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Kristen Cyr
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Nursing partnership with URI will create
‘path to success’ for CCRI students

Oct. 30, 2015

CCRI Vice President CCRI Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Lamontagne and URI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Donald DeHayes shake after signing a memorandum of understanding to create a Nursing Education Partnership between the two institutions on Thursday morning at CCRI. View a photo gallery and a video of the event.

On Oct. 29, administrators representing the Nursing program at the Community College of Rhode Island and the College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island came together in what was billed as a “momentous occasion” to create the Nursing Education Partnership.

Per a memorandum of understanding, CCRI nursing students in their last semester are now guaranteed admission into URI’s Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program. The partnership, the first of its kind in the state, will allow what Interim Assistant Dean of Nurse Education Dr. Rosemary Costigan called “a seamless progression” for students seeking to continue on to advanced levels of education in the nursing field.

Under the agreement, students may begin studies at URI immediately in the traditional classroom or online environment rather than delaying matriculation during the wait to become licensed.

“We talk a lot about changing lives and achieving dreams here at CCRI,” said CCRI’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Lamontagne, addressing the many current nursing students who gathered for the announcement. “And the faculty at CCRI and URI have really heard about the dreams that you want to achieve. You tell us that you want to move on with lifelong learning, that you want to continue your nursing career … you want to be leaders. Through this arrangement, not only will you be leaders, you’ll be able to continue on to get master’s degrees and become the nurse educators of our future faculty.”

URI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Donald H. DeHayes lauded the collaboration as a “path to success” and “a path to careers” for students, allowing them to not only be the faculty of the future, but also the leaders and chief nurse managers in hospital systems.

“This is a new beginning, an exciting beginning, an important beginning. It also demonstrates how two institutions with high-quality nursing programs that are part of the state system can work together hand in glove to create special opportunities for our students,” DeHayes said.

The partnership will work towards fulfilling the recommendations coming from two landmark studies from the Institute of Medicine: that 80 percent of the nursing workforce should be baccalaureate-prepared and that the number of nurses who have doctorates should be increased twofold.

“This positions Rhode Island in a significant way to advance nursing education,” said URI’s Dr. Mary Sullivan, interim dean of the College of Nursing, who thanked the “wonderful, dedicated people who brought vision from both institutions,” calling special attention to the late CCRI Dean of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences Dr. Maureen McGarry.

After the room erupted in applause at the document signing, Costigan, who began her career as a student in the college’s associate degree in nursing program, said that the agreement “acknowledges the contributions and value of [associate degree nurses].”

Following the closing of the program, two of the 250-plus nursing students that the CCRI program graduates each year reflected on their journey so far and what this partnership will mean to them.

Both Umah Kamara of Providence and Francis Rafael of Cranston are in the final semester of their associate degree program and said they were looking forward to continuing with their education in the field. The ease of this articulation agreement made them think those goals were more attainable.

Kamara worked as a CNA for 10 years before starting at CCRI and said that continuing her education and working toward her RN licensure has made her a better health care provider.

“This program changed me a lot. CCRI students have a lot of hands-on experience, and when we go to clinical, we do so much. I think it’s helpful for me to go forward from what I’ve got from this program,” she said, adding that attaining a bachelor’s degree at URI likely would be her next step. “[Employers now] are looking for a bachelor’s degree. Not having a bachelor’s degree is a barrier to you.”

Rafael, who also worked as a CNA prior to attending CCRI, said that as a single mother, the professional and financial possibilities available to nurses who attained higher levels of education was important to her because she wants to provide a better future for her children.

“The CCRI program has been a really good base to start off of,” she said. “This [agreement] makes it easier because the transition [to URI] is not as scary as it would be.”


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Last Updated: 8/25/16