About the School of Nursing

The Elms College School of Nursing was founded in 1978. The first class of nurses graduated in 1982 under the leadership of Sr. Nora Harrington, an academic dean and Sister of St. Joseph who helped found the school in response to a need in the community for professional nurses.

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 (DNP), began 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, become the first school at Elms College. Our Elms nurses have a significant presence in the community, serving in clinical, educational and leadership roles.

Program Growth

The School of Nursing offers a robust array of programs for nurses at all stages of their careers. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program prepares students to be innovative nurse leaders by emphasizing a rigorous curriculum and providing a broad range of clinical learning opportunities in a variety of health care settings. The second degree accelerated program is available to associate’s and bachelor’s degree holders interested in bridging their careers into the nursing profession. Elms also offers an online RN-BS program for nurse practitioners ready to solidify their expertise with a bachelor’s degree.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program imparts the advanced knowledge and training that is essential for nurse leaders working in advanced prepared roles, including nursing and health services management, nursing education, and school nursing. A dual degree MSN/MBA track is open to registered nurses who wish to enrich their clinical expertise with business acumen. The RN-BS-MSN and RN-MSN programs are tailored to practicing nurses that have clearly defined goals for obtaining their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, or just their master’s.

The school’s DNP program features three tracks that develop clinical and non-clinical competencies. The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) tracks emphasize advanced clinical practice, whereas the Health Systems Innovation and Leadership (HSIL) track underscores organizational management and health care leadership.

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, we are graduating our fifth class of Berkshire Health System RNs. Elms College also hosts an additional RN-BS program off-campus site at Mt. Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Mass.

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.

In Service to the Community

Elms College is committed to providing an education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition. We advocate for the integration of faith and reason as the way to truth, and consider this holistic development of the person to be the basis for a fulfilling career. Just as importantly, the development of these faculties also represents the path toward living 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 local, national, and international community service work. They venture into the world and provide vital care in health clinics, orphanages, schools, and nursing homes, taking advantage of service opportunities sponsored by the office of campus ministry.

The School of Nursing also operates the Elms caRe vaN, a 32-foot converted camper that serves as a mobile nursing unit, to increase service-learning experiences within the nursing curriculum for baccalaureate students. The caRe vaN offers students a unique opportunity to infuse their practice with social justice and deliver nursing care to the underserved and homeless populations of Chicopee, Mass. The caRe vaN features two treatment stations, a full exam room and a five seat waiting area which doubles as a warming area as needed. Student volunteers provide free 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, as well as other healthcare needs that arise.

Classrooms of the Future, Today

The college completed construction of The Center for Natural and Health Sciences (CNHS) in 2012.  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. These labs are designed and equipped to simulate real-life patient settings in hospitals and clinical sites for baccalaureate students, as well as advance nursing practice scenarios for the Masters and DNP programs. The CNHS also provides significant research and laboratory facilities for students and faculty, enriching the liberal arts learning experience for nursing 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.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master’s degree in nursing, and doctor of nursing practice degree in adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner at Elms College School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 200636 (202)887-6791. (http://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE). The baccalaureate degree program is fully approved by the MA Board of Registration in Nursing.