Rowan College of South Jersey, Rowan University, and Inspira Health break ground on the Inspira Health Nursing & Health Professions building addition. (Left to right) Dr. Frederick Keating, RCSJ president; Dr. Ali Houshmand, Rowan University president; Amy Mansue, president and CEO of Inspira Health; Carly Dyal, 2022 RCSJ graduate and Inspira R.N.; Nicole Czbas, RCSJ Nursing student and Inspira employee; Frank DiMarco, Gloucester County Board of Commissioners director; Dr. Susan Hall, RCSJ Nursing & Health Professions dean; Dr. Brenden Rickards, RCSJ provost; Michael Girone, Rowan College Foundation chairperson; and Greg Lopergolo, RCSJ Board of Trustees member. (Photo courtesy of Inspira Health/Michael Ein)
On October 10, Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), Rowan University, and Inspira Health introduced the Pathway to Nursing, which offers current and aspiring Inspira employees the opportunity to save big while earning their B.S.N.
“I'm proud to be here to celebrate another great opportunity for our students to be successful in the medical arena," said Frank DiMarco, Gloucester County Board of Commissioners director. “Not only does the Pathway to Nursing program offer students an excellent career path, but it also helps solve the major nursing shortage that our region and nation are struggling to address."
Since April 2022, Inspira employees and RCSJ students have benefited from the healthcare giant's premier partnership with the College. Students have gained access to new programs developed with Inspira's guidance, exclusive scholarships, priority clinical placements at Inspira facilities, and pre- and post-graduation employment opportunities; while full-time, part-time, and per diem employees of Inspira receive a 50% discount on tuition and fees when they enroll in any of RCSJ's 100+ degree and certificate programs.
“We all know that there is a national shortage of nurses. Our nurses are our partners in care and crucial to the care team," said Amy B. Mansue, president and CEO of Inspira Health. “This program will help us expand the number of nurses in our region and for that, we are truly grateful."
Students following the new Pathway to Nursing utilize the “3+1" Nursing program, offered in collaboration with flagship partner Rowan University, to complete their first three years of education at RCSJ and their final year at Rowan University – earning industry-valued credentials along the way that qualify them for employment at Inspira and other healthcare providers in a little as three months. Full- and part-time employees of Inspira will have their fourth-year tuition at Rowan University paid in full by Inspira, in addition to the 50% discount on RCSJ tuition and fees. During their senior year, students are only responsible for the cost of textbooks and other educational materials; however, full- and part-time Inspira employees are eligible for textbook reimbursement.
“If you look across America, where else can you find an opportunity to go to school, get a degree and not be deeply indebted, and have a job waiting for you after that," asked Dr. Ali Houshmand, Rowan University president. “We have removed the need for such debt through this great partnership because we have leadership at the elected level that is forward looking and willing to partner with us to provide resources, whether it's infrastructure, political support, or financial support for students."
The Pathway to Nursing is designed to provide industry-valued certificates – including CNA, Medication Aide, Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, and LPN – in three to nine months, with full-time attendance. These certificates, offered through RCSJ's Division of Career and Technical Education, provide rapid employability and lead to acceptance into RCSJ's Nursing program. The College's partnership with Rowan University provides a seamless transition to the four-year university for students who choose to pursue their B.S.N. or M.S.N.
“We are dedicated to preparing healthcare professionals, and especially nurses, to meet the needs of our communities," stated dean of RCSJ's Nursing & Health Professions division, Dr. Susan Hall. “I am grateful to our partners, Rowan University and Inspira Health, along with our remarkable faculty, who have done an amazing job of collaborating to meet the needs of our students so they can graduate fully prepared to care for the health of New Jersey's residents."
The pathway is built with on- and off-ramps to fit individual needs. After earning an R.N., students may wish to take a break from education and focus on work, so the program is designed to allow them to reenter when they are ready to earn their B.S.N. Interested healthcare professionals who already possess a related credential or their R.N., along with valuable expertise earned on the job, will be assessed and welcomed onto the next step of Pathway to Nursing.
“Along with being in this program, I work at Inspira Urgent Care in Sewell as a receptionist," explained first-year Nursing student and Inspira employee, Nicole Czbas. “I intend to use the Inspira tuition discount for the remainder of my schooling. After I complete the R.N. program, I plan to transfer to the B.S.N. program using the 3+1 program. This partnership between RCSJ, Rowan and Inspira will be monumental for the students in my field."
The first three years of education can be completed on RCSJ's Cumberland or Gloucester campus. The final year can be completed in-person on Rowan University's Camden or Glassboro campus, virtually through Rowan Online, or on a RCSJ campus. After securing their B.S.N., graduates who had their final year of the program paid by Inspira agree to a two-year employment commitment with the organization. B.S.N graduates who chose to earn their M.S.N. will be actively sought by RCSJ to enhance the College's faculty and program advisory boards.
“For me, the most exciting part of today was watching these 120-some RCSJ Nursing students join us for today's announcement, because it has given me the opportunity to witness firsthand why we are doing this," remarked Dr. Frederick Keating, RCSJ president. “This is what it's about: Drawing talented and creative people to the field of medicine so that we can meet the needs of the future. There's not a single component of allied health or nursing that is not desperately needed in this county."
The “3+1" Nursing program is open to all individuals who meet academic criteria; employment with Inspira is not required for enrollment. However, to enjoy the full benefits of the Pathway to Nursing, RCSJ students are encouraged to explore
Careers.InspiraHealthNetwork.org to discover employment opportunities for job seekers at all levels of education and secure their place on a pathway to graduating with minimal debt and gainful employment.
“I was lucky to have amazing faculty at RCSJ that were all invested in helping my cohort to become great nurses," reflected Carly Dyal, 2022 RCSJ graduate and current R.N. at Inspira Medical Center, Mullica Hill. “When it came time to apply for jobs, I knew I wanted to work for Inspira. Most of my clinicals were at Inspira facilities and the staff all seemed to really enjoy their jobs. My expectations have been exceeded. The organization as a whole truly cares about their employees, and they foster an environment of constant learning and growth. I feel that my transition from nursing student to nurse went extremely smoothly and Inspira has provided me with so many opportunities and support."
The event concluded with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Inspira Nursing & Health Professions Center. The expansion project currently underway, paid for through the Securing our Children's Future Bond Act, will add eight fully equipped laboratory spaces and allow for a 25% increase in the number of students accepted into the College's healthcare certificate programs. These programs quickly deliver the credentials required for immediate employment to aspiring healthcare professionals and provide an affordable, streamlined path to those looking to advance within their field, increase their earning potential, and achieve their career goals through the Pathway to Nursing.
“This expansion wouldn't be possible without the support and vision of our County, our State, and our partners, Rowan University and Inspira," stated Dr. Brenden Rickards, RCSJ provost. “Without their support, we could not develop new and innovative programs that will support the workforce of tomorrow."
To learn more about the Pathway to Nursing and the 30+ healthcare degree and certificate programs offered through RCSJ, visit