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College to Offer Nurse Practitioner Degree Program

Two format options will prepare nursing students to take national exams for Adult/ Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification. 

Continuing on a 72-year tradition of graduating the very best that nursing has to offer, Keuka College is proud to announce the launch of its Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program, and will begin admitting its first group of students at the Keuka Park campus this September 2015.

Recently approved by the New York State Higher Education Office of the Professions, the Keuka College program will be offered in two formats. The first is a 42-credit master’s degree program designed for Registered Nurses (RNs) holding a bachelor’s degree. The second is a 19-credit post-master’s degree certification program designed for RNs already holding a master’s degree in nursing. Both formats prepare students for entry into advanced practice as an Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (NP) and both qualify graduates to take one of two national certification exams for NP certification.

Adult/Gerontology primary care NPs serve as primary health care providers in many settings. Keuka College’s program focuses on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver primary health care to all ages of adults. Classroom sessions are held one night a week, one course at a time, and the program consists of face-to-face and online instruction as well as 500 hours of clinical practicum.

Dr. Paul Forestell

Keuka College’s addition of the program is a reflection of the ever-increasing need for nurses and advanced-practice nurses in an era of aging populations and the changes in health care delivery under the Affordable Care Act. According to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Forestell, the current and future demand for Adult/Gerontolgy NPs is expanding rapidly and dramatically.

“Keuka College’s long record of excellence in educating nurses gives us confidence that we can help meet this need with outstanding graduates of our program,” he said. “The program combines a dynamic, world-class group of doctorally-prepared faculty; an innovative curriculum that will meet the needs of our students; and an extensive network of professional practice relationships that will enhance our students’ access to real-world experience.”

According to Dr. Debra Gates, a nurse practitioner herself and chair of the Keuka College Division of Nursing, organizations such as the Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI) further suggest a three-fold approach dubbed “Triple Aim” to address current health care needs. The IHI advises a need for professionals who will improve quality patient care and satisfaction, improve the health of populations and reduce per capita costs of health care. The new Keuka College NP program will ready nurses to meet these challenges, she said.

Dr. Debra Gates

“Our faculty members are very excited to offer this program. It’s been a long-time dream and we’re hopeful to meet the anticipated need for nurse practitioners in the communities we serve,” Dr. Gates said, adding that the College is eager to build on existing partnerships with regional health systems, especially those in rural areas serving these populations.

Providing an edge to the Keuka College degree is the depth of experience among the faculty, including eight of nine core instructors and another 15 adjunct professors all certified NPs. This means in addition to an education rooted in theory, students will glean hands-on experience from seasoned professionals.

Praising the potential in the College’s baccalaureate and master’s degree students, Dr. Gates added: “When they finish our R.N/B.S. or M.S.N. program, they already have tremendous capacity and expertise in so many clinical areas, we know they would be excellent candidates as nurse practitioners. We look forward to working with them.”

Applications are now being accepted, with a submission deadline of July 1, 2015. For more information on how to apply, please contact Admissions Counselor Patricia White at [email protected] or (315) 317-8455.

From Practice to Practical

Just before Christmas, Lisa Makarick finished a course in community health. Just after Christmas, Makarick discovered a profound contrast between the classroom and Cabarete, Dominican Republic, where she traveled with 11 others from Keuka College to bring health education to some of the youngest residents of the community.

“It’s one thing to do a windshield study on [community health] and it’s a whole other beast to do a service project, to get down there with the people and work hand-in-hand with them,” said Makarick, a Hammondsport resident.

Makarick is pursuing her baccalaureate nursing degree through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). She attends classes at Corning Community College, one of 2o ASAP sites around the state. Nine other nursing students from cohorts in the Syracuse, Elmira, Ithaca, and Utica areas, and one occupational science major from the home campus in Keuka Park, also traveled to Cabarete.

The Keuka students helped run health and wellness workshops for young girls and local families


From January 2-9, the Keuka College group, led by Patty Mattingly, associate professor of nursing, assisted the Mariposa DR Foundation, which invests in sustainable solutions to end generational poverty, serving girls as young as 8-years-old. By battling barriers that keep the poor vulnerable and limited, and offering support such as access to quality health care and education, the Mariposa DR Foundation seeks to educate, empower and employ girls in Cabarete to ultimately give back to their community.

