Nursing Students Celebrate First Day of School at New Campus

Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing Begins Integration with Rowan University

September 6, 2022 marks the first day of classes for many students throughout the United States, including the 191 future health care professionals enrolled at Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing. This is the largest student body in the school’s history, and, for the first time, students will attend classes at Rowan University due to the academic affiliation established by Virtua Health and Rowan at the beginning of the year.

“Moving our school to Rowan’s Stratford campus is a big step forward for our program and for advancing the meaningful connection shared by Virtua and Rowan,” said Shirley Richardson, EdD, RN, dean of Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing. “It’s exciting for the faculty and students alike to be part of a vibrant college campus.”

Prior to the move, Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing held classes in an educational suite within Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden. According to Dr. Richardson, the nursing program was beginning to outgrow the space, making the opportunity to move to the Rowan campus extra appealing.

Dr. Richardson also cites benefits to being part of a thriving campus community, including access to libraries and simulation labs, and opportunities to interact with students enrolled in other forms of health care education.

“We hope to collaborate more and more with the osteopathic medicine students and other groups. This will better replicate the interdisciplinary nature of working in a hospital, medical practice, and various health care settings,” Dr. Richardson said.

In time, Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing will further integrate into Rowan’s portfolio of academic offerings and become a BSN program (meaning nurses will graduate with a bachelor’s degree). Because of the academic affiliation between Rowan and Virtua Health, there will also be increased opportunities for onsite training and simplified pathways to meaningful careers.

"We are excited to have the Our Lady of Lourdes nursing program move onto our Stratford campus as the first part of integrating our two nursing programs,” said Rowan University Provost Tony Lowman. “Nurses are such a critical part of health care and all of our health systems desperately need more. By moving this program to our campus, these students are educated alongside our future doctors, adding a new opportunity for inter-professional education in our newly established Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences. This is an exciting new development in our partnership with Virtua Health and, as our relationship rapidly expands, we’re excited about what the future holds.”

Recently named a “Healthcare Hero” by NJBIZ, Dr. Richardson said she is excited for what the future holds: “South Jersey has long been a hub for health care excellence. With Virtua and Rowan working so closely together, it will be better than ever.”