The Rhode Island Nursing Education Center, a 133,000-square-foot facility that will provide an unmatched learning environment, will welcome its first students in fall 2017. Part of the $220 million South Street Landing Project along Providence’s waterfront, the Center combines leading technology with a rigorous experiential learning curriculum, placing Rhode Island at the forefront of the nation in nursing education, says Barbara Wolfe, dean of URI’s College of Nursing.
“The Center is located in one of the most vibrant sections of Providence, where world-class biomedical and health-care learning and research take place every day,” says Wolfe, who was an associate dean for research and professor at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before joining URI in June 2016. “The Center will provide URI nursing students with the best education available in a facility unlike any other, giving them unparalleled qualifications in the ever-evolving health-care field.”
The Center offers proximity to the state’s leading hospitals and health-care providers, as well as Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, offering students, faculty and researchers unprecedented opportunities for learning and collaboration, Wolfe says.
As the Center’s opening day nears, the community’s interest has heightened, generating a number of questions. Printed material, classroom discussions and an updated College website have provided the community with the latest information. Below are answers to frequently asked questions:
Will the opening of the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in downtown Providence mean that URI’s nursing program is leaving the Kingston Campus?
No. The “home” of URI’s College of Nursing will remain at White Hall in Kingston. All classes for freshmen, sophomore and first semester junior nursing students will be held on the Kingston Campus.
Nursing students will begin taking classes at the Center one day a week in the second semester of their junior year and during fall and spring semesters of their senior year. Faculty will have offices at the Kingston Campus and the NEC, and remain available to students.
All graduate nursing courses will be held at the Center.
When and how were nursing students informed about the need to take some classes at the Center?
During freshman orientation this summer, parents and students were provided with informational materials regarding the Center.
All current nursing students were informed in September about progress at the Center in a welcome letter from Barbara Wolfe, dean of the College of Nursing.
Faculty held information sessions about the Center for all nursing students during classes in October.
Will transportation to the Center be provided?
Yes. Transportation will be provided at no cost to students. The University negotiated with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to enhance bus service between Kingston and Providence with 12 daily trips from the Kingston Campus to the Center. These buses also will stop at the Kingston Amtrak station, Wickford Junction train station and the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick.
Will there be parking for students who want to drive to Providence?
Yes. Parking at no extra cost will be available for students, faculty and staff at the Center. The University is working to provide more parking at no additional cost at facilities within a reasonable proximity to the Center. Valid URI parking passes are required to access the lots. Free shuttles will transport passengers directly from these sites to the Center. These parking facilities will be paved, well-lit and secure.
Getting to Providence for early morning classes can be difficult. Will class schedules be addressed?
Yes. The University is looking into the timing of the classes at the Center to accommodate students concerned about commuting during times of heavy traffic.
If I am in Providence for an entire day of classes, how will I fit in all my required courses in Kingston?
It is not unusual for upperclassmen and graduate students in all majors to be off campus for an entire day for clinical rotations, internships and employment. Advisors will work closely with students to address scheduling concerns. In some cases, students may have the option of traveling to Providence twice a week, but for a shorter duration.
Will there be student housing in Providence?
There is a plan to develop apartment housing as part of the larger South Street Landing project. The housing will be a private development at market rates.
How can students learn more as the opening of the Center nears?
Students will have a chance to tour the Center in person in spring 2017 and see firsthand the high-tech facilities being made available to them. Drawings and floor plans have been on display in the lobby of the College of Nursing in Kingston for several months. As more details become available, the College and the University will keep students and the wider community informed via email, news releases and the URI and College of Nursing websites.