new School of Nursing and Health Sciences,’’ said Manhattanville President Michael Geisler, Ph.D. “This is literally a dream come true.’’ Geisler thanked the new nursing school’s Dean, Debra Simons, Ph.D., R.N., C.C.M.R. “And a big ‘thank you’ also goes to the Manhattanville Board of Trustees who supported Debra Simons’ and my vision throughout the long planning and approval process.”

Geisler spoke of the pandemic and the urgent need for highly skilled nurses. “Opening a School of Nursing and Health Sciences during the time of COVID-19 is a testimonial that Manhattanville College has been ready to supply the academic expertise and skilled workforce that is so needed in Westchester County and the tristate area.”

A total of 72 nursing students have enrolled in the new nursing school and will be taking classes on campus this fall. The school received approval to launch degree programs from the New York State Education Department in January. Manhattanville offers two degrees in nursing: Bachelor of Science in Nursing for traditional 4-year and transfer students as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for second-degree students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. The second-degree program welcomed 11 students this summer who began classes remotely and another 42 began classes Monday. Another 19 traditional undergraduate students also began their studies at the new school this week.

President Geisler recognized the assistance of community partners and elected officials who helped make the school’s opening possible. He specifically thanked New York State Senator Shelley Mayer, New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald, County Executive George Latimer, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, Marsha Gordon, and Anthony Viceroy, CEO of Westmed and now a Member of the Manhattanville Board of Trustees, for their counsel and active help at various stages of this ambitious launch.

“Nothing could be more commendable or fitting than opening a new nursing school at a time when our country is in need of the next generation of health professionals,’’ said Gordon. “We congratulate Manhattanville College and all the students who are going into the nursing profession at this critical time.”

Geisler also thanked Gordon and other supporters for assistance in helping the school receive a $60,000 grant through the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council to develop a $300,000 state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Laboratory (CLL), equipped with human simulators and clinical simulation environments that emulate all levels of care. The school also received a $75,000 award from the George I. Alden Trust and additional funding from other private foundations.

“The need for trained healthcare workers is now more urgent than ever,” said Geisler. “Before the pandemic struck, we were looking at estimates by the Bureau of Labor that projected the need for 649,100 replacement nurses in the workforce.” An estimated one million registered nurses will retire by 2030, creating a consistently high demand for a trained workforce.

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the reality of how essential healthcare workers are to public health and our communities. Congratulations to Manhattanville College for establishing the School of Nursing and Health Sciences to offer more students an opportunity to build fulfilling careers in the healthcare industry. I look forward to continuing to work with President Michael Geisler and Dean Debra Simons as they build on this initiative.”

Simons said she was proud of the students who took the oath as they embark upon their nursing careers. “Starting a nursing program during a global health crisis is not new to nursing,” said Simons. “Nurses have always been at the forefront of patient care. Nursing care was critical in the battle against the influenza in 1918 and it remains critical during the COVID pandemic. Whether in hospitals or among the community, nurses were on the front lines administering care. That truly makes the nurse a ‘Superhero.’”

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