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University News

Hackensack Meridian Health Partnership Drives Nursing Program Enhancements

Amanda Spengler nurse Hackensack Meridian Health

Amanda Spengler ’15 is a float nurse at Hackensack Meridan Health‘s Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where she’s worked since graduating from GCU’s nursing program.

becca wishbow student nursing alumna
Rebecca “Becca” Wishbow ’12 was a member of the nursing school’s first graduating class and a recipient of the C. R. Bard Foundation Nursing Scholarship through the ICFNJ.

The undergraduate nursing program at Georgian Court University recently celebrated its 10-year partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health. Since its inception, the Georgian Court–Hackensack Meridian Health School of Nursing has graduated more than 270 students and has provided an exceptional hands-on education that equips students for nursing careers.

Nursing is the largest major in the GCU School of Arts and Sciences, and several graduates can attest to the value of the partnership—and the university’s program as a whole.

Amanda Spengler ’15, now a nurse at Hackensack Meridian Health’s Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, was part of the program’s fourth graduating class and a recipient of the Johnson & Johnson Discover Nursing Scholarship through the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ). She says the small class sizes and personalized attention she received from faculty made a real difference in her nursing education. While some universities have hundreds of students, she liked her 30-person cohort. She says she also found professors readily available when she needed them.

“The faculty was so knowledgeable and caring toward each student. They went out of their way to be sure everyone felt comfortable in every subject. They tried their best so no one would get left behind,” she says.

Hackensack Meridian Health Partnership Crucial to Program Success

Teri Wurmser, Ph.D., MPH, RN, NEA-BC, chair of the nursing program, says the partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health was crucial to its success. The medical system provided faculty members, advisors, and insight to ensure the program would meet a high standard of nursing education.

Hackensack Meridian Health Co-CEO John K. Lloyd, who retired at the end of 2018, says he couldn’t be prouder of the collaboration between Georgian Court and the health network.

“It’s amazing to think about what’s been accomplished over the past 10 years. When creating this partnership, we set out to help address the nursing shortage in New Jersey and nationwide and improve the health of the communities we serve,” he says. “Considering the hundreds of people who have received their nursing degrees locally through this program, there’s no doubt we have moved the needle. And it’s only going to continue to grow.”

In November 2017, the program launched the RN to B.S.N. program, which makes earning a B.S.N.—the gold standard of the profession—more accessible for working nurses. In January 2021, the program will launch a 14-month accelerated nursing program (B.S. to B.S.N.) that prepares professionals for a transition to nursing.

Adapted from story by Gwen Moran in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of GCU Magazine. Story adapted for the Web by Kristen Fischer. Photos by Jim Connolly.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,200 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 14 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by Money.com and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at HazletGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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