The Department of Nursing at the University of New England has launched a school, the UNE School of Nursing and Population Health that will build upon its commitment to public health. The programs set up by the newly established school will address pressing workforce training needs that will help nurses to care for Maine’s most vulnerable populations. There is a serious deficit in nursing skills in the state, and UNE’s programs are geared towards providing needed education and training for practicing nurses.
With a long history of dedicated service to the state and country, UNE’s Nursing program recently celebrated its milestone 50th anniversary. Over 2,200 nurses graduated to the Maine and U.S. workforce during the event. Strong demand for nurses has prompted UNE to start a new summer cohort for the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program this year, thereby increasing student enrollment by 50 percent.
UNE nursing programs are well known for their exemplary quality, and this is very evident from their 2018 licensure exam first-time pass rate of 98 per cent. The nursing program has received a recent increase in grant funding which has been instrumental in this expansion.
To date, the program has acquired several competitive grants including three federal grants since 2012 to the tune of $3.5 million. The most recent one received last year was $900,000 grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust which was used to provide scholarships for ABSN students. A whopping $1.5 million grant by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) helped them to increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in Maine, trained to respond to allegations of sexual assault.
The newly launched UNE’s School of Nursing and Population Health will offer existing undergraduate nursing programs, including the four-year program as well as the sixteen-month ABSN program for students who are already holding bachelor’s degrees in other areas of study. Along with this, the school will also include UNE’s undergraduate Public Health program. In the short future, program offerings will be expanded to include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), public health nursing and nursing education.