Catholic Health and Niagara University Launch Unique Nurse Scholars Program

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August 20, 2009

Catholic Health is teaming up with Niagara University’s Department of Nursing to offer a unique “RN to BSN” degree pathway for its registered nurses who want to advance their careers.

The Catholic Health Nurse Scholars initiative, scheduled to begin in January 2010, will offer qualified nurses employed by Catholic Health the opportunity to earn a Niagara University Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 30 months through a special partnership between the university and the health system.

“Nursing is a dynamic field with a lot of opportunities for practitioners with advanced degrees,” said Michael Moley, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Catholic Health. “This partnership will give our nurses the tools they need to grow within the profession and take on more challenging roles within our system.”

Catholic Health will cover the cost of tuition and books, and provide a laptop computer for each nurse enrolled in the program. In exchange, the nurses agree to remain employed within Catholic Health for three years after earning their bachelors’ degrees.

Through a unique arrangement with Catholic Health, Niagara University will offer some classes at Catholic Health’s Education Center at the Appletree Business Park in Cheektowaga, with instructors from the university’s Department of Nursing.

“Catholic Health and Niagara University share a special relationship and a common desire to improve the quality of healthcare throughout Western New York,” said Frances Crosby, Chairperson, Department of Nursing. “This important collaborative effort will add a new dimension to nursing education in our community.”

Over the next several months, Catholic Health will be selecting the first group of candidates to be considered for this exclusive education program. “In a time of nursing shortages and health care reform, this program will help us recruit and retain nurses who are committed to life-long learning and practical excellence,” said Mary Kay Vause, Director of Staff Development for Catholic Health. “Together with Niagara University, we are growing our future.”

NU will continue to offer its regular bachelor’s degree completion program for other eligible RNs in the community. It has been designed to be flexible in delivery for working nurses, while maintaining the high standards for which Niagara nurses are recognized. Information about Niagara University’s nursing program can be obtained by calling (716) 286-8155 or online at