URI-Lifespan team up to graduate dozens of registered nurses from College of Nursing

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Successful program allows nurses to keep jobs working while earning bachelor’s degree

KINGSTON, R.I. – Sept. 9, 2014 – With big changes in the health care industry today, registered nurses are looking for ways to further their education to stay informed. The University of Rhode Island and Lifespan are teaming up to provide that opportunity.

Dozens of nurses from Rhode Island and Massachusetts boosted their professional careers recently by earning their bachelor’s degrees in nursing, thanks to a successful collaboration between URI and Lifespan.

The 61 students awarded degrees Aug. 21 were already registered nurses, which required either two years of study to earn an associate’s degree or a three-year hospital diploma. All the nurses studied an additional two to three years to get their bachelor of science degree.

R.N. to B.S. programs are becoming more popular throughout the country as registered nurses look for ways to enhance their careers. The health profession today also demands higher education to improve the quality of health care, from prenatal to old age.

URI started offering the program through the College of Nursing 12 years ago with The Miriam Hospital. That partnership led to an expansion three years ago to include all Lifespan hospitals, including Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Newport Hospital, Bradley Hospital, as well as The Miriam.

“We are honored by the long-term success of our partnership with Lifespan,” says Mary C. Sullivan, interim dean and professor at URI’s College of Nursing. “Over the past 12 years, hundreds of nurses have earned a URI bachelor’s degree in nursing. Nurses play a valuable role as the largest segment of the nation’s health care workforce. Advancing educational preparation for nurses at the bedside can improve quality and coordination of health care. At the College of Nursing, we believe we have an important role to play to ensure that nurses are well prepared to function in a fast-changing health care system. The faculty and I extend our congratulations and best wishes to the most recent graduates.”

Lifespan praised the program as well.

“Our nurses are at the heart of the care we provide at all of our hospitals and they play a vital role in helping us fulfill the Lifespan mission of ‘delivering health with care.’ Our partnership with the University of Rhode Island through the R.N. to B.S program means our nurses can receive the advanced education they need to succeed in today’s ever-changing health care landscape,” says Cathy Duquette, Lifespan’s executive vice president of nursing affairs. “We extend our congratulations to this recent group of graduates and applaud them for their continued commitment to providing the best possible care to all of our patients.”

The nurses who received bachelor’s degrees all work at Lifespan hospitals. They continued working there four days a week and took classes one day a week at URI’s Alan Shawn Feinstein campus in Providence. The partnership with Lifespan is thriving, in part, because it allows the nurses to keep working while studying.

“We’re proud to partner with Lifespan to provide advanced education for Rhode Island’s health professionals,” says John O’Leary, director of URI’s Special Programs Office. “I congratulate all the hard working nurses who earned their degrees.”

Here’s a list of some of the graduates awarded degrees during a ceremony in Paff Auditorium on the Providence campus:

Patrica Adams, Burrillville.

Sarah Abrahamson, West Greenwich.

Carolina Benitez, Smithfield.

Jennifer Bernache, Warwick.

Doreen Bettencourt, Swansea, Mass.

Linda Blais, Pawtucket.

Jeanne Brown, Cranston.

Michaella Brown, Warwick.

Kathleen Cobleigh, West Warwick.

Margarida Costa, Attleboro, Mass.

Jennifer Coyne, Glocester.

Stephanie Czepiel, Providence.

Ana Dickenson, North Kingstown.

Christine Doyle, Cumberland.

Allison Durand, Warwick.

Cecilia Echevarria, Middletown.

Carlos Furtado, East Providence.

Duarte Furtado, Attleboro, Mass.

Marie Gabbidon-George, Providence.

Anne Gagan, Pawtucket.

Patricia Gallagher, Newport.

Shaina Gardner, North Providence.

Jennifer Goslin, Warwick.

Karen Holt, Burrillville.

Laura Huling, North Kingstown.

Janie Kinsella, Seekonk, Mass.

Michelle Koehler, Swansea, Mass.

Kimberly Lopes-Diggs, Providence.

Katherine Lucas, Cranston.

Lisa Mallette, Johnston.

Jassie Nah, Providence.

Nicole Nappe, Warwick.

Kathyrn Pereira, Swansea, Mass.

Stephen Pereira, Swansea, Mass.

Danijela Price, Newport.

Jennifer Pumple, East Providence.

Shannon Rogers, Fall River, Mass.

Lori Rubolotta, Charlestown.

Lindsay Russolino, Warwick.

Marianne Ryan, Johnston.

Tashina Smith, Providence.

Oretha Soe, Providence.

Patricia Sousa-Cooper, Tiverton.

James Taber, Attleboro, Mass.

Stephanie Thistle, East Providence.

Erin Truman, North Kingstown.

Deborah Walton, Johnston.

Jennifer Wilson, West Warwick.

Mina Wolloh, North Providence.

Tina Woods, Woonsocket.

For more information about the R.N. to B.S. program at URI, please contact Diane Martins, an associate professor of nursing at the University, at 401-874-2766 or dcmartins@uri.edu.

Pictured above: Graduates of the R.N. to B.S. program at the University of Rhode Island. URI administrators and instructors are in the photo as well. Photo by Michael Salerno Photography.