Trinitas School of Nursing Marks Record Year for Graduates, Applicants

Nursing School Applicants Increase 30% In Year of Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the globe and claimed tens of thousands of lives in New Jersey, the sacrifice of thousands of first responders and medical professionals inspired more students to enroll in nursing school than ever before.

A time of great demand has collided with evidence of record interest in the nursing profession. Perhaps no group was more widely recognized for its service than America’s nurses – and being on the frontlines to combat the virus is seen by many as an opportunity to make a difference. A testament to the rise in interest has been evident at the Trinitas School of Nursing.

“Between January and May this year, the Trinitas School of Nursing graduated a record 188 students,” says Dean Roseminda Santee. “Even more incredible is that during the worst days of the pandemic, we also saw record numbers of applicants seeking admission to our school. From the Spring of 2019 to the Fall of 2020, the number of qualified applications we received increased by more than 30%.”

The increase, equating to more than 200 qualified applicants, reflects a drive among the community to run toward the danger of the coronavirus outbreak. Individuals are hearing the calling to become medical providers now more than ever, in spite of the risk they might each personally face.

“Our students want to serve their communities, take on the challenge of the COVID-19 battle, and work with patients that are very, very sick,” Santee says. “They are amazing individuals.”

Among that group of amazing individuals are people like Patience Opaola of Linden, who graduated from the School of Nursing in January. “COVID-19 actually affirmed, for me, that I made the right decision in starting a nursing career,” she says. “I wanted to quit so many times when I first started on the Medical-Surgical floor, but I had a lot of support [from fellow nurses] and I’m glad I saw it through.”

Most applicants and enrollees are new to the healthcare field, Santee says, while some are Certified Nurse Aides or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) completing their education to become Registered Nurses (RNs). The cohorts reflect a diverse mix of races and ethnic backgrounds, and include higher numbers of male candidates as well.

When the coronavirus outbreak forced the physical closure of schools at all levels, the School of Nursing had to quickly pivot toward online instruction. New protocol and limitations on the numbers of seats permitted in each class will continue for the foreseeable future, but Dr. Santee says the school is up to the task.

“I wish I could take every single one of our applicants,” she says. “It’s a balancing act, meeting the New Jersey Board of Nursing demand for more licensed nurses while adhering to state-mandated health protocols in our classrooms and in clinical facilities. We also have to bear in mind the guidelines required by the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.”

This year, the school earned its fourth designation as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing – one of only 17 institutions across the country to receive the four-year recognition. For more than a decade, it has enjoyed a reputation for rigorous curricula, an outstanding teaching staff, and an admission policy that ensures only the best students, representative of the community served by the school, are admitted as future healthcare professionals.




Trinitas School of Nursing Recognized as an NLN Center of Excellence in Education for Four Consecutive Periods

TSON is one of 17 programs across the country to be named by the National League for Nursing

Trinitas School of Nursing (TSON) has been recognized as a 2020-2024 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing, among 17 nursing programs from across the country. This is the fourth consecutive time TSON has earned this distinction, the first time being in 2008, with re-designations in July 2011 and 2015.

“The faculty of the School of Nursing deserves the lion’s share of this award,” said Dr. Roseminda N. Santee, DNP, MA, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, ANEF Dean, Trinitas School of Nursing. “They make it happen. The administration, staff, advisory board, and affiliated agencies provide the support and resources for faculty and students to do their good work.”

Each year since 2004, the League has invited nursing schools to apply to become a Center of Excellence, based on their ability to demonstrate in concrete, measurable terms sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, or student learning and professional development.

NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, said, “NLN Centers of Excellence help raise the bar for all nursing programs by role modeling visionary leadership and environments of inclusive excellence. These environments help nurture the next generation of a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global community.”

