Expanding nursing studies at LHU a brilliant move

Bravo to Lock Haven University for plans to create a school of nursing on its main campus here.

It’s a bold — and necessary — move.

Expansion of the program beyond its satellite campus in Clearfield is in response to rising demand for qualified nurses as our population ages.

The move “is influenced by current trends in healthcare, primarily the consolidation of major healthcare providers into large systems, which provide the groundwork to form mutually beneficial partnerships and pipelines for their workforce,” said university President Robert Pignatello.

Make no mistake, it is the new university president’s initiative as he works to strengthen the college in an ever-challenging enrollment environment.

(Congratulations, too, for reducing room and meal fees for 2019-2020.)

Trustees wholeheartedly agree — they voted unanimously to expand the nursing program here at last month’s meeting.

“We feel there is a market here in Lock Haven that we can service,” Pignatello said.

LHU administrators are excited about the prospective of establishing the school of nursing and believe the move will advance the expansion, stature, enrollment, resources and operation of the program, Pignatello told trustees.

In the early 1990s, the university took in the Central Pennsylvania School of Nursing, a registered nurse diploma program operated by a consortium of four Clearfield area hospitals, and converted it to a two-year associate degree program in nursing (ASN). LHU has since added a gateway associate degree and online RN to BSN degree programs.

Now comes the hard part.

Where will the nursing program be housed on campus?

Will it go near the Physicians Assistant program building off Railroad Street?

Will it require new construction to meet new classroom technology and space needs?

LHU already is home to one of the most renowned physician assistant programs in the country.

Acceptance into the Departement of Physician Assistant Studies that grants a master’s degree in health science is very competitive.

P.A. graduates have no trouble getting jobs.

The same can be said for nursing graduates.

The environment is ripe for this expansion, what with recent and future investment locally and regionally by the major health systems here.

We encourage the health systems to partner with LHU for the well-being of everyone.