Category: Nursing News

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Nursing Program Named to the Top 10 in New Jersey

Caldwell, N.J., Dec. 20, 2019 — Caldwell University’s undergraduate nursing program has been named one of the top 10 nursing schools in New Jersey.  The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree was recognized by as one of the leading programs in the state.

Donna Naturale, DNP, MSN, RN, APN-BC, associate dean in Caldwell’s School of Nursing and Public Health, says the ranking recognizes the talent and hard work of the faculty and students.  “This ranking acknowledges how we strive to prepare our students to excel, to practice nursing in a global environment and to make a difference in their field when they graduate.”

Caldwell nursing graduates passed the state nursing licensure exam known as NCLEX at a 98% rate in 2018 which is higher than the national pass rate.  To date, 94% of Caldwell’s 2019 nursing program graduates have successfully passed the NCLEX exam.Ninety-five percent of Caldwell’s recent bachelor’s degree earners are working, enrolled in further education or serving in the military.

Caldwell’s undergraduate nursing program includes a mix of laboratory activities, including simulation, in the university’s state-of-the-art nursing lab, and clinical experiences with diverse populations of patients in a variety of healthcare agencies and community centers.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Caldwell University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Caldwell recently added a fully online Master’s of Science degree in Nursing in Population Health where graduates will be qualified to work as positions such as a care coordinator, project, case and nurse managers in outpatient facilities, hospitals, public health departments, and in insurance and quality improvement fields. They will also be prepared to teach in undergraduate college and university nursing programs.

To find out more about Caldwell’s University’s nursing programs and its School of Nursing and Public Health, go to:

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Caldwell University Reaches New Highs with Nursing Board Pass Rates

Natalie Pedri working in the hospital.

Caldwell, N.J. – Oct. 5, 2018 – Caldwell University Nursing faculty members were thrilled to learn that all of their 2018 traditional students passed their boards, paving the way for their next step as nurses. Brenda Peterson, Ph.D., associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, said they are very proud of this 100% pass rate of their May 2018 bachelor of science nursing graduates.  The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN™) is a national examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada.  In addition to the traditional students, those students who came in for nursing as a second degree, passed at a 94.7 percent rate.  When combined, Caldwell boasts an impressive overall pass rate of approximately 98 percent for May 2018 graduates.

The School’s clinical partners are reporting great interest in Caldwell University BSN graduates and many of the May 2018 graduates had exciting jobs awaiting them before they even earned their license.  “Our graduates are now employed in positions across New Jersey and the mid-Atlantic including a residency with Georgetown University Surgical Intensive Care Unit, as well as roles in acute care settings that include the emergency room, behavioral health, labor and delivery, and cardiac step-down telemetry unit, just to mention a few,” said Petersen.

Matthew Amling’18 is the Caldwell graduate currently at Georgetown. “Without the education that I received from Caldwell’s Nursing program, I would never have been able to take on this amazing opportunity.” The “realistic simulations and mock emergent situations in the nursing lab at Caldwell,” he said, prepared him for his work with patients.

Caldwell’s Nursing program, said Petersen, prepares future nurses “with the core values of our university—respect, integrity, community and excellence–that become embedded within their practices.”

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Nursing Students Encouraged to See their Profession as an Art as they Receive Clinical White Coats

Nursing students in their clinical white coats 740_460
Nursing students smiling in their clinical white coats 740_460
Nursing students in their clinical white coats 740_4601
Nursing Student

One doesn’t usually associate Michelangelo’s “The Pieta” with nursing.  But veteran nurse Dr. Lorraine McEvoy sees a connection between the masterpiece and her profession. At Caldwell University’s annual white coat ceremony for junior nursing students on Sept. 6, McEvoy recalled the moving experience of seeing “The Pieta” at the World’s Fair in 1964 when she was a child. Later, when McEvoy decided to become a nurse, she learned that Florence Nightingale associated nursing with the fine arts.

McEvoy quoted Nightingale: “Nursing is an art; and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion and as hard preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with canvas or marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit?  Nursing is one of the fine arts.” Since Nightingale’s time, said McEvoy, the devotion, preparation and compassion of nursing have “underpinned its evolution to embody the highest and most important art form: care.” Becoming a nurse, said McEvoy, “is one of the most selfless acts a person can undertake.”