Dr. Santee added, “This award is the culmination of decades of commitment and dedication by the faculty to the vision of excellence that focuses on the creation of learning environments designed to promote the nursing education and professional development of culturally diverse students. This could not have been accomplished without a plan that also values innovation, civility, integrity, and ethical behavior in all professional activities.”

Trinitas School of Nursing
TSON is a Catholic, pre-licensure nursing program located in the city of Elizabeth, an extremely diverse urban community in Union County. In 2018, Elizabeth reported a population of 128,885 with 20% African American, 13% Caucasian individuals and 64% Hispanic individuals. (Quick Facts, Elizabeth, NJ, July 2018)

Diversity is valued by the school as evidenced by the composition of the staff, faculty, and students. Each course in the program has a cultural component that engenders students’ respect for various cultures and individual differences. With seventy-four (74) percent of the students representing ethnic minority groups, the diversity at TSON reflects that of the community in which it resides. In the Spring of 2019, the demographic profile of the school showed that 35% of the students were African American, 9% Asian, 13% Caucasian and 31% Hispanic. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the students are female. (TSON Enrollment Data, 2019)

The current thirteen (13) full-time faculty members and two (2) administrative personnel represent as 20% African American; 7% Asian; 13% Hispanic; and 60% Caucasian. Ninety-three percent (93%) of the administration and faculty members are certified in their areas of expertise.

TSON has a rich history dating back to 1891, when it was the Elizabeth General Hospital Training School. The school’s journey to excellence began in 1947 when the school contracted with the then Union Junior College to offer all science and liberal art courses at the college. The major goals of this partnership were to strengthen the curriculum and to provide opportunities for graduates’ upward mobility to a BSN degree. This contract enhanced the School’s ability to keep abreast of educational and scientific advancement and strengthened the students’ base of knowledge and intellectual skills.




NLN Re-Designates Trinitas As COE Through 2024 School receives important and prestigious re-designation

Trinitas School of Nursing has again been designated as a National League for Nursing (NLN) Center of Excellence (COE) in Nursing Education for 2020-2024 in the category of “Creating Environments that Enhance Student Learning and Professional Development.” This is the School of Nursing’s fourth consecutive COE designation in this category since 2008.

“Since 1891, Trinitas School of Nursing, then Elizabeth General Hospital School of Nursing, has been in the forefront of nursing education,” notes Gary S. Horan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Trinitas Regional Medical Center. “Now, in the 21st Century, Trinitas still meets the challenges and needs of the nursing profession through our innovative nursing curriculum. We offer an excellent program of study to prepare women and an ever-growing number of men for the rigors and rewards of nursing. This NLN re-designation testifies to our success and leads us forward to achieve continued recognition.”

Trinitas’ School of Nursing was the first hospital-based nursing school in the country to receive the NLN’s Center of Excellence designation for 2008–2011 in the learning and professional development category. The school was re-designated as a NLN COE in Nursing Education effective 2011–2015 and 2015-2020. The institution was also the first nursing school in the United States to have 100% of its eligible faculty certified with the NLN Certification in Nursing Education (CNE) credential.

“The faculty of the School of Nursing deserves the lion’s share of this award”, said Dr. Roseminda N. Santee, DNP, MA, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, ANEF, Dean, Trinitas School of Nursing. “They make it happen. The administration, staff, advisory board benefactors and affiliated agencies provide the support and resources for faculty and students to do their good work.”

Each year since 2004, the NLN has invited nursing schools to apply to become a Center of Excellence, based on their ability to demonstrate in concrete, measurable terms sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, or student learning and professional development.

NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, said, “NLN Centers of Excellence help raise the bar for all nursing programs by role modeling visionary leadership and environments of inclusive excellence. These environments help nurture the next generation of a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global community.”

 

Innovative program includes a day at TSON
As part of an ongoing effort to attract local students to the nursing profession, Trinitas School of Nursing has once again participated in the Nurse Camp program run by Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s Volunteer Services Director Lisa E. Liss.

