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Pitt–Greensburg to offer 4-year nursing degree

Debra Erdley
| Monday, March 13, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Looking to expand its footprint in the community, the University of Pittsburgh–Greensburg will offer a nursing degree this fall.

The school hopes to admit 25 students in the first year of its four-year bachelor of science in nursing program and ultimately 40 students a year to a program that will fall under Pitt's highly touted College of Nursing.

The nursing program, which routinely is listed in the top 10 among U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings, typically admits 145 students a year in Oakland out of 1,400 to 1,800 applicants.

“We've been talking about this for a couple of years and made a commitment to do it a year ago in August when it became clear that there was a growing nursing shortage and that it was hitting Westmoreland County with a vengeance,” said Sharon Smith, president of Pitt-Greensburg. “They are experiencing the same difficulties here as elsewhere across the state.”

Nursing students at the Greensburg campus will do all clinical training at Excela facilities, with the exception of pediatrics. Smith said the program calls for students to travel to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC for that training rotation.

The move will mark the third bachelor of science in nursing program at Pitt campuses. Johnstown also offers a nursing degree.

In Westmoreland County, students can study for a two-year degree leading to a registered nursing license at Westmoreland County Community College or a graduate specialty degree for nurse anesthetists at St. Vincent College in Unity.

The new nursing program comes on the heels of several other health-related programs Pitt is launching in Greensburg. The school already has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. Smith said it is in the process of starting a bachelor's degree program in health science that would be a preparatory program for graduate work in physical therapy or occupational therapy.

The new programs arrive as Pitt-Greensburg works to claw its way back from a decade of enrollment declines at the campus that counted 1,562 undergraduate students last fall, down from 1,918 in 2003.

“We're looking at starting the kind of thing that was a rebirth for Allegheny County with the eds and meds explosion, move it to our county to allow students to stay here and have a prosperous life,” Smith said.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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