As of the start of the spring semester, Montclair State’s newest construction project, The School of Nursing, was completed and is currently up and running in Partridge Hall.
While there was much anticipation for this vibrant addition to Montclair State’s campus, it has already been followed with some disappointment from a number of undergraduate students.
This new program is for graduate students only, meaning that students who wish to enroll in Montclair State’s School of Nursing must first receive their associate’s degree as well as a current New Jersey nursing license before being eligible for this particular program.
In fact, a few students are even considering transferring to other schools in the area, such as William Paterson University or Bergen Community College, since they currently offer nursing programs for undergraduates.
Jenna Gambino, an 18-year-old undeclared freshman in her second semester at Montclair State, was one of those students heavily anticipating the new School of Nursing.
Recounting her feelings during enrollment, Gambino said, “When I heard that there was a new nursing building under construction, I was excited because nursing was something I was considering off the bat. It was honestly one of the biggest reasons I applied to Montclair State in the first place.”
Yet when she returned to campus for the spring semester, she was disappointed with the reality of what the building offered, realizing then that it did not offer a program for undergraduates.
She stated that she “knew from the beginning that William Paterson offered a nursing program,” but was “really looking forward to seeing what Montclair [State] was going to have in store” for her.
Jenna said that with this new-found knowledge, she is now looking into the undergraduate nursing program at William Paterson University for the fall.
Currently, The School of Nursing offers a program for registered nurses (RNs) that gives them opportunity to further their careers and receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). By fall of 2017, a full BSN program will become available, followed by a Master of Nursing (MSN) program, a five-year BSN-MSN program, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
While new graduate level programs are expected for the upcoming semesters, another freshman in her second semester, biology major Alexis Joyce, has found herself expressing similar disappointment in this news.
She explained that she was told coming in by staff that she would be able to transfer into the nursing program around the start of the spring semester. Unfortunately for Joyce, that did not happen.
Joyce said that, if she had known that an undergraduate program through The School of Nursing would not be available right away, she would have chosen a school that had already accepted her into an undergraduate nursing program.
Joyce expressed that Montclair’s staff “should have let students know about this so they didn’t waste their time and money.” She is now looking into Bergen County Community College to enroll in their undergraduate nursing program.
Montclair State did publish multiple articles on the university website outlining in advance what the program was going to offer. However, students have to manually search and or look for these articles, and the school failed to stress that they do not offer a nursing program for undergraduates just yet. They instead just do not mention it, and according to Joyce, had made a promise they could not fulfill at the time.
On the other hand, while the building’s completion and operation has now made it clear that an undergraduate nursing program does not currently exist at Montclair State, the school is in the process of making it a possibility.
Dr. Janice Smolowitz, the dean of the School of Nursing, explained where the school is currently at in terms of providing an undergraduate program for students interested in nursing.
“We have gotten a lot of inquiries from people wanting to find out about [the undergraduate program],” Smolowitz said. “All we can say right now is that, yes, we are in the process of making that happen, and when the New Jersey Board of Nursing says that’s okay, then we will put it up on our website immediately. But until the Board of Nursing gives us a total approval of the curriculum, staffing and resources, I can’t say anything.”