The students presented a workshop on dental hygiene and hand-washing, gave a first-aid presentation to parents, and made home visits to assess safety risks and recommend follow-up by Foundation staff. In addition, students also toured a public hospital and an HIV clinic in the area. The trip also fulfilled Keuka College Field Period ™ requirements for the students. Typically, a Field Period ™ enables a student to explore professions, other cultures, or even provide community service for others, but usually, only one of those elements happens at one time. However, the 2014 Keuka College team accomplished all of the above.

Cabarete girls served by the Mariposa DR Foundation

According to Makarick, a maternal service nurse and mother of five who will finish her nursing program in April, the trip was an “amazing experience” that she hopes to repeat. The team worked with 15 girls, ages 8 -11, providing encouragement with extracurricular activities that included simple games and health-care instruction. In that region, children only attend a half-day of school and often lack positive alternatives to “just wandering around all afternoon,” said Makarick.

Thanks to one of her daughters, Makarick said she was educated on the threat of sex trafficking and modern slavery facing these young girls. According to New Friends, New Life, a human rights agency seeking to raise awareness, 13 is the average age at which American girls, particularly those vulnerable to poverty, are trafficked into the sex industry. For the poor and vulnerable from developing countries, where legal protection is nearly nonexistent, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution may happen even earlier. As such, Makarick said the impact the team could make was clear.

“I was absolutely not disappointed,” said Makarick. “You can see the effect fairly quickly, even small, little [things] of having someone encourage them … they just bonded with us, and we learned from them, too.”

The group split into two teams of six to conduct home inspections in the neighborhoods where the girls lived, and, in some cases, the level of poverty was “pretty overwhelming,” Mattingly said, describing scenarios where rat poison was left where children could come in contact with it. One student described barbed wire “clotheslines” so low to the ground that children’s bodies and faces bore cuts from running into it. Other elements of culture shock were encountered in el barrio (the ghetto) and the local hospital, which had just five beds in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and where equipment and staff practice was like “turning the clock back 30 years,” said Makarick.


Wertman Gift will Help Establish Center for Business Analytics & Health Informatics

Christine and Donald Wertman.

Keuka College has received a gift from Donald and Christine Wertman of Hall, N.Y., to help establish the Keuka College Center for Business Analytics & Health Informatics.

Donald Wertman is COO of Seedway LLC, vice president of the Keuka College Board of Trustees, and sits on the Finger Lakes Health (FLH) Board of Directors.

The Wertmans are supporting the Center because of their interest in health care, in particular student wellness.

“While we support all areas of the College’s Long Range Strategic Plan, we are financially supporting the component of the plan that deals with student wellness in all forms—physical, mental, and spiritual,” said Donald Wertman. “Wellness is critically important to student success.”

FLH plans to partner with the College on the project because “we believe it has the potential to improve the struggling economy of Yates County while enhancing the region’s health education opportunities and access to health care services,” said Dr. Jose Acevedo, president and CEO of FLH.

Keuka College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera agrees.

“The Center will leverage the College’s existing health care expertise and programs through its highly rated nursing and occupational therapy programs,” said Díaz-Herrera.

Keuka offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at sites around New York state through its Accelerated Studies for Adults (ASAP) program, as well as a bachelor’s degree in occupational science and master’s degree in occupational therapy on its home campus in Keuka Park.

Pending approval by the New York State Education Department, the College and FLH will jointly offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing beginning in fall 2014.

Díaz-Herrera expects the Center to anchor a new college-town development—called for in the strategic plan— that will become the hub for Yates County entrepreneurial programs and research.

Part of that college-town development could include a health clinic—perhaps managed by FLH—that would serve the needs of students and the community, according to Wertman.

While a health clinic remains only a possibility for now, there is no doubt that the Center for Business Analytics & Health Informatics would be a boon to Yates County in terms of jobs.

“The Center will provide the required infrastructure for expanding business opportunities and job creation in the region,” said Acevedo.

Díaz-Herrera said the Center will “create construction, high-tech, health sciences, and education jobs in addition to helping our region’s fastest growing employment sector train and retain a highly educated work force.

“The Center will help the county and region support the need for new high-tech industry development while providing health care workers with specific health informatics training,” said the president. “It is a perfect fit for our Digital [email protected] initiative.”

