NEWBURGH – As students returned to SUNY Orange for the opening day of the Spring 2024 semester on Monday (Jan. 22), the College welcomed 24 additional new students in the Newburgh campus nursing program, expanding the program by 50 percent at a time when the Hudson Valley is experiencing a shortage of available nurses.
The 24 new students began their studies in the nation’s oldest associate degree nursing program, entering a program long renowned for its excellence and for producing highly competent and skilled graduates who, upon graduation, are immediately in high demand locally and regionally.
During the Summer of 2022, SUNY Orange received one-time SUNY incremental funding to support enrollment and retention initiatives. The College allocated a portion of its funds to examining the feasibility of expanding the nursing program in Newburgh. Through that study, the College has been able to identify new classroom and laboratory space in Kaplan Hall, complete necessary renovations and purchase the equipment needed to accommodate the additional students.
“The College is keenly aware of the shortage of available nurses in the Hudson Valley, and we recognize we are in a position to help,” said Dr. Erika Hackman, SUNY Orange provost. “We identified available space on the Newburgh campus that would allow us to expand the program there. This expansion demonstrates the College’s ability to respond to the workforce and educational needs of our community.”
“Access to our nursing program is highly competitive. We annually have qualified applicants who we cannot accept because we have limited seats in the program, so we knew that we could easily fill those 24 additional seats,” added Dr. Pat Russell, chair of the College’s Nursing Department. “The longstanding history of our nursing program draws prospective students to the College. We teach and train our students to high standards, and they perform well in clinicals and on their licensure exams. As graduates, they are highly sought-after by local healthcare providers who recognize the overall excellence of our program.”
Stringent accreditation standards by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) lay out a rigorous degree-specific curriculum designed to assure graduates are well-prepared and proficient. In testing data covering the 2023 calendar year, recent SUNY Orange nursing graduates far exceeded state and national averages on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) with 93.7 percent of the College’s alumni who took the exam in 2023 passing on the first attempt.
Graduates from the Middletown campus evening nursing program enjoyed a 100 percent pass rate on their first attempt, while the Middletown day program grads posted a 96.2 percent pass rate and the Newburgh graduates passed at an 85.7 percent rate on their initial attempt. The national pass rate for associate degree programs was 88.5 percent while the New York State pass rate was 84.4 percent.
SUNY Orange nursing graduates and senior nursing students with an active RN license also have an affordable and accessible direct pathway to an online bachelor of science in nursing degree at SUNY Empire thanks to a partnership between SUNY Orange and SUNY Empire.
Under the partnership, interested SUNY Orange nursing graduates will automatically be enrolled in SUNY Empire State College’s BSN program and SUNY Empire will waive application fees. The partnership provides scholarship options and allows the transfer of all 63 credits earned in the SUNY Orange nursing program—and a total of 79 community college credits–to SUNY Empire in order to reduce the time needed to complete the BSN program, saving students money over the course of their studies. Representatives from SUNY Empire maintain office space on the Newburgh campus to assist SUNY Orange students.