For their professional success, future contributions to the health care of New Hampshire’s citizens, and their commitment to the health and well-being of their fellow citizens, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan recognized Colby-Sawyer College’s exceptional 2016 undergraduate nursing class with a commendation at the Governor and Executive Council meeting held on campus Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The commendation was presented to Associate Professor and Chair of Colby-Sawyer’s undergraduate nursing program, Joan G. Loftus, DNP, RN, who was joined by recent graduates Amanda Chasse, Rebecca Hashem and Grace Lavoie. It notes nurses’ critical role in the health and well-being of New Hampshire’s families, communities and economy; the national workforce shortage in all areas of health care, and Colby-Sawyer’s part in addressing this challenge.

One hundred percent of Colby-Sawyer’s 2016 undergraduate nursing class passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), on their first attempt (by comparison, the 2015 national pass average was 86.77 percent). Of the 33 graduates, 27 are now employed as Registered Nurses in New Hampshire; 25 of them are at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC).

At the earlier breakfast meeting, Dr. Susan Reeves ’88, dean of the Colby-Sawyer College School of Nursing and Health Professions and Gladys A. Burrows Distinguished Professor of Nursing addressed the governor and council about the state’s nursing shortage. Dean Reeves, appointed this spring by Gov. Hassan to the Commission on Health Care and Community Support Workforce, noted that New Hampshire has the second highest oldest population; many in the nursing field are nearing retirement age; there is a shortage of nursing faculty; the demands and stressors of nursing drive people out of the profession, and there is a high turnover and vacancy rate in the state.

“We have to do something about making sure we have adequate programs for nursing students,” said Dean Reeves. “Faculty shortage is driving a lot of our challenges; we have a high quantity of quality nursing programs in this state, both at the associate degree and baccalaureate levels, and certainly numerous graduate programs, but the interest in our programs exceeds our ability to make spaces available for the students.”

About Nursing at Colby-Sawyer

The Colby-Sawyer College Nursing Program was established in 1981 in partnership with DHMC, its clinical education facility. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing.

This spring, Colby-Sawyer also graduated its first cohort in its RN to BS degree program. The online program provides a flexible and affordable way for practicing nurses with associate degrees to earn a BSN.

This fall, Colby-Sawyer will expand its nursing education options to offer its first graduate program, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). In collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Colby-Sawyer’s MSN program, co-designed by nursing leaders from Colby-Sawyer and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, will initially enroll a cohort of 12 part-time students from a segment of DHMC employees to fill the demand for the new role of Clinical Nurse Leader. Applications for the MSN program are now being accepted.