The nursing students proudly received their jackets and their Humanism in Medicine pins, a milestone as they begin their clinical work in hospitals and health care centers. The students were cloaked by the nursing faculty, who “personally delivered” the cloaks “as a gift of faith, confidence and compassion,” said Dr. Kathleen Kelly, associate professor and assistant director of the School of Nursing and Public Health. The ritual, she said, is “a reminder of the ideals that have always characterized professional nursing and the mission of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation,” which is the organization that originally made possible the ceremony through a grant and that provides the pins.  Those ideals, said Kelly are, “caring, compassion and humanism toward the people we serve.”

Dr. Brenda Petersen, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, told the students, parents and other guests that the ceremony was dedicated to Stephanie Faust, a student who passed away over the summer and was to start in the nursing program this fall. An empty seat with Faust’s photo was held as Petersen led the audience in a moment of silence.

Dr. Ellina Chernobilsky, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs, said  the white coat represents the professional integrity of nursing, “a sign that you take your profession seriously.” She told the students that although they may face struggles, they will rise because nursing is “an ongoing journey of learning, honor, humility and a chance to make even the smallest difference in the lives of your patients.”

The students were encouraged by what they heard at the ceremony.

Receiving a “simple coat, a simple pin means so much … especially since I’m following in my mom’s footsteps of becoming a nurse,” said  Jasmin Boukhadcha.

“It was an amazing feeling,” said Butool Usmani. “I hope to thrive, get a good job and help patients.” For Gabriel Angeles, who transferred to Caldwell this year for a second degree, it was “heartwarming” to see such a welcoming faculty.

“I’m very excited to begin the journey, to begin clinicals, to begin the process,” said Stephanie Almazan.

Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music. Director of Campus Ministry Colleen O’Brien gave the benediction.


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Nursing alumna reportedly helps save a life on airplane

Caldwell University Nursing alumna Courtney Donlan ’16Caldwell University nursing alumna Courtney Donlan ’16 was interviewed on several news outlets after reportedly saving a woman’s life on an airplane.  Donlan is a nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Professor and Director of the Department of Nursing at Caldwell Dr. Theodora Sirota said the nursing faculty and administration could not be more proud Courtney.  “She exemplifies the high standards and quality of the education our expert faculty provides our students.  It comes as no surprise that Courtney was able to respond swiftly and competently in a mid-flight emergency situation.”

To read about Courtney’s story go to:

To watch CBS 2’s story, go to:

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Nursing Department becomes official member of international honor society

Caldwell University Department of Nursing Students displaying an official charter membership of the international honor society of nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, at a ceremony on March 11 at the Bethwood in Totowa, New Jersey.

Caldwell, N.J., March 29, 2017 – The Caldwell University Department of Nursing became an official charter member of the international honor society of nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, at a ceremony on March 11 at the Bethwood in Totowa, New Jersey. The mission of Sigma Theta Tau International is to advance world health and to celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service.

Dr. Aneesha Jean, nursing faculty member and advisor to Psi Mu, the Caldwell chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, said the milestone of chartering a chapter of STTI is an honor and an example of the university’s commitment to the nursing profession. “I am extremely proud of the leadership and persistence of the faculty and of the students’ continual pursuit of academic excellence.”

Caldwell University Department of Nursing Students displaying an official charter membership of the international honor society of nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, at a ceremony on March 11 at the Bethwood in Totowa, New Jersey.

Samantha Coghlan, a senior and president of the Caldwell University Student Nurses Association, said attending the induction made her proud to be a part of Caldwell’s nursing program and proved how hard the faculty works to help the students excel. “Sitting through the ceremony and listening to the different speeches I thought to myself, ‘I am sitting in this room for a reason and there’s a reason why I am being inducted into this honor society. It’s because my strong passion for nursing and everything I love about it has contributed to all of the long nights, hard work and sacrifices.’”

