Lehman to Break Ground on $75 Million Nursing Facility, Launch DNP Program

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Photo of Nursing Facility
Photo of new nursing facility

Nursing is one of the Lehman College’s most popular—and highly ranked—programs; its chair, Alicia Georges, is one of the profession’s most respected names.

Now the program Georges built over a 40-year career will begin to offer a doctor in nursing practice (DNP) program beginning Fall 2020, and soon after, will call home a new $75 million, state-of-the-art Nursing, Education, Research and Practice Center, which will house the entire department. Lehman is scheduled to break ground on the 52,000 square-foot nursing facility in May of 2020.

"This Center is much needed and much deserved because educating new health professionals is so critical for improving the health status of this borough’s residents," Georges said. "The sound education here at Lehman and the many opportunities for research and professional development will allow our graduates to continue to take important leadership roles both in the healthcare system and in academia."

Funded by New York State through the City University of New York (CUNY) Capital Improvement Program, the New York City Council and the Bronx Borough Presidents Office, the Center will be located where the former bookstore stands, between Carman and Davis halls, and will support current nursing pedagogy, with campus-based simulation labs. Construction is expected to take three years to complete.

"Breaking ground for our new state-of-the-art nursing program building is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to equip our students with an academic environment that reflects the technology and advancements they’ll encounter in their careers," President Daniel Lemons said.

The ‘Future of Nursing’ at Lehman

Housed in the new center will be the only DNP program in the Bronx, and prospective applicants are already inquiring. Only two other CUNY schools offering doctoral programs in nursing: Hunter and The College of Staten Island; CUNY’s Graduate Center offers a Ph.D.

"The DNP program takes Lehman nursing and the College to a whole new level," said Elin Waring, interim dean of the School of Health Sciences, Human Services and Nursing. "It builds on the tradition of nursing excellence at Lehman and the leadership and hard work of the faculty led by Alicia Georges. The nurses trained in this program will have an important impact on health in the Bronx, the region and nationally."

The difference between a Ph.D. in nursing and a DNP is one of theory versus practice, Georges said. Although both are doctoral degrees requiring graduate course work and original research, nurses pursuing a DNP also gain high-level clinical experience as practitioners. The degree equips them to provide advanced levels of care and apply their research in a wide range of clinical settings.

"That’s why I think it's a good fit for us here, when you look at our faculty who have research doctorates and who have DNPs," Georges said.

With over 10 hospitals, in addition to numerous clinics, home health care agencies and specialized facilities, the healthcare industry is the largest employer in the Bronx. Lehman-trained nurses often have no trouble finding employment, and are often hired by partner institutions after graduation.

Yet, overall population health in the borough ranks low.

"The Bronx has the worst health indices in the state," Georges said. "Health problems arise within communities, and that's where they need to be solved. What we're doing, and the future of nursing, the trend, is looking at the social determinants of health."

The DNP program is open to registered nurses with a bachelor’s or master's degree, as well as family and pediatric nurse practitioners. It will enroll a total of 30 students each year (20 full time and 10 part time). Flexible course scheduling and summer sessions will accommodate students with family and job responsibilities to attract candidates who would not otherwise be able to attend school on a full-time basis, so that most full-time students can complete the program in five years.

"We're a public institution, our tuition is great, we've got a good reputation at Lehman—people know us, they know our history," said Georges. "We were the first undergraduate program in this country to teach health assessment, where our graduates could go and be practitioners with a B.S. That was 40-some years ago. We’ve got that reputation as being trailblazers."