For several years, Trinitas School of Nursing has been one of the most exciting stops for the Nurse Camp students. Seeing a potentially solid career path, many of the students find nursing an attractive choice.

“We love to have our School of Nursing students show the Nurse Camp students what they do, how they study and explain that the high schoolers can follow in their footsteps if they find nursing as interesting and rewarding as we all do,” states Dr. Rose Santee, Dean of the Trinitas School of Nursing.

One component of the time spent at the School of Nursing’s Union County Campus is a tour and demonstration at the Learning Simulation Center (LSC). “The Nurse Camp students LOVE the LSC,” said Mrs. Liss. “It gives them a glimpse into what studying nursing is like, and the Sim Lab shows it’s not just lectures and studying textbooks; it’s also practical, hands-on work with simulated patients.”

For the students, many find it confirms they want to pursue a career in nursing, or in healthcare. But, for a few, it also confirms that they don’t want to go down this path after all. Both outcomes have value, since it helps some of the students redirect their focus in another area.

LSC Director Dr. Lisa DiGiovanni finds that many of her students are eager to help others who have the same interests. For six weeks each summer, students rotate in groups of 10-12 through various departments of Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and the School of Nursing’s W. Jersey St. campus. “Interestingly, a lot of the students were former Nurse Camp students, so they understand the benefit of giving back and encouraging others to enter the field. We’re happy to host this leg of the ‘Nurse Camp Tour’ each year.”

A special thank you goes out to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for providing the funding for Nurse Camp. Their donations help provide a lot of the equipment and supplies that are used in the various departments and locations where Nurse Camp takes place.

For more information on Nurse Camp please click here.




Trinitas Nurse Leads NJLN as President

John Lanier elected for two-year term

The New Jersey League for Nursing (NJLN), an affiliate of the National League for Nursing proudly announced their newly elected President, John Lanier, MS, RN, NE-BC, Trinitas School of Nursing, during their recent annual 2018 Convention in Atlantic City. Lanier, a faculty member for the Trinitas School of Nursing, where he is currently a Professor for the Fundamentals of Nursing curriculum, will serve a two-year term through March, 2020.

Lanier has served on the NJLN Board of Directors as the President-elect for the past two years and has helped build upon the strong foundation with the goal to drive the necessary change for the future of the NJLN.

“This is outstanding professional recognition for John,” says Mary McTigue, Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “Everyone at Trinitas is proud of John and what he has accomplished at Trinitas as well as his NJLN affiliation and service.”

The New Jersey League for Nursing membership is open to and represents all levels of nursing from practicing nurses, students and retirees, as well those who provide health care services in schools and to consumers. The NJLN is responsible for shaping nursing education and providing resources and scholarships for the Nurses of New Jersey. President Lanier will work closely with the NJLN Board of Directors and the newly appointed President-Elect, Tracy Ortelli, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, Galen College of Nursing, Executive Vice President, Post-licensure Nursing.

“It is an honor to hold the office of President of the NJLN, an organization rich in history serving the nurses of New Jersey for more than 100 years,” said Lanier. “The organization is looking to embrace technology as a means of diversifying our membership and broadening our inclusiveness. Our Board of Directors is committed to fulfilling the mission of our organization with specific attention to educational needs of nurses of New Jersey at all levels, including nursing students and all environments in which they practice. At the same time, we are also building relationships within communities, which supports our mission and allows us to achieve our organizational goals.”

The New Jersey League for Nursing supports and implements the mission of the National League for Nursing to promote excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the nation’s health at the constituent level. The NJLN is the premier nursing organization in the State, with more than 100 Years of promoting the positive image of nursing. The New Jersey League for Nursing believes in the professional advancement of nursing education and practice through programs, scholarships and opportunities that address the needs of diverse students, faculty and practicing nurses in a rapidly changing health care environment, while promoting collaboration and forming partnerships. For further information on the NJLN, or to become a member, please visit www.njln.org.