“It’s clear,” said Wertman, “that the Center and partnership between Keuka College and FLH will not only be a win-win for both entities, but for our entire community. We trust that our gift will inspire others to evaluate how they might share resources in support of Keuka College’s strategic plan.”

Nurses Promote Profession at State Fair

Keuka nursing student Meghan Shaw, right, talks with a visitor to the booth about a nursing career.

A group of Keuka College nursing students attended the New York State Fair but not to play games, ride the Ferris wheel, or take in the Grace Potter or Luke Bryan concerts.

The students—all registered nurses (RNs) pursuing bachelor’s degrees at Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) sites at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Onondaga Community College (OCC)—were there to encourage fellow nurses to follow in their footsteps.

According to Associate Professor of Nursing Carolyn Christie-McAuliffe, the students completed their Field Period, an annual 140-hour required internship, by securing a booth at the fair promoting the Future of Nursing organization.

“The main goal of the Future of Nursing booth was to show the public what the nursing future looks like, and encourage nurses with their RN to go back to school and earn their bachelor’s degrees,” said Christie-McAuliffe, who serves as co-regional leader of the Central New York chapter of the Future of Nursing.

“I am in my 33rd year of nursing and until now, I have hesitated to be involved with any nursing group,” said Christie-McAuliffe. “But the Future of Nursing is different. I think it represents all nurses equally, no matter what their level of education. The Future of Nursing organization provides opportunity for leadership and direction for nursing within the health care system.”

Carolyn Christie-McAuliffe, right, talked with visitors to the Future of Nursing booth.

And the Fair was a perfect vehicle to deliver the message.

According to Christie-McAuliffe, the students developed and provided information on specific schools for the various regions of the state; tips for adult students such as time management tricks; and information on how to obtain scholarships and loans to fund their continued education.

“The majority of RN visitors to the booth were clearly interested in pursuing their education, which we want to continue to encourage and support,” said Christie-McAuliffe.

In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation approached the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to propose a partnership between the two organizations. The resulting collaboration became the two-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the IOM. Its goal was to look at the possiblitiy of transforming the nursing profession to meet the challenges of a changing health care landscape. The report produced by the committee, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, makes specific and directed recommendations in the area of nurse training, education, professional leadership, and work force policy.

Through the initiative, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports the research agenda set forth by the report and implements the recommendations in the areas of nurse training, education, professional leadership, and work force policy. New York state was designated one of five initial pilot regional action coalitions to advance the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

Keuka nursing student Robin Neider, right, speaks with three visitors about the Future of Nursing and nursing as a career.

“One those recommendations—that RNs seek to further their education—was featured at our booth,” said Christie-McAuliffe. “In fact, the Future of Nursing has a goal that by 2020, 80 percent of all nurses will have their bachelor’s degrees. St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse has begun requiring all RNs to sign a pledge to complete their bachelor’s degree in a certain number of years.

“In addition to this requirement, the hospital also financially supports their nurses to pursue their continued education,” added Christie-McAuliffe. “Decisions by health care institutions such as this encourages nurses to obtain their bachelor’s degrees. In part, because hospitals like St. Joseph’s are making these investments, it is evidence that patient outcomes are improved when higher percentages of RNs in the institution have bachelor’s degrees.”

The students “were charged with everything pertaining to the booth, from initiating the contract with the state fair, soliciting volunteers from across the state, soliciting funds, and developing and distributing literature,” said Christie-McAuliffe. “They also openly shared their experiences as a nurse and as a student with visitors to the booth. From this experience, the students will take what they have learned to their classes and places of employment. They will also analyze the results of the event for future recommendations and create a manual for next year.”

ASAP Trio Receive Adult Student Award

Randy Kuhn Jr., Kellie Gatson, and Edie Smith

Life can be particularly challenging for adult students.

Successfully juggling college studies with family and job responsibilities is a remarkable accomplishment.

Maintaining a lofty grade point average and serving your community while doing so is worthy of special recognition, which three students who earned, or are earning degrees through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), received last night (April 24).

Randy Kuhn Jr., Edith (Edie) Smith, and Kellie Gatson were among some 30 adults who received the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education’s (RACCE) Outstanding Adult Student Award at the organization’s 30th Annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet at the Woodcliff  Hotel and Spa in Victor. (more…)