Montclair State University announced Wednesday it has appointed the founding dean of a new School of Nursing scheduled to open in the fall.
Janice Smolowitz, currently a senior director at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, will take office next month, university officials announced.
The nursing school will open in the fall with a "RN to BSN" degree program, which is designed for current registered nurses to earn a bachelor of science degree. Other degree programs are scheduled to begin rolling out in 2017, campus officials said.
The new nursing school comes as colleges and universities across New Jersey are scrambling to set up programs to help working registered nurses quickly upgrade their diplomas and two-year nursing degrees to bachelor of science, or BSN, degrees.
Under new recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, an influential non-profit group that advises the government and industry on health issues, many hospitals and medical institutions are requiring most or all of their registered nurses to hold bachelor's degrees within the next decade.
That has sent many working nurses back to school and increased demand for nursing schools.
Rutgers, Fairleigh Dickinson, Kean and Seton Hall are among the nearby universities that already have nursing schools.
Under Montclair State's current nursing program, biology students can earn a bachelor's degree in science from Montclair and a master's in nursing from Seton Hall through a partnership between the two schools.
Montclair's new nursing schools will be a few miles away from Seton Hall's new medical school, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 on the former site of the Hoffmann-LaRoche pharmaceutical company on Route 3 on the Clifton-Nutley border.
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