The Egan School Goes Southwest

The Egan School Goes Southwest

Renderings for the state-of-the-art simulation labs and facility in Texas. Renderings courtesy of Newman Architects

Renderings for the state-of-the-art simulation labs and facility in Texas. Renderings courtesy of Newman Architects

Seeking to grow its programming while addressing the critical shortage of nursing professionals around the country, Fairfield’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies has recently announced plans to open a new facility in Austin, Texas.

A 23,040-square-foot Austin property located at 7951 Shoal Creek Boulevard is being remodeled to mirror the facility on Fairfield’s Connecticut campus. The new location will have classrooms and several simulation labs, including a simulated intensive care unit and a surgical suite.

“We had a list of criteria to help us determine the ideal lo - cation for the new school*,” said Dean Meredith Kazer, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN. “Competition from other nursing schools in the area, job availability, and high-quality clinical placements were all things to consider.”

The deciding factor, Dean Kazer noted, came down to choosing an area that could support the most favorable clinical placements, which will help students attain professional competencies. Although the need for new nurses is well-known, it’s often a challenge to find capacity for these high-quality clinical experiences.

The city of Austin checked all the boxes. “Not only were we able to facilitate excellent clinical affiliations there, we got an amazing reception,” said Dean Kazer.

Fairfield Egan’s Texas clinical partnerships currently include Baylor Scott and White Health, AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, and Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

fairfield university facilities in austin

Fairfield University facility in Austin

The 15-month, full-time program starts with highly qualified stu - dents who already have a bachelor’s degree. “It’s a good solution to the crisis of the country’s critical shortage of nurses,” Dean Kazer said. Employment opportunities for nurses in the next decade are projected to grow 15 percent, faster than all other occupations.

“There are nine institutions in the Central Texas area offering nursing programs, but only two offer second-degree programs,” said Lucina Kimpel, PhD, MSN, RN, who was recently hired as the new director of Fairfield Egan’s Austin program. “The second-degree program will be a welcome addition for those seeking a career change.”

“Patients are coming in today with multi-dimensional health issues, and nurses need to think critically,” Dr. Kimpel added. “We see patients who would have been in intensive care years ago. Hospitals now are asking nurses to get involved in evidencebased practice, and you need a bachelor’s degree to have that background.”

The Austin site will have classrooms and offices on the third floor, and several simulation labs (including a simulated ICU and surgical suite) on the floor above. The curriculum will be identical to the one used at Fairfield. The first cohort of 20 to 25 students will be admitted in May 2023, with a second cohort to enter the following January. It’s anticipated that other degree programs, such as the DNP with a concentration in nurse anesthesia, will eventually be offered at the Austin site as well.

“Our job now is to get the word out about the strength of our program and to promote the Fairfield name in a new area of the country,” said Dean Kazer

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