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SUNY Poly, RMH forge agreement, offering RMH nurses a path to degrees to meet new state standards

By Eric Reinhardt


Pictured (from left to right) are Durinda Durr, chief nursing officer and VP of clinical services at Rome Memorial Hospital; David Lundquist, president and CEO of Rome Memorial Hospital; Kathleen Rourke, interim dean of SUNY Poly’s College of Health and Sciences; and Grace Wang, interim president of SUNY Poly. (Photo credit: Rome Memorial Hospital.)

ROME, N.Y. — SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) and Rome Memorial Hospital (RMH) on Thursday announced an agreement offering RMH nurses an option for earning degrees to meet new state standards.

The announcement comes two years after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what is known as the “BSN-in-10” law. It states that in order to maintain licensure as a registered professional nurse in New York state, registered nurses must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing within 10 years of their initial licensure.

Under the agreement, RMH nurses can pursue SUNY Poly’s bachelor and master’s-level nursing programs to meet New York’s increased standards for nurses. It also provides a new deferred-tuition option for nurses who meet certain requirements.

The school and the hospital held the signing ceremony Thursday at Rome Memorial Hospital.

The agreement designates RMH as SUNY Poly’s nursing practicum site, offering current registered nurses (RNs) the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing “completely online at their convenience.”

In addition, the master of science degree in family nurse practitioner will be a hybrid program, which includes both online and on-campus instruction. The school will also offer two master’s degree programs online, including nursing education and transformational leadership in nursing. The online programs help “to provide busy health-care leaders a convenient way to obtain higher-level nursing degrees,” SUNY Poly contends.

Students who meet grade requirements can take advantage of the deferred-tuition component of this program in which Rome Memorial Hospital will pay their tuition. Those who do not meet certain grade requirements can still benefit by paying tuition at the end instead of the beginning of the semester, SUNY Poly said.

“Rome Memorial Hospital is pleased to collaborate with SUNY Poly to provide our staff with opportunities to advance their professional development,” Durinda Durr, chief nursing officer and VP of clinical services at Rome Memorial Hospital, said in the SUNY Poly release. “Research shows that hospitals with a higher proportion of [bachelor’s degree] educated nurses have the best patient outcomes. They are academically prepared to manage multidisciplinary teams, collaborate and supervise those in new caregiver roles, and care for patients in all settings at the top of their scope of practice.”

Following Thursday’s announcement, representatives from SUNY Poly’s undergraduate and graduate admissions offices provided individual and group discussions about the agreement and enrollment information. It provided RMH employees a chance to discuss their individual questions with the SUNY Poly personnel to “better understand how they could take part in the new programs and what the benefits would mean for their specific situation,” SUNY Poly said.

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