HCN News & Notes

UMass Amherst to Offer Accelerated B.S. in Nursing in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Beginning in August, the UMass Amherst College of Nursing’s accelerated bachelor’s in nursing program will be taught at the UMass Center at Springfield in Tower Square.

The 17-month program, designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in other subjects or people interested in a career change, will enroll 80 students each year. Courses will be taught by UMass Amherst College of Nursing faculty using state-of-the-art teaching technologies in newly renovated and expanded classrooms to allow for the intensive clinical work that nursing education demands.

“Moving these students, who come to us with prior experiences and education, to an urban campus perfectly poises us to take advantage of all the teaching and service opportunities among diverse communities in the Springfield area. This was also an exciting opportunity to expand and renovate our technologies, simulation center, and health laboratories to be ahead of a rapidly changing healthcare environment,” said Maeve Howett, clinical professor and assistant dean of Undergraduate Nursing Education.

The Springfield location will put students in close proximity to two of the busiest medical facilities in Western Mass., Baystate Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center, as well as a wide range of other clinical learning opportunities.

Less than three years old, the 26,000-square-foot space features 10 classrooms and clinical simulation areas specifically designed for the needs of the nursing program. In addition, a simulation lab is designed and furnished to resemble an apartment, offering the opportunity for students to practice at-home care. Cameras throughout the space allow student performance to be recorded and played back in any of the classrooms, conference rooms, or breakout spaces to be reviewed with instructors and peers.

Telehealth facilities will allow students to practice this technology and become leaders in its use as it is increasingly implemented in healthcare facilities. Whether giving patients in remote locations access to top healthcare experts or allowing elderly patients to remain in their homes during health visits, nurses will know how to listen to a heartbeat through a stethoscope, thousands of miles away, and recognize symptoms via high-definition video.

“Incorporating telehealth and other technologies into our nursing students’ education will give them new insights into providing health care for Massachusetts residents and will also help shape the future of healthcare for our nation and globally,” said Stephen Cavanagh, dean of the UMass Amherst College of Nursing.

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