About the School of Nursing

The Elms College School of Nursing was founded in 1978 enrolling its first class of baccalaureate. Established under the leadership of Sr. Nora Harrington, an academic dean and Sister of St. Joseph, who saw a need in the community for professional nurses, Elms College graduated the first class of nurses in 1982….and our history began.

Since then, we have graduated thousands of nurses across entry level, degree completion and advanced preparation programs. The first doctoral program at Elms, the Doctor of Nursing Practice will begin in the Fall of 2014, filling a critical need in the community for advanced practice nurses in adult and family care. Recognizing our growth in students and the evolution of academic programs,  we were dedicated as the School of Nursing in 2013, the first school at Elms College. Our Elms nurses have a significant presence in the community serving in positions from bedside to curbside, in clinical, educational and leadership roles.

Program Growth

The School of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, including an accelerated second degree in nursing; a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program preparing advanced prepared nurse eductors and nurse managers; a dual degree MSN/MBA track and programs for registered nurses who wish to earn a bachelor’s and/or a master’s degree through the RN-BS, RN-BS-MSN, and RN-MSN. program. The college’s first doctoral offering, beginning Fall semester 2014 – a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) offers advanced practice nurses two tracks of specialization: the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Practitioner (AGACP).

Within the past decade, the baccalaureate program in nursing as well as the RN-BS nursing program has more than doubled in enrollment.  In 2008, Elms College created an instructional location for the RN-BS program at the Berkshire Medical Center  currently graduating our fifth class of Berkshire Health System RNs. Elms College hosts an additional RN-BS program off-campus site at Mt. Wachusett Community College.

Clinical affiliations and partnerships with community nurse leaders and healthcare organizations have significantly expanded as our programs have grown in size and scope to now include dedicated teaching units (DEUs) located at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton.

In Service to the Community

The college remains committed to providing an education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition- the integration of faith and reason as the way to truth, preparing students for a career, but, as importantly preparing them to live a good and virtuous life.

In keeping with the college’s mission, community outreach is an integral part of the Elms College nursing experience both inside and outside the classroom. Elms nursing students actively volunteer and participate annually in community service work: locally, nationally, and abroad in a health clinics, orphanages, schools, and nursing homes through service opportunities sponsored by the office of campus ministry.

The college operates the ELMS caRe vaN,launched by Br. Michael Duffy, D.N.P., assistant clinical professor in the School of Nursing, to increase service-learning experiences within the nursing curriculum for baccalaureate students through service to the homeless.

The ELMS caRe vaN is a 32-foot converted camper serving as a mobile nursing unit with two treatment stations, a full exam room and a five seat waiting area which doubles as a warming area as needed, providing free health and nursing care to the homeless and underserved of Chicopee, including blood pressure checks and monitoring, blood sugar checks, foot care, episodic first aid, minor wound care, frostbite checks, patient education on these and other topics, and other healthcare needs that arise.

Classrooms of the Future, Today

The college completed construction in 2013 of The Center for Natural and Health Sciences (CNHS).  The $14 Million CNHS is a LEED designed building with five dedicated floors of progressive classroom space housing state-of-the-art nursing skills and simulation labs designed and equipped to simulate real-life patient settings in hospitals and clinical sites for baccalaureate students as well as advance nursing practice in the masters and DNP programs. The CNHS also provides significant research and laboratory facilities for students and faculty, enriching the learning experience in the liberal arts core in nursing fields of study and other disciplines within the college.  

For more than three decades, nursing education at Elms College has combined the art of caring with the science of health care taught by doctoral level faculty and practitioners in an optimal learning environment. We know our nursing graduates have and will continue to impact the health and well-being of the citizens of Western Massachusetts and beyond.

Our programs are approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and accreditied by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).