School of Nursing: New master’s degree in Nursing Leadership

School of Nursing: New master’s degree in Nursing Leadership

The University’s newly developed master’s in Nursing Leadership program (LEAD), received the 2014 American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award. The award, presented during the annual meeting this fall, recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools and supports them as they re-envision traditional models for nursing education.

“The Leadership MSN was designed to be flexible within the rapidly changing healthcare market, while meeting the updated national accreditation standards,” said Dr. Sally Gerard, who leads the program. “It supports interprofessional education through use of the other disciplines on campus, all of which have talented faculty and highly qualified students.”

The redesigned program includes an elective list of course offerings developed so that students can consider courses from different disciplines or concentrate in areas such as business, marketing, informatics, biotechnology, communication, education, or special populations. Faculty from disciplines other than nursing teach or co-teach within the LEAD program.

The LEAD program, which is operated in close collaboration with the Western Connecticut Health Network, enrolled its first class of 24 students in September 2013; a new class of approximately 35 students began in fall 2014.


Nursing highlights
• Fairfield’s School of Nursing has been named one of the 10 best colleges at which to study nursing in the nation. The ranking was reported in Brighthub, a publication of, and was based on student reports of program and career success after graduation.

• Dr. Sheila Grossman was named one of the Top 25 Nurse Practitioner Program Professors in the country by Nurse Practitioner Schools, an educational and career resource for nurse professionals published by Sechel Ventures. Eligible candidates must be professors at top-rated nurse practitioner programs, and were evaluated on the scholarly trajectory of their national publications. Research, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and leadership positions at their schools were among the other criteria. In 2012, Dr. Grossman was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), the most prestigious honor in the field of nursing.

• The Health Resource and Service Administration (HRSA) continued its support of the School of Nursing with a $605,000 continuing renewal grant to support nurse practitioner student education as primary care providers. This grant allows the University to provide approximately $11,000 per year in scholarship support for part-time and graduating nurse practitioner students, and between $15,000 to $20,000 per year for full-time nurse practitioner students in the DNP program.

• On behalf of the School of Nursing, Dr. Eileen O’Shea, faculty chair for the Student Nurse Association, earned a place among 100 nursing schools honored to offer a sponsored White Coat Ceremony. The ceremony, traditionally held only for medical students, acknowledges the sophomore nursing student’s entry into clinical practice. The guest speaker at the ceremony was Linda Berger-Spivack, statewide director of the Connecticut Nursing Collaborative Action Coalition.