Coghlan is excited about her future and is considering pursuing work in the adult medical-surgical field and working as an Army Reserves nurse.  She also plans on going for a master’s in nursing, and down the road, pursuing a nurse practitioner license. She is excited that she and the other nursing students will have the opportunity—through Sigma Psi Mu—to network with professionals and that they will have the prestigious honor society on their résumés.

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Nursing students receive white coats celebrating the start of clinical studies

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 2, 2016 – Sixty-six Caldwell University nursing students received their white coats at a ceremony Sept. 1 celebrating the start of their clinical studies.

“May the white coat remind you of our professional bond and commitment to the caring, compassion and humanism in nursing that we all share,” said Dr. Theodora Sirota, Ph.D., CNL, APRN-BC, professor and director of the Department of Nursing.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president for student life, told the third-year students they were giving a “wonderful witness” to Caldwell University and encouraged them to provide “selfless love” in their work as nurses.

The keynote address was given by Carol Porter, DNP, R.N., FAAN, a former chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She told the students that their entrance into clinical care is a “wonderful, serious step” in their careers. “It’s what’s inside the coat that matters,” she said.  Porter encouraged them to look at every patient through that person’s eyes, to “always go above and beyond … to seek out a mentor … to be well informed, well read, and belong to associations.” She advised them never to be afraid to advocate for a patient and to “push the envelope” if they feel something is ethically and morally wrong.

Samantha Coghlan, a senior and president of the Student Nurses’ Association, encouraged the students to become involved in the student-run organization. “Your participation will contribute to your success and prepare you for the rest of your life as a professional registered nurse.”

Nicole Grandeza ’16, B.S.N., R.N., spoke about the Caldwell Nursing Honor Society and encouraged the students to strive for academic and professional leadership, to “be inquisitive … be willing to learn … be open to change … strive to go above and beyond.”

Olivia O’Donnell, a junior who received her white coat, said it was a “very exciting day,” especially since she had also had her first clinical experience earlier. Jade Puello, also a junior, said it was sort of “like graduation … another milestone.”

The students were cloaked in their jackets by faculty members and received Humanism in Medicine pins from seniors.

They recited the nursing white-coat oath, pledging to accept the responsibilities that embody the nursing profession including the primary importance of considering the welfare of humanity and the relief of suffering.

Father Tom Blind gave the invocation and benediction, noting the upcoming canonization of Mother Teresa and how she is a model for God’s love and care for the sick.

Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music.

The pins were provided as a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, initiators of the first white-coat ceremony.

The ceremony was originally made possible by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support the Gold-ACCN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.

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Nursing Professor Melissa Sirola is Guest on Caucus: New Jersey

Melissa Sirola, MSN, RN, MBA, adjunct faculty in the Caldwell University Nursing Department, joins Steve Adubato on Caucus: New Jersey to talk about the affordable care act and how it is affecting the field of nursing.  Professor Sirola and the panelists discuss: the expanding role of nursing, the effect of technology on the field, how education for future nurses is affected by the ACA, and the ways nurses are advocates for health care today.

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Caldwell University Awarded Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Caldwell, N.J. – July 29, 2014 – Caldwell University has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Jersey Health Initiatives program as part of its New Paths to Professional Nursing cohort. With this grant, Caldwell will partner with St. Joseph’s Healthcare System to assist aspiring paraprofessional employees who work at St. Joseph’s to complete the first two years of their liberal arts and science studies before entering nursing clinical courses.

Caldwell’s Director of Nursing Dr. Marycarol Rossignol said the university is delighted to partner with St. Joseph’s.  “Working together, we can meet the needs of the students to strengthen their academic success and progression in Caldwell University’s bachelor of science in nursing program and contribute to fostering a diverse and educated nursing workforce,” she said. The grant program, Rossignol explained, will enhance and advance baccalaureate learning for a select cohort of St. Joseph’s paraprofessional employees who would otherwise lack the means and resources to enroll in a private institution of higher learning. “This New Paths to Professional Nursing program will provide targeted academic, financial and social support to increase readiness and remove barriers so that the students can pursue their nursing degree,” she said.

Bob Atkins, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, director of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives, said they are “delighted to have Caldwell University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare System as part of this cohort of grantees serving as the foundation for us to begin a statewide conversation on the need for a nursing workforce that is both baccalaureate-prepared and representative of the diverse communities they serve.” He explained that “health outcomes improve when nurses have this higher level of education and are culturally diverse, and Caldwell’s partnership with St. Joseph’s Healthcare System demonstrates the commitment and resources to support frontline health care workers who aspire to be nurses.”

Rose Nagle-Girgenti, RN, MA, director of clinical education at the Inter-Professional Education Department at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, said St. Joseph’s partnership with Caldwell University is an exciting and unique opportunity for St. Joseph’s paraprofessionals interested in pursuing a four-year nursing degree. “An important aspect of the grant is the selection of RNs from our existing staff to act as mentors to the chosen students, thereby giving support and assistance in the workplace in addition to the university,” she said. “A place to study and have access to online learning will also be provided. We have a strong commitment to these employees and will do all we can to ensure their success.” St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, which includes St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, has received Magnet Recognition® for Nursing Excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for the fourth consecutive time since 1999.

Students in the BSN program study in the university’s new 4,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which features technologically enhanced learning spaces that include laboratories for nursing skills, health assessment and simulation and a large classroom. The new learning environments are arranged to encourage interaction, collaboration and active engagement.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. RWJF strives to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook

 About St. Joseph’s Healthcare System

Nationally recognized St. Joseph’s Healthcare System is a major academic, not-for-profit, comprehensive health care organization located in Northern New Jersey. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, St. Joseph’s prides itself on providing sophisticated, compassionate health care with a ‘patients first’ approach to service excellence. To learn more, visit or call 877-757-SJHS (7547).

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 25 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II athletic teams and numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities and activities on a beautiful 70-acre campus located in the suburbs of Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell.  Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit Follow the university on Twitter @CaldwellUniv, on Facebook at, on Instagram at and on LinkedIn at


Contact: Colette M. Liddy

Director, Media Relations




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Nursing Department Holds Annual Convocation and Pinning Ceremony

The Caldwell University Nursing Department held its 3rd annual nursing convocation and professional pinning May 16.   Thirty-six graduating seniors in the nursing program received their pins, a symbol of pride and accomplishment that unites nurses all over the world.

Marycarol Rossignol, Ph.D., director of the nursing program and professor, told the students that they are entering the healthcare profession at an interesting time of health reform when new roles for nurses are developing with changes in health care delivery systems. She reminded them that they have been prepared with the essential body of scientific knowledge, clinical competencies and the qualities of professional education to begin their nursing careers. “It is our hope that this preparation has cultivated a foundation for evidenced-based practice, a spirit of inquiry, and lifelong learning,” she said.

Patrick Progar, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, greeted the gathered and gave them details on the history of the nursing program and how it  has grown exponentially in its three years of existence.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D. told the students that they will practice the skills they learned with compassion and humanity. In addition to having completed their nursing major, she said, they have completed a core and enriched curriculum that emphasizes the dignity of each person. “You have chosen to be part of a ‘caring’ profession, one that assists sick and dying people and interacts with their families and loved ones during times of stress and emotion.  At that time, you will most embody the mission of Caldwell, its Dominican tradition and our core values of respect and community.”

Matthew L. Russo, LNHA, ’93, administrator of the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, gave the keynote address saying that there is “no better feeling than to be able to care for someone else” and that their opportunities are limitless.   “As healthcare professionals we need to be students for life because we must continue to learn and grow as our profession is always changing.”  He noted that all of his success was rooted “in the walls” where he was speaking, as he studied sociology and played basketball during his years at Caldwell University.  “Caldwell at that time strengthened me as a young man and I feel confident it has done the same for you.  You are ready and if you don’t believe it, you should know it.  You are ready, you’ve been prepared.  The healthcare profession awaits your gifts and the talents you will bring and we are always seeking new leaders.”

Chaplain Father A. Berner gave the invocation and blessed the pins.

Brenda B. Peterson, M.S.N, assistant director of nursing, presented the candidates.

Alyson Mogavero ‘ 14 gave the valedictorian remarks and shared her story of pushing away the obstacles and successfully working towards her goal of becoming a nurse.   She spoke of her gratitude for the nursing faculty and the nursing department.

