Fairfield Egan Joins Partnership With Yale New Haven Health to Combat Nursing Shortage

Fairfield Egan Joins Partnership With Yale New Haven Health to Combat Nursing Shortage

(Left to Right): Fairfield Egan Dean Meredith Wallace Kazer, Gateway Community College Division Director of Nursing and Allied Health Sheila Solernou, YNHHS Chief Nursing Executive Beth Beckman, YNHHS President Chris O'Connor, Quinnipiac University Dean School of Nursing Lisa O’Connor, Southern Connecticut Dean University College of Health and Human Services Sandra Bulmer.

Fairfield's Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies is joining Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University, and Southern Connecticut University for this groundbreaking partnership with Yale New Haven Health System.

Fairfield University, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University, and Southern Connecticut State University joined Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), for a press conference on Thursday, March 31 to announce an innovative new partnership. 

Chief Executive Officer of YNHHS Chris O’Connor and YNHHS Chief Nursing Executive Beth Beckman, DNSc discussed the nationwide healthcare worker shortage and the ongoing desire for universities to be able to accept more students into nursing programs. The new partnership will address these issues by recruiting more qualified nursing student candidates and subsequently helping candidates with employment. 

“This is a true partnership in every sense of the word,” said Beckman. “We are solving for two main challenges — adequate student clinical placement and ample faculty to oversee their clinical learning. In this partnership, we intend to increase the pipeline of nurse graduates, with a special push to encourage more diverse candidates. We will make every effort to innovate solutions so that we no longer turn away qualified candidates who want to become a nurse.”  

This partnership promises to graduate at least 557 additional nurses over the course of the next four years, in addition to those already enrolled. YNHHS is also providing clinical experiences and scholarships to students enrolled in the accelerated second degree nursing program.

“Fairfield’s Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies could not be more proud and excited to join Yale in this important partnership,” said Dean Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN. “Within this initiative, we will collaboratively engage in the next education of nurses to ensure high-quality healthcare for the patients and families we are honored to serve.”

Dean Kazer emphasized that as a Jesuit University, the school is steeped in reflective practice. When Yale New Haven Health approached the Egan School with this opportunity, Kazer did not hesitate. She noted that “Fairfield has always stood with our clinical partners, Fairfield has always stood with the nursing profession, and Fairfield has always been here to help.”

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Dean Kazer was working in partnership to find innovative ways to combat the nursing shortage that only worsened with Covid-19. She said, “We couldn’t have known back in 2019 that our nurses would bear witness to the deaths of almost a million individuals across the United States. We couldn’t have known that the pandemic would catapult the nursing shortage into a nursing and healthcare crisis.”

Even with the pandemic, universities including Fairfield Egan are experiencing an increased number of qualified students applying to nursing programs. “We weren’t sure how the pandemic would impact interest in the nursing profession. Nurses were heroes during this entire pandemic. We saw them masked up with goggles, working intense hours. We thought that may deter people from interest in the profession but it’s the opposite. People want to come and want to be nurses. It’s up to us to increase that educational capacity to ensure we have that opportunity to fill the pipeline and put more nurses into the profession.”

Tags:  Top Stories,  Egan School


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