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Alverno College Opens Nursing Education Center

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With an audience of elected officials, health care leaders and Alverno College senior leadership and alums, Alverno College and Synergis Education cut the ribbon on the college’s new nursing education center March 24 in Mesa. The 13,000-square-foot facility, located at 1202 S. Alma School Road, houses classrooms, offices and a state-of-the art simulation lab.

Mesa Mayor John Giles participated in the event and welcomed Alverno College to the community. “Alverno College is an award-winning institution with excellent programs, and I am pleased to welcome the new nursing education center to Mesa,” said Giles. “This is good for the residents of Mesa and for the health industry, leading to more qualified health professionals to fulfill workforce needs in our city and the region.”

Alverno College Opens Nursing Education Center signals az

Councilmember Francisco Heredia, representing District 3, was equally encouraged by Alverno’s decision to expand to Mesa. “The opening of Alverno College’s new nursing education center is a huge addition to west Mesa,” said Heredia. “It will help in the revitalization of the Fiesta District and meet the growing demand for nurses throughout the valley.”

The grand opening further underpins the successful partnership between Alverno and Synergis, and a shared dedication to degree programs that educate career-ready nurses at a time when they are critically needed.

According to the American Nurses Association, “By 2022, there will be far more registered nurse jobs available than any other profession, at more than 100,000 per year.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of registered nurses to grow nine percent from 2020 to 2030, and the need for nurses in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area is especially strong. According to data from Maricopa County, of which Mesa is a part, there was a 40 percent increase in the number of nursing vacancies from April 2020 to April 2021, adding to the urgency of the situation.

Through its partnership with Synergis Education, Alverno College plans to alleviate some of that pressure. “Alverno has always sought to meet the needs of the time, to be nimble and to ensure that those seeking educational access find open and welcoming doors,” said Alverno College President Andrea Lee, IHM, Ph.D. “We have tremendous regard for our partner in this endeavor, Synergis Education, and are thrilled to launch this program in a region where there is so much demand for skilled, compassionate health care providers.”

Alverno will offer its highly successful Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing program at the Mesa location. Originally launched on its Milwaukee, Wis., campus in January 2020, the DEMSN will be the only program in the Mesa area to award graduates both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in nursing. The 18 to 20 month, full-time program is designed for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and will prepare them to sit for the NCLEX licensing exam.

This initiative builds upon Alverno’s plans to expand its health care footprint and, in this case, to do so with Synergis Education. “Synergis Education has been so impressed with the leadership at Alverno College,” said Synergis CEO Norm Allgood. “At every level, they are dedicated to innovation and understand the need to expand access to education in high-demand fields.”

Well-known for the caliber of its nursing school graduates, Alverno was an attractive partner for Synergis, which has partnered with the college to launch its DEMSN program and develop its Mesa location. “Every collaboration is unique and customized for that institution,” Allgood added. “But in Alverno, we found a partner that truly embraced the full breadth of what Synergis has to offer, and the result is a program that will foster positive outcomes for the college, its students and communities they serve, which includes Mesa.”

A fully accredited, Catholic, Franciscan college dedicated to women’s education at the undergraduate level, Alverno offers graduate degrees to women and men, including the DEMSN. Alverno’s graduate programs are designed to deliver a personalized environment emphasizing collaboration and academic excellence. “When we consider our mission, our traditional areas of curricular strength and the escalating need in Arizona, we find this opportunity to be mission-centric and consistent with our strategic plan’s core strategies,” said Joseph Foy, Ph.D., Alverno’s vice president for Academic Affairs.

At full capacity, Alverno’s Mesa location will enroll more than 200 students annually, and the college is already forging impressive clinical relationships with Banner Health and the Mayo Clinic. As its presence in Mesa develops, the college hopes to bring attention to its other innovative degree programs.

Another recent addition to Alverno’s degree portfolio is the online Doctor of Education, also launched in partnership with Synergis. This program integrates dissertation development into the curriculum, allowing students to complete their dissertations in conjunction with, rather than following, their coursework. The Ed.D. program also offers an all-but-dissertation track for students who have achieved all-but-dissertation status in a doctoral program and are seeking the support necessary to complete their terminal degree.

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