Professor Nan Childress Orchard, DMA, chair of the music department and professor of music, provided processional and recessional music at the piano.  Junior Nursing major Nicolette D’Allessio on marimba and graduating Psychology major Patrick Lehosky on drums performed Minoru Miki’s Marimba Spiritual for a musical interlude.”

The Caldwell University Nursing pin is a tangible symbol of the students’ hard work and dedication.  Pinning represents a new beginning in the journey towards professionalism, dedication and service to mankind.  It occurs on the threshold of the graduate’s career as a professional nurse and serves as a warm remembrance of friendship, hours of studying and academic accomplishment.

The Caldwell pin was designed by representatives from the first nursing graduating class of 2012.  The centrally located nightingale lamp is a symbol of care and comfort to the sick and suffering.  The cross represents the institution’s Dominican commitment and Judeo-Christian tradition.  Laurel leaves encircle the pin and symbolize success, peace and life.

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Nursing Student Volunteers in Health Care in Tanzania

Christina Buono, a senior nursing student from East Hanover, N.J., spent her winter break from Dec. 28, 2013 to Jan. 16, 2014, volunteering in Tanzania with the organization International Volunteer HQ. In this interview, she shares her experiences.

Why did you decide to do this?

I have always wanted to travel abroad to be able to experience health care in other countries and also to just be able to volunteer in whatever way I could. Helping people has always been my passion, and I thought this was a great way to be able to do that.

What did you do when you were in Tanzania?Christina Buono

While I was in Tanzania I volunteered at Olorieni Community Clinic, which is an outpatient clinic located within a small town in Arusha, Tanzania. At the clinic I did phlebotomy work and assisted the doctor in small surgical procedures. I also volunteered at Neema’s House Baby Orphanage for a day and another orphanage for another day.

What did you learn?

I learned so much while I was in Africa, not just about myself, but also about other people around the world. The most important thing I learned from this experience was that I am so incredibly lucky to be living in a country that has so much to offer me. After living without running water for two and a half weeks, I learned to be truly grateful for the little things I have in my life that others in our world do not. After working in the clinic, I realized that every single day that we live is a true blessing and that we are so fortunate to have so many medical resources and the health care system that we have here in our country, because these underdeveloped countries are not as fortunate. Finally, I learned that the people of Tanzania are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They treat you like family and welcome you into their homes as if you were one of their own.

What was the most rewarding aspect of it?Children with Christina Buono

The most rewarding aspect of this volunteer trip was being able to be a part of helping others. I will never forget the smiles on the children’s faces each day that our group was with them.

What are your future career plans?

My future career plan is to work as a nurse in a pediatric unit at a hospital and continue my education to become a pediatric critical care nurse practitioner.

Were you able to apply what you learned in the Caldwell University Nursing Department during this volunteer experience?

I was definitely able to apply what I learned from the Caldwell Nursing Department to my volunteer experience. During our studies, the professors taught us how important communication is, and I think that is what helped me the most while I was in Africa. The languages spoken in Tanzania are Swahili and English. I came to realize quickly that the children in Tanzania know a lot more English than the older population because they are taught English while in school. As future nurses we need to be able to communicate with patients who are from different cultural backgrounds and may speak a different language. During my work at the clinic, I was able to learn how to be comfortable communicating and caring for patients who were of a different culture than myself, which is a big part of our nursing studies at Caldwell University.

How do you think the Caldwell University Nursing Department has prepared you for your future?

The Caldwell University Nursing Department has been a big part of helping me prepare for my future as a registered nurse. The nursing faculty has provided me with the knowledge and clinical competency needed to care for patients of all different cultures and ethnicities. The knowledge that each professor has to offer has been extremely beneficial to the learning process. They have become wonderful examples to show that hard work and dedication can get you wherever you want to go in life with your career.

What do you think of the new nursing labs?

The new nursing labs are a wonderful addition to the growing nursing program at Caldwell University. Being able to have a space dedicated to nursing has made it extremely beneficial to the classroom and clinical aspects of the program. It has given us plenty of space to perform lab simulations, health assessments and classroom lectures all in one location.