St. Ambrose University (SAU) is launching a new Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing, a new division of its College of Health and Human Services.

Starting in the fall of 2023, the program was designed to extend the reach of online nursing education across the country by offering flexible, remote learning opportunities for working healthcare professionals, according to a Tuesday SAU release.

The Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing at St. Ambrose was created to fit the university’s strategic focus on innovative, adaptive learning methods to prepare the next generation of workers. The curriculum aims to provide students, regardless of their geographical location, the opportunity to learn while they earn, leverage SAU’s robust network of healthcare systems, and integrate cutting-edge simulation and technologies into their educational experience, the release said.  

Amy Novak became SAU’s 14th president in August 2021.

“St. Ambrose has a long history of equipping leaders for service in healthcare,” said SAU president Amy Novak. “Over 50% of our students are currently in health professions serving as physician assistants, social workers, public health practitioners, physical therapists, speech pathologists, as well as nurses.

“It is from this position of strength that we want to deliver ongoing nursing education in an online format to meet the needs of those entering and serving in this important field.”

The Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing will offer fully online LPN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN in addition to offering the option for additional industry-recognized certifications and credentials to support career advancement.

The school’s creation is also a direct response to the challenge of nationwide healthcare staffing shortages on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also put a spotlight on the maldistribution of the rural healthcare workforce, the release said.

Growing demand for nurses

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, if rural and underserved communities experience the same healthcare patterns as populations with fewer barriers to access, physician demand could rise by 74,100 to 145,500 by 2033 in these areas.

The Bureau for Labor Statistics suggests that the demand for registered nurses (RN) in particular is projected to hit over 3.6 million by 2030, a large gap to fill following 2021 when the number of RNs leaving the workforce was the steepest in over four decades. 

A 2019 photo at the St. Ambrose Center for Health Sciences Education at a Pediatrics Lab that SAU nursing students did with kids from the SAU Children’s Campus. 

“It is more important than ever that educational institutions use new modalities to build learning opportunities that recognize students’ different needs and location-bound realities,” Novak explained.

SAU’s announcement of the new online nursing school builds on an established consortium agreement with Presentation College (PC), where nursing education had long been its flagship. Upon PC’s announcement that it will be ceasing operations, effective May 8, 2023, the naming of SAU’s online nursing program pays tribute to the South Dakota college’s story and founder. 

Honora Nagle, also known as Nano Nagle, was an 18th-century pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland.

Venerable Honora Nagle, also known as Nano Nagle (1718-1784), was a pioneer of Roman Catholic education in Ireland. She founded the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly known as the Presentation Sisters, a global Catholic institute and founders of Presentation College.

“St. Ambrose is committed to honoring that legacy through the establishment of the Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing,” said Novak. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on the long history of Presentation College and the Presentation Sisters to deliver SAU’s adaptive, online learning format.

“We want to ensure that, wherever you are located as a student, you have what it takes to become the nurse of your future and make a direct impact on the community in which you live and serve,” she said.

For more information about the Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing at St. Ambrose, visit the school’